Published: 15/07/2017 07:00 - Updated: 14/07/2017 11:35

Inverness Justice Centre plans face scrutiny

Written byGregor White

Inverness Justice Centre.PLANS for the new Inverness Justice Centre have been formally submitted.

While work to prepare the ground for the centre – set to be the first of its kind in Scotland – started some time ago in Longman Road, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) has spent the past few months tweaking its original design.

As the Inverness Courier reported last month, plans for the centre have been changed so that the initially proposed V-shaped building will now instead be a single linear structure.

SCTS said this would mean "a much stronger design that provides the necessary gravitas with greater elegance".

The centre will provide a new home for the current court service based at Inverness Castle, with space for six court rooms.

It will also be the base for other justice organisations, including specialist facilities for witnesses and victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

And, with the extra space available, High Court cases will be able to be heard in the city for the first time since 2013.

The public had an opportunity to view the revised plans at a public consultation event last month.

The formal application has now been submitted to Highland Council and will be considered in due course.

Under current plans, SCTS hopes construction work can start in October this year, for completion by August 2019.

SCTS chief executive Eric McQueen said: "Rather than simply a replacement sheriff court building, the justice centre will play a pivotal role in changing victims’, witnesses’, and offenders’ experience of the justice system, while providing high-quality secure criminal courts and flexible accommodation for our civil courts and tribunal users."

Moving out of the castle would free up that building to be used as a tourist attraction.

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