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Flood concern over plan for big new council estate in Inverness

By Neil MacPhail

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A visualisation of the proposed new estate.
A visualisation of the proposed new estate.

A major council house plan is on the cards for part of the former Torvean Golf Course, although concerns have been voiced about flood risk in parts of the site.

Highland Council has applied to build 118 units of "much-needed affordable housing" on the vacant land covering 12 hectares between General Booth Road and the Caledonian Canal.

A report from the council flood management team points out the proposed houses in the western part of the development (phase 3) are on a raised area with lower ground around it, and flooding from the Torvean Drain is predicted to affect the areas around the development, including the access from General Booth Road.

However the report says: "It is anticipated that emergency vehicles would be able to access the site and safe dry pedestrian access would be available along a raised area of ground to the east. A formal footpath will need to be provided to ensure that it is available for all abilities.

"Care will need to be taken when designing and landscaping the site to ensure that there is no land raising in the flood risk areas and to ensure that the identified flood flow routes are retained.

"Although we have no objection to the development on the grounds of flood risk at the moment, it is noted that SEPA have asked for further flood modelling to be carried out.

"We will review this again once the additional information is provided. "

Part of the background papers report that General Booth Road has been known to flood to car "wheel-arch depth" in this vicinity, and the Masterplan report states: "The nature of the site means that there are large portions defined as flood zones.

"These cannot be built upon, however it does allow an opportunity for increasing biodiversity."

Following a flood risk assessment floor levels had been elevated "to avoid risk to the homes if the canal structure was to fail".

Last summer during the council's public consultation on the plan, there was concern voiced by some people about the size of the development.

Part of the site is adjacent to the practice course for the new Kings Golf Course nearby, but it will be unaffected by the proposed development.

The residential unit mix being sought comprises: nine 3-bed cottage flats; 30 2-bed cottage flats: six one-bed cottage flats; 28 two-bed houses; 39 three-bed houses; three four-bed houses; and three five-bed houses.

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