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Former public toilet block set to be turned into renewable energy centre to heat new visitor attraction at Inverness Castle

By Val Sweeney

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An artist's impression of the proposed sustainable energy centre.
An artist's impression of the proposed sustainable energy centre.

A redundant toilet block is set to be turned into a green energy centre to heat Inverness Castle which is being transformed into a world-class visitor attraction.

Highland councillors will be recommended next week to approve plans for a change of use and alterations of the former public toilets at the Inverness Town House car park.

The proposals include the partial demolition of the upper level and the creation of a two-storey energy centre housing air-source heat pumps and clad in aluminium louvred-panels to allow airflow to all sides and roof.

The existing stairs, described as being uninspiring, and adjacent areas will also be upgraded.

In a report recommending the application be granted, planning officers state the architecture is "bold and dramatic, contemporary and innovative" but will ultimately rely on the final specification and design for the metal cladding panels which require written approval via a condition.

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The project is part of the council’s Inverness Zerocarbon cultural regeneration and levelling-up programme.

The application, submitted by the council, will be considered by the south planning applications committee on February 8.

Planning officers state: "The existing building is a utilitarian two storey block.

"At its lower level, the building currently accommodates a small storage space, office and toilet, but is otherwise given over to an infilled solum space.

"At its upper level the building is laid out as separate male and female public toilets, which are dated and out of commission."

They consider the proposed enhancements to the public area are a significant improvement and will provide better connectivity between Castle Street and Wynd.

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