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Council agrees to compulsory purchase orders for Inshes roundabout

By Scott Maclennan

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Inshes roundabout. Pic by: Gary Anthony.
Inshes roundabout. Pic by: Gary Anthony.

Highland Council has agreed to progress plans for compulsory purchase orders at Inshes Roundabout – but the issue was mired in confusion over the capital programme which is supposed to fund the scheme.

The debate at the Inverness committee bordered on doublethink as officials claimed the project was “live” and that it is “on the capital programme” – meaning basically in line for cash, at some point.

Opposition leader Councillor Alasdair Christie, however, was forced to point out that the capital programme wiped out the budget for Inshes Roundabout – it had originally been budgeted at £5.053 million, which was reduced to zero.

Officials have been left with the near impossible task of explaining how Inshes Roundabout is still a “live project” but has no funding – yet.

The plans submitted are to significantly remodel Inshes Roundabout by blocking two major arteries – towards Tesco and Police Scotland – and will now move forward, without enough cash in place.

Limits in the capital investment plan restrict how far the local authority can go this year, but it appears the council does want to proceed with statutory approvals for compulsory purchase orders and stopping-up orders – or does it?

Even that was not entirely clear as officials maintained that their “default” position is to seek agreement on land purchases despite the item under discussion being called “Inshes Junction Improvements – Proposed Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and Stopping Up Order.”

The landowners affected are Aberdeen Standard Investments which has by far the largest chunk of land with an acquisition order planned for 13,921 square metres of its property, Tesco, NHS Highland, Church Of Scotland Trustees, Carlton Gaming Clubs, Alltmore Properties Ltd and the Trustees of Mary Mackintosh of Raigmore.

Councillor Alasdair Christie said: “If we have deferred £5 million from the capital programme for five years, and we don’t have a planning application why is there such haste to actually deal with this and cause alarm and concern among some of the landowners. Or is this just going to be passed and lay dormant for presumably five years because there is no money in the capital programme?”

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