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Inverness paw prints trail to stay due to costs but council bosses apologise for 'blip'

By Scott Maclennan

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Paw Print Trail in the city centre.
Paw Print Trail in the city centre.

Inverness councillors have unanimously agreed not to remove the controversial Inverness Paw Print Trail as it would cost £12,000 to replace the paving stones but it was acknowledged that “it wasn’t done properly.”

Council executives claimed the purpose of the trail was to increase footfall within the area while also promoting the market as a “dog friendly” shopping experience.

But some businesses disliked, claiming it was done without warning or explanation.

It later emerged that the Paw Print Trail had been put in place by the council as a means of attracting increased footfall to the market – at the request of market tenants.

Responding to the issue, Councillors Alasdair Christie and Trish Robertson lodged a motion at the council's Inverness city committee calling for their removal but this was deemed costly following an investigation into the issue.

The matter was discussed earlier today at the Inverness committee where Cllr Roberston was particularly incensed at the outcome.

She said: “I'm really sorry to hear the results of the report because it's not really moved us any further forward.

“We spent a lot of money on the Victorian market and these Footprints are out of keeping with what we would like to see for the city centre because I do think it detracts from it.

“I'm disappointed that the investigation into what they [the prints] would do was not done in the first place before they were actually put in place. We should have checked out whether it was good to put any material at all on top of that Caithness slab due to the expense of having to replace them should it not work out.

“I'm also disappointed to find that the consultation didn't actually include other businesses within the city centre that were out with the Victorian market so I agree that we will have to leave them for the time being.”

Inverness city leader Cllr Ian Brown said: “It wasn’t done properly but we are where we are unfortunately.”

While Inverness city manager David Haas publicly accepted responsibility for the blunder and apologised to members, saying: “Taking Council Robertson's point, I accept what you say, it is my responsibility, we didn't get it right and I'm very sorry for that.

“Going forward, I'd like you to recognise that this is what I would call a blip, it's an important blip and we're going to fix it. But if you look at the long history of working with city centre businesses, it is successful and I stand by that record. We've got a long history of working with Inverness BID on a number of successful projects.”

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