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Highland councillors agree to reject bid for new Inverness hotel

By Scott Maclennan

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The former Fairfield Nursing Home.
The former Fairfield Nursing Home.

Highland councillors have agreed with local authority officials and rejected a bid for a new hotel in Inverness.

Inverness Property Management (IPM) lodged an appeal against refusal by council officials of its plans to convert a former care home in Fairfield Road into a 32-bedroom hotel but councillors stood by the decision.

Officials had declared the proposal was contrary to the Highland-wide Local Development Plan.

A major issue for officials and councillors was parking with the building’s grounds having only 14 spaces.

IPM had argued there was ample on-street parking available in the area.

Several residents objected along with the community council.

Councillor Gordon Adam described it as a tough one.

“If you are looking at parking, we have got recommendations from transport planning, they are taking into account a very professional survey which was paid for by the applicant involving outside consultants," he said.

“You also have some mitigation from the transport planning officers which the applicant has agreed to pay for amounting to some £23,000 so they appear to be taking it very seriously.

“The professional advice is there appears to be sufficient parking on the premises or on the street. It is a tricky one but I think my opinion is to go with the professional opinion of the transport planners and if they are happy then I take the view that this appeal should be allowed.”

But he was contradicted by Councillor Roddy Balfour, who said: “I am rather perplexed by this application. There is simply just a situation where parking is not able to accommodate the likely demand and that is it.

“That is a major issue so far as I am concerned. We are hearing about money spent on surveys but what proof have we of this? None of these reports take note of the amenity and the personal difficulties this kind of development creates for local people.

“On-street parking in that part of Inverness is quite indeterminate and in any case it is undesirable in an urban residential area. We must take account of what the local people say – they are the people who put us here and to whom we are responsible.”

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