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Decision on Inverness hotel plan expected next year


By Val Sweeney

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An artist's impression of the proposed 162-bedroom Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Academy Street.
An artist's impression of the proposed 162-bedroom Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Academy Street.

Controversial plans to knock down a popular live music venue in Inverness and replace it with a £25 million seven-storey hotel will not be decided until next year.

When Bricks Capital Hotels announced plans last year to build a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on the site of the present Ironworks venue, it hoped the doors would be open by 2021.

But it has emerged the proposals will not be determined by Highland Council until early next year as further consideration is being given to detailed designs.

It follows a scathing assessment this summer by the council’s historic environment team which lodged objections, describing the proposals as devoid of architectural quality.

Inverness-born Allan Davidson, chief operating officer for Bricks Hotels, acknowledged it was taking longer than expected but the company remained committed to the project.

"We are even more resolutely determined than ever to deliver this £25 million inward investment project to my home city," he said.

"With over 100 construction jobs and 65 permanent jobs at the new hotel, it would be very well-placed to make a key contribution to the post-pandemic economic recovery of the city and the Highlands.

"We firmly believe the area will eventually bounce back and become a vibrant visitor destination again, and we want to play our

part."

He said the 162-bedroom hotel – which will be capable of accommodating up to 100,000 guests annually, delivering significant new daily footfall to shops and restaurants – would be a key asset in the council’s plans to regenerate Academy Street.

"It is taking longer than we wished, as far as the planning process is involved but that’s entirely understandable given the unprecedented times we’re living in, which has set timetables askew in so many sectors," he said.

"We’re working closely with planning officials to finalise the position and secure consent to begin construction of a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. While many new hotel developers build and then sell, our strategy is to retain ownership.

"As an Invernessian, I look forward to the opportunity to oversee the construction of our hotel and also to oversee its operation as a new business benefiting the city centre."

A council spokeswoman said the proposal was still under consideration with further consideration being given to matters of detailed design.

Related story: Council officers blast plans for hotel at Ironworks site



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