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Developer Ark Estates Limited is seeking to build a state-of-the-art gym and café complex on vacant industrial land on Longman Drive in Inverness

By Alasdair Fraser

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Artists' impression of the gym and cafe planning proosal for Longman Drive
Artists' impression of the gym and cafe planning proosal for Longman Drive

A developer is seeking to build a state of the art gym and café complex on vacant industrial land in Inverness.

Property investment and development firm Ark Estates Limited wants to create an “attractive commercial opportunity” for tenants at 27 Longman Drive, near the Kessock Bridge.

It says the proposed premises, with 87 square metres of café or restaurant floor space and 500sqm for fitness and leisure use, would address a lack of dining and fitness facilities in that part of the city.

The new building would be sited between the neighbouring Scania-let premises, owned by Ark Estates, and the currently vacant New Century House.

An application has been submitted to Highland Council planning officials and will be considered under their delegated powers, with a determination deadline of November 23.

The plan includes the provision of 33 parking spaces and four large vehicle parking slots, as well as motorcycle and push bike parking.

The café would offer inside and outside seating areas with views across the Beauly Firth. The building would feature solar panels in what is described as an “energy efficient development using reclaimed materials”.

A design statement by Trail Architects suggested there was demand for this kind of development in the area, three miles north of the city centre.

It said: “The area has a perceived lack of eateries and wellbeing offerings for those working in the area.”

If approved, the project would involve diverting a small section of the National Cycle Network (NCN) and North Sea Cycle Route, which currently crosses the site, on a newly-built path.

By re-instating the NCN route to its original pathway along the north of the site, the design statement says that a single site access created from Longman Drive would improve safety and visibility.

Ark Estates managing director Willie Gray said: “We look forward to gaining consent and delivering this exciting leisure development as a great addition to existing businesses of a similar nature in Longman.

“A gym like this can play its part in improving the health and wellbeing of people working in the vicinity, providing a meeting point for the local business community.”

READ: Highland teacher John Naples-Campbell, depute head teacher at Glen Urquhart High School, wins educator of the year at the Proud Scotland Awards

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