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Revised plans for controversial Inverness hotel recommended for approval

By Val Sweeney

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An artist's impression of the proposed hotel.
An artist's impression of the proposed hotel.

REVISED plans for a 175-bed hotel overlooking the River Ness have been recommended for approval by council planners.

Previous proposals by Dutch company Vastint Hospitality to build a hotel on the site of the former Glebe Street swimming pool were thrown out by Highland councillors who objected to the design.

Following an appeal, a Scottish Government reporter upheld their decision, saying the building would be “detrimental” to the aspects of the city centre townscape.

Revised designs which aim to reduce the visual impact will be considered by the south planning applications committee on December 4.

The height of the proposed four-star hotel – set to be operated as part of the Marriot AC brand – has been reduced by one floor while there is an added separate three-floor accommodation block in the grounds.

A report to be presented to the committee meeting states there have been no objections from Crown and City Centre Community Council but also acknowledges some ongoing opposition.

"The community council welcomes the redevelopment of the site and has no adverse comments to these revised proposals," the report states.

"It remains clear, however, that some have concerns regarding the design of the development with opponents essentially of the belief that this is not the right building for this location, lacking in visual interest with only 'superficial reference' to the historic townscape."

The report goes on to say the building reflects many of the key features of historic buildings in the city centre and will add visual interest to the edge of the conservation area without impacting significantly on the views.

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