Inverness braced for housing boom
Community housing for up to 10,000 people may be built near Inverness to accommodate the rapid expansion of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities.
The proposal is the main feature of a masterplan for the A96 corridor between Inverness and Nairn, which is expected to be adopted by Highland Council in August. If approved, the strategy would become a material planning consideration alongside the development plan.
Scheduled to be built after 2011, the settlement would be located on mainly agricultural and forestry land at Dalcross, south of Inverness Airport. It would provide the bulk of the 10,000 homes predicted to be required in the area by 2017.
Council head of development and strategy Mike Greaves said that the site is close to the end of the proposed airport railway that would help maximise public transport use. ‘Compactness and walkability should be watchwords of the community,’ he added. ‘Densities need to be significantly increased over those in conventional suburban Highland residential schemes.’
Greaves insisted that Inverness must expand to achieve the critical mass needed to succeed alongside larger Scottish cities. ‘We need to get a population of 100,000 plus to give ourselves a strong economy,’ he added.
‘The economy here is based on a narrow mix of service-based businesses. Other metropolitan areas have a far broader economy with lots of irons in the fire.’ He pointed out that a successful Inverness would benefit surrounding towns such as Nairn and Dingwall.
The masterplan maintains that the town would have to be accompanied by major water and sewerage infrastructure improvements as well as the upgrading of the A96. Other possible developments include a second airport terminal and extending its runway.
Earlier this year a private consortium unveiled plans for a mixed residential and resort development with a marina at the former Ardersier oil fabrication yard on the Moray Firth
Source: Planning magazine