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Highland Housing Alliance and Glen Urquhart Community Council team up to develop empty former supermarket site in Drumnadrochit

By Philip Murray

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The former Scotmid shop has sat empty since the store moved to a much larger site nearby.
The former Scotmid shop has sat empty since the store moved to a much larger site nearby.

A FORMER supermarket in picturesque Drumnadrochit is to be demolished and the site redeveloped by the community as part of wider plans for new housing on an adjacent site.

The Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) and Glen Urquhart Community Council have reached an agreement to develop the site of the former Scotmid store, which sits next to the A82 off Balmacaan Road and close to the southern end of Blairbeg Park.

The shop has been vacant since the village's new, much larger, Scotmid store opened up just a short distance across the A82 as part of another housing development.

The new partnership between the Highland Housing Alliance and community council will see HHA transfer the title of the site to a community body, with the not-for-profit development company then responsible for preparing an adjoining site for housing.

The collaboration has already seen the successful submission of an application to the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund for £75,000 to help with demolition and site preparation costs – it was approved at Monday's council meeting of the City of Inverness Area Committee.

HHA will be submitting a planning application for the development in the first half of this year, and community groups are holding a public consultation to determine which facilities, in addition to a proposed play park and car park, might be developed on the old shop site.

Gail Matheson, HHA chief executive, said: “We are working with partners including The Highland Council and the community council to bring positive outcomes for all. We aim for this to include our popular mid-market rental homes, where we have already completed two similar developments in the area.”

David Fraser, chairman of Glen Urquhart Community Council, said: “This is a great opportunity for the community to own and develop this village centre site.

“Since this purchase, the community has been working with HHA and The Highland Council on options for the development of the former shop site and adjacent land. The grant from the Town Centre Fund will open up the opportunity for the community to own the site and for HHA to develop much needed affordable homes for the area. “Subject to planning permission, the first phase of development work will be the demolition of the shop followed by the relocation of the playpark and parking. The community will then be able to develop further leisure facilities and possibly upgrade the shinty pitch.”

Related news: £252,000 in Scottish Government Town Centre Fund investment approved by councillors

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