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UK government minister John Lamont visits Inverness for progress check on £20 million of investment

By Scott Maclennan

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John Lamont, MP, talks to some of the school children. Picture: James Mackenzie.
John Lamont, MP, talks to some of the school children. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Minister for Scotland John Lamont visits Inverness to see how the £20 million of investment from the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund programme on three key projects in the city.

The three projects along the River Ness in Inverness are – Castle Street Energy Centre, Northern Meeting Park refurbishment and upgrades to Bught Park.

It is hoped they will boost the city’s sporting and cultural attractions, preserve key heritage assets, help attract more tourists, and assist in achieving net zero carbon targets.

All three projects will support the UK Government Net Zero Carbon agenda by providing sustainable energy to Northern Meeting Park, sustainable energy to Bught Park and a renewable energy centre for Inverness Castle.

They will also provide energy support to neighbouring properties, helping to drive environmental change.

On hand to greet Mr Lamont were pupils from Central and Tomnacross Primary School and Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis as well as shinty players from Inverness Shinty Club.

He also met representatives from Highland Council and the contractors involved in redeveloping the two of the Levelling Up Fund projects in Inverness at Northern Meeting and Bught Parks.

Mr Lamont was also greeted by the team from High Life Highland who operate the facilities on behalf of the Highland Council and who will be responsible for their development once they reopen following completion of the Levelling Up work.

Mr Lamont said: "These three really exciting projects will significantly improve sustainable energy powered sporting and cultural facilities for the people of Inverness and its tourists to enjoy for generations to come.

"The Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement included more than £200 million in additional levelling up money, meaning that more than £2.7 billion is being directly invested by the UK Government to level up Scottish communities and deliver the change that the country needs to put the UK on the right path for the future."

Highland Council’s Inverness City and Area Leader Councillor Ian Brown, and Co-Chair of the Levelling Up Fund Programme Board, said: “I was pleased to meet Minister Lamont on site today to share more information about the proposed developments being supported through the Levelling Up Fund programme in this area.

“The projects will benefit communities and users of the facilities throughout the area for many years to come and we were pleased to welcome some of the people who use them at present to meet the Minister when he was on site.”

Local MP Drew Hendry who is the co-chair of the Levelling Up Fund programme board, said: “I'm delighted that the Minister has been able to see, at first hand, the work carried out by Highlife Highland and Highland Council. I hope that this work will encourage further investment in the area in the future.”

And Highland Council’s executive chief officer for economy and infrastructure, Malcolm MacLeod, said: “The three Levelling Up Fund projects will significantly improve the city’s sporting and cultural attractions for this and future generations. Through these developments, the city will be able to preserve these well-loved facilities, while helping to attract visitors and contributing to net zero carbon targets.”

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