City landmark to close for transformation

One of Inverness’ iconic thoroughfares is set to close for three months while it undergoes a much-needed transformation.

Raining’s Stairs is closing to the public from Monday 16 April while work on the adjacent 16 apartment development is completed and the steps, walls, railings and lighting are refurbished. 

Work on the development which includes six flats set to be let at an affordable rent by The Highland Council and ten flats available at a mid-market rent from the Highland Housing Alliance, began last June and is due to be finished by late summer. The development also includes a commercial unit which will be used as an office or retail space.

Willie Gray from developers Ark Estates and builders William Gray Construction said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached this final stage of the project which is set to transform this previously run-down area of the city centre.  We apologise to anyone who will have to take a different route while the Stairs are closed but we are sure that the work will justify the temporary inconvenience and make a huge difference.”

Central Ward Councillors Janet Campbell, Bet McAllister and Richard Laird welcomed the progress on the 16 new homes. They said: "Highland Council and partners are breathing new life back into Inverness city centre. Affordable housing is essential across the Highlands and it is fantastic to see the progress on this new development taking place at this key location. The City-Region Deal is providing much needed affordable housing and the small inconvenience of Raining’s Stairs being closed will soon pass as we see a vastly improved revamp to this vital thoroughfare completed."

Neighbouring businesses are also supportive of the developments.  David Traill from angling and shooting equipment shop, J Graham & Co on Castle Street, said: “We are very excited at the new Raining’s Stairs development which has regenerated what used to be an almost derelict part of the city.  It’s great to see such huge improvements and new blood coming into the area.”

Café 1’s Norman MacDonald said: “We very much welcome the new development.  It will make this entrance to Castle Street much more attractive and bring a freshness and vibrancy to this part of the city that is long overdue.”

The Raining’s Stairs development is being built in partnership with the Highland Housing Alliance; The Highland Council; Ark Estates and William Gray Construction Ltd.  Funding has come from the Highland Housing Alliance, The Highland Council and Scottish Government, including money secured as part of the £315 million City-Region Deal which is made up of a portfolio of projects to deliver inclusive economic growth including affordable housing.

The Raining’s Stairs originally served Raining’s School which opened at the top of the steps in 1747 and were named after the school’s founder John Raining.




12 Apr 2018