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Inverness housing estate in line for its first shop

By Neil MacPhail

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The disused chapel and proposed shop site at Westercraigs.
The disused chapel and proposed shop site at Westercraigs.

Building firm Robertson Homes has been granted planning permission in principle to build a sizeable retail unit at their 370-home Westercraigs estate in Inverness.

An additional application to convert the adjacent disused chapel to a community hall was brought to Highland Council planners separately by Robertson Homes, and approved last November.

The proposed site for the retail outlet is parallel to the disused chapel about 65 metres east of 60 Great Glen Place.

Documents with the permission in principle application show it is a food shop with a floorspace of 220 sq m, of which 180 sq m is trading space, but this was only indicative at this stage, prior to a detailed application being submitted.

As well as the retail unit, the application includes the formation of a site access, parking and drainage.

The retail site is currently ground that has recently been used as a construction materials lay down area during the renovation of the old Craig Dunain Hospital building for homes.

Highland Council imposed various conditions on the permission in principle being granted and stated: "There is sufficient scope within the site for a suitably sized retail development and associated services to be sited according to national and Highland policies and guidance for placemaking and design, which is reflected in the indicative siting on the Site Layout Plan.

"The final design will be assessed in a future detailed application; nevertheless, a condition is attached to ensure that the final design achieves a suitable design standard..."

Another condition imposed is that "no trees are to be cut down, uprooted, topped, lopped (including roots) or wilfully damaged in any way, without the prior written permission of the planning authority".

The community facility will include a double height hall that can seat 152, a stage, kitchen, tea area, two sizeable rooms and a crèche.

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