A £250 million masterplan to build 800 new homes in Inverness over the next 10 years is set to be unveiled.
Tulloch Homes is putting the finishing touches to its plans for Ness-side and expects to lodge a planning application by April.
It hopes to be in a position to start construction next year.
It follows progress on the West Link, which will join the Dores Road roundabout at the southern end of the Southern Distributor Road to the A82 via a new bridge over the River Ness.
Stage one of the £55 million development is due to be finished in December and will see the road from Dores Road to Glenurquhart Road completed and a new bridge built over the River Ness.
The land at Ness-side – beyond Tesco Ness-side, between Dores Road and the River Ness – is zoned for housing in Highland Council’s Inner Moray Firth Development Pplan and Tulloch Homes chief executive George Fraser said 200 of the 800 homes it is proposing will be affordable.
“Our design teams have worked in close liaison with Highland Council planners for a couple of years to reach this point,” said Mr Fraser. “Following extensive site investigations and initial infrastructure works last year, we have successfully addressed the issue of utilities and have now progressed to a position of being close to lodging our planning application in line with Highland Council’s masterplan for the site.
“This is, of course, a long- term project but, given a fair wind in the planning process, our intention is to begin construction during 2018.
“With the road infrastructure in place, the first phase of 50 affordable homes will commence on receipt of planning permission, helping the council achieve itstheir aspirations in the affordable sector.”
He added the scale of the development wouldwill help address a shortfall of new homes identified for Inverness in a national study commissioned by the Scottish Government.
The study, ‘Supporting Scotland’s Growth – Effective Housing Land in Scotland’s Cities,’ found the country needs 82,000 new homes by 2025 and identified a future shortfall of 11,600 for the Highland capital.
“Ness-side will significantly replenish our land bank in the city, ensuring we will meet local demand for years to come,” saidcontinued Mr Fraser. “The location is attractive, with its proximity to the river, and our research indicates a ready market as we roll out the development over the coming years.”
A care home, community space and mixed- use development form part of the bigger vision for the Ness-side site, which will be served by Holm Primary School initially. However, a new school could eventually be built.
Meanwhile, Highland Council says work on the West Link is running to schedule. A 1000-tonne crane to carry materials over the River Ness is due to arrive this week, ahead of work starting next week on the actual bridge construction. This will begin with the placing of support beams.
Progress is also being made on a new rugby clubhouse at the canal parks, which will benefit from a new all-weather rugby pitch, while a new 18-hole golf course at Torvean, including practice area and clubhouse, should be complete by 2019, allowing construction of stage two to proceed with the entire West Link project including a new crossing over the Caledonian Canal due to be completed by 2020.
It forms part of the council’s contribution to the City-Region Ddeal, worth £315 million to improve infrastructure over the next decade.
The cash will be spent on improvements to transport links, digital connectivity, and creating an innovation hub for business. The deal aims to unlock a further £800 million of private investment for the city and surrounding region.