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Hotel plan revealed for Inverness Legion Club in Huntly Street

By Neil MacPhail

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Image of proposed Huntly Street hotel.
Image of proposed Huntly Street hotel.

THE riverside British Legion building could soon be transformed into a 19-bedroom boutique hotel.

The premises on Huntly Street has been vacant for some time since the British Legion Club concentrated its activities to the rear of the building with access from King Street.

The old building had two bars and function room, but if the application from UK Hospitality Holdings, London, is approved, there will be no bar facilities for guests or public, and continental breakfasts only will be served to visitors, doing away with the need for a commercial kitchen.

In the design statement by Karen Home of The Studio, Westhill, Inverness, it is stated noise potential would be reduced without the bars and function room, and unsightly kitchen flues on the north wall will be removed.

The statement says that the application accords with the local development plan and the “aims and objectives of Highland Council in seeking to promote the city as a tourist destination and will make a positive contribution towards the vitality and viability of the city centre.”

The facade overlooking the river would be painted in two colours to highlight that the legion building was previously two separate riverside shops or homes.

A novel feature of the planned regeneration will be a garden on the flat roof of the former legion club bar. It will not be suitable for guests to sit out in, but with planters and trees, it “will create an attractive area from which a number of bedroom windows will overlook.”

While there is no dedicated parking for guests, the applicant has pointed out that the British Legion did not have parking facilities either, but there are parking facilities in the city centre, and the location is close enough to train and bus stations to allow an easy walk.

The site as it is today.
The site as it is today.

UK Hospitality Holdings was only incorporated a month ago, but its directors already has business interests in the area.

Andrew Allison, a director, said: “Number 10 Huntly Street, formerly a part of the Royal British Legion, currently a semi-dilapidated vacant commercial premises, is set to be regenerated as a modern boutique hotel and to become a jewel in the crown of the developing new era of high-quality tourist accommodation for Inverness.

“Working with a local architectural agent, trades and advisors, an experienced locally based consumer and business services company is leading the re-generation, set to achieve the highest quality standards in renovation, design and green energy credentials.”

If all goes well with planning and eventual building work, it is hoped the hotel, at present with the working name 10 Huntly Street, should open up to guests next summer.

Mr Allison added: “We want it to deliver a unique offering to the Inverness market with pricing and accommodation to meet a wide range of needs.”

The application will be considered by Highland Council.

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a very positive development for the city centre of Inverness, both in terms of the jobs that will be created during construction phase and ongoing once the hotel is operational.

“The site is particularly appropriate for this kind of prestige use given its location on the riverside, which will also offer guests stunning views of Inverness Castle. The investment in this project is also a welcome boost for the city during these challenging times.”

The hidden roof garden.
The hidden roof garden.

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