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Progress for Inverness Castle transformation

By Andrew Dixon

Inverness Castle...Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.019967.
Inverness Castle...Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.019967.

Progress in the transformation of Inverness Castle to become a new visitor attraction for the city was made today with the announcement of contracts being awarded to the architect and the creative director for the project.

The Inverness Castle project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315 million 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.

For the architect services, LDN Architects bring their conservation architectural experience to the transformation of the castle from its current use as a court house to a future visitor attraction.

A council spokeswoman said: "The Inverness Castle project is a vital part of the regeneration of the city centre and will be a gateway for Highland tourism. The project will support economic growth in the city and throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and 'must-see' attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

"The architect’s brief will focus on refurbishment of the castle, and the transformation will involve dialogue with Historic Environment Scotland, Highland Council, High Life Highland, the people of Inverness and the Highlands, as well as many other stakeholders in the coming months."

Creative Services, led by Bryan Beattie, will lead the creative direction for the project, supporting development of the identity for the new international quality Inverness Castle visitor attraction, as well as preparing a programme of events involving people living and working in the Highlands.

The spokeswoman said: "They will also support the development of partnerships with creative producers, organisations, agencies and networks to maximise promotional and creative opportunities for the project."

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's cabinet secretary for rural economy, said: "These appointments mark another important step forward in progressing the development of Inverness Castle. This key project from the Scottish Government is being supported through the city region deal. It will help to revitalise the city centre, as well as the wider Highlands, benefiting both locals and tourists."

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael said: “The appointment of both LDN Architects and Creative Services is a significant milestone in the development of this exciting project. With support from Scottish Government through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, we are ensuring the ambitious Inverness Castle project will bring benefits and sustainability to the whole Highland economy through development of our unique tourism assets in the long term.”

Stuart MacKellar of LDN Architects said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Inverness Castle development, given the importance of the project to the city centre and the economic development of the Highlands. As architect for the recent improvements to the neighbouring Inverness Town House, as well as a range of other heritage projects in the UK and beyond, we are excited to be bringing our experience to bear for the castle project.”

Mr Beattie said: “It’s a tremendous privilege to be involved in one of the most important and ambitious infrastructure projects for both the city and the Highlands. We have been involved in a range of major culture, leisure and sporting infrastructure development projects including the V&A at Dundee, Fort Regent in Jersey, Battersea Power Station in London, as well as many other cultural attractions in the Highlands. We are very keen to work with people and organisations throughout the area on this project.”

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