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Landscaping proposals for transformation of Inverness Castle into tourist attraction include plants native to Highlands

By Val Sweeney

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An illustration of the planned transformation of Inverness Castle.
An illustration of the planned transformation of Inverness Castle.

Plants native to the Highlands and seating areas are among the landscaping proposals for the transformation of Inverness Castle into a top tourist attraction.

Plans for the development have been lodged with Highland Council as part of the statutory applications for the planned transformation of the castle into a tourism gateway for the Highlands.

The landscaping proposals show how the castle grounds will become an integral part of the experience for people visiting the attraction in years to come.

The designs, which remodel the castle esplanade and external courtyards, are intended to create a new and accessible city centre destination.

They include new hard and soft landscaping, seating areas, viewpoints and feature plantings that reflect the native species of the Highlands.

They have been designed to integrate with the castle itself to allow the renovated interiors to connect with the new external areas.

The proposals can be seen on the council's planning portal within the application for listed building consent and building warrant approval submitted last month by project architects LDN Architects.

These applications are in preparation for the main building works contract which will be subject to a tender process beginning in spring.

Enabling works are already under way involving demolition work, asbestos surveys, timber preservation surveys and structural checks.

Timings for the castle work are subject to change, depending on the findings of the ongoing enabling works contract due for completion in spring and the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the city region deal.

It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and "must-see" attraction which will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

The planning application can be viewed on the council’s eplanning site wam.highland.gov.uk using the reference 21/00100/FUL and 21/00103/LBC.

Related story: Former cell block demolished at Inverness Castle as work continues

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