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Highland Council taps into Scottish Government fund as new community building for Longman travellers’ site wins approval

By Alasdair Fraser

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An artists' impression of the planned new building for the Longman travellers' site in Inverness
An artists' impression of the planned new building for the Longman travellers' site in Inverness

A new community building to help improve the lives of people staying at the Longman travellers' site in Inverness has won planning approval.

Highland Council has been given permission to build the facility featuring a large hall, office, meeting room, storerooms, kitchen and toilets, with disabled access using cash awarded from a Scottish Government travelling persons’ fund.

The site just off Stadium Road, near Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club, will cover 110 square metres of floor space, with three new parking spaces created at the site.

An existing building at the site will be demolished and removed.

The proposed development is close to a high pressure transmission gas pipeline, but the firm SGN has confirmed the pipeline would not be affected by building work at the site.

A planning appraisal report showed that the proposal, within the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) would provide “daily need facilities very close to the households that need to access them”.

It also found the community facility would be a “necessary and welcome enhancement of substandard existing facilities at the Highland Council managed Longman gypsy traveller site” and would not impact negatively on neighbouring properties.

The council’s contaminated land officer also removed an objection after being satisfied that environmental degradation would be addressed at the site and improvements made.

During the application process late last year, a Highland Council spokesman said: “Earlier (in 2023), Highland Council received funding from the Scottish Government Gypsy/Traveller Accommodation Fund.

“This has enabled the Council to proceed with plans to improve key facilities at Longman Park, Inverness to the standards we aim to provide for all council tenants.

"The land at Longman Park is rented from the Inverness Common Good Fund. This funding is enabling land works and the re-development of community and living facilities.

“This will improve and future proof the services on offer to the tenants at the site.

"The overarching aim is to improve the lives of those wishing to stay at Longman Park and deliver our ‘Fairer Highland’ commitments.”

The application was approved under Highland Council planning officials’ delegated powers.

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