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Anger at plans for new Lidl store on greenfield site near notorious traffic bottleneck in Inverness

By Val Sweeney

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The site of the proposed development in Sir Walter Scott Drive.
The site of the proposed development in Sir Walter Scott Drive.

Plans have been revealed for a new Lidl supermarket in Inverness close to one of the city’s busiest roundabouts.

The proposed food store would form part of a mixed-use development including affordable homes on a greenfield site in Sir Walter Scott Drive.

It is close to Inshes roundabout, which is the subject of an ongoing public consultation on proposals designed to improve traffic congestion on the roundabout itself and in the surrounding roads.

The proposal, which is for a 1915 sq m store with 103 car parking spaces plus up to 39 affordable homes, is already sparking anger and concerns among local residents that it will generate additional traffic at the notorious traffic bottleneck.

The site is opposite Inshes Retail Park – which has Tesco and Aldi stores – and next to Police Scotland’s divisional headquarters and Beechwood Business Park while Drakies Park and residential properties are also close by.

The site has historically been used for agriculture but is allocated for business purposes within Highland Council’s local development plan.

In the latest main issues report, the council is currently considering the development of the site, together with the land to the south, for housing and greenspace.

An artist's impression of a Lidl store, used as part of the supermarket's community consultation for plans to build near Inshes roundabout.
An artist's impression of a Lidl store, used as part of the supermarket's community consultation for plans to build near Inshes roundabout.

Lidl, which is carrying out a community consultation ahead of submitting a planning application, stated: "The layout of the site and the location of the food store and housing has been carefully considered to minimise any impact on site neighbours and the surrounding area.

"As much of the existing landscaping will be retained and we have maintained a substantial buffer between the development and our site neighbours, the Police Scotland headquarters to the north and the houses to the west."

It says the development would provide much-needed new affordable housing and create jobs locally during construction and in the store afterwards.

It also says it would be maximising the use of a "sustainably-located" site.

It would be of a contemporary design and feature roof-mounted solar panels providing up to 25 per cent of the store’s electricity supply.

But concerns have been raised by local residents including people living in Drumossie Avenue, who are fighting proposals to create a link road from Drakies Estate to the eagle roundabout in Sir Walter Scott Drive as part of the proposed traffic improvements.

Margaret MacDonald, of Drumossie Avenue, said another new supermarket would not relieve pressure on Inshes roundabout.

"There is already more than enough provision without having a Lidl near the roundabout," she said.

She described proposals to open up the cul-de-sac opposite Drakies Primary School to create a link as "shocking".

"This is not going to help residents at all," said Mrs MacDonald, who suggested Mason Road as an alternative access.

People have also posted comments on social media, including concerns about the potential loss of green space.

On Culcabock and Drakies Community Council’s Facebook page, Malcolm MacBean posted: "This is a disgrace and both Lidl and the council should be ashamed of themselves depriving children of their play facilities."

Jane Anne MacBean added: "Pollution levels from standing traffic will go through the roof right beside a school and housing when we had greenspace. There is another retail area close by that would have suited far better."

Nick Lyon said: "The Highland Council is currently considering the development of this site, together with the land to the south, for ‘housing and greenspace’ – that will be what the plan for Drakies Park is."

Further details can be found at rapleys.com/consultation/inverness.

As part of the consultation, a virtual event will take place on August 18.

Alarmed residents launch campaign in bid to stop 'dangerous and unnecessary' road

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