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Eastgate Hostel owners refuse to give update on Inverness building's renovation

By Val Sweeney

Eastgate Hostel.
Eastgate Hostel.

THE owners of the fire-damaged Eastgate Hostel, which has blighted the city’s main shopping street for six long years, have heaped insult onto injury by refusing to reveal when it will be rebuilt.

And, incredibly, when asked why they were so reluctant to let people know what was going on, they said it was because they did not get enough credit when the scaffolding FINALLY came down last month.

When the Inverness Courier asked about future plans earlier this week, the owner’s agent complained about a “distinct lack of a thank you” for finally getting the scaffolding off the street and, on that basis, would “not play ball” in terms of sharing any further details, adding there was a long process to go through.

Plans were previously lodged to transform the site into two houses on the first and second floor and a commercial property on the ground floor, but building consultant Gary Johnston, for owners Imtaiz Ali and Mr Cheng, said they had “absolutely no comment” to make on when that might now happen.

With business and community representatives also in the dark over any timetable for change, Linda Kirkland, a founder of the Inverness City Centre Improvement community group, was “appalled” the owners expected a thank you, given it had taken so long for the scaffolding to be taken down.

“It’s still a derelict building in the middle of the High Street,” she said. “It’s an eyesore.”

Full story in today's Courier.

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