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Developers may dash high-level bridge hopes

By Andrew Dixon

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Inverness's southern distributor road which would help complete the bypass.
Inverness's southern distributor road which would help complete the bypass.

DEVELOPERS could be the ultimate block to building a high-level bridge to complete the Inverness bypass — even if the public comes out in favour of the option.

Thousands of new homes are planned for the south and west of the city — 800 at Slackbuie, 976 at Milton of Leys, 500 at Charleston, plus others at Ness-side near the new Tesco store — but builders have been told to wait for the new route, which will connect the Dores Road to the A82.

However, it is now understood the patience of some developers has run out and they are employing a transport consultant to see if they can go ahead with their plans without the new route.

The council’s principal planner, Tim Stott, said this week he expected the companies would win any appeals and be allowed to build in areas earmarked for the £67.8 million high-level bridge.

Highland councillors are expected to ignore the apparent public preference for a landmark bridge over the River Ness and Caledonian Canal when they choose the final link route before May next year.

Officials warn any public backlash against the eventual choice will send the decision to an inquiry and delay plans. And this process could also prove fruitless if it is aimed at pursuing the high-level bridge option — one of eight put to public consultation until 16th January — due to the developers.

“The absence of a decision or opting for something that is too expensive means it just won’t happen,” Mr Stott warned.

“It would rule out an awful lot of the options, so it is vital we make a decision and it’s vital it is a route we can fund, otherwise there is a real risk.”

City councillors will discuss the bypass at a Town House meeting on Monday.

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