Former academy and college grounds transformed into unique new homes
Work to create new homes and a thriving community area in the grounds of the former Inverness Royal Academy and later Midmills College Campus site in the city has been completed, providing a great addition to the range of housing that the Highland Council is able to offer to tenants.
Today (Wednesday 24 April) the keys were officially handed over to The Highland Council and tenants are preparing to move into their new homes over the following weeks.
The unique city centre development consists of three blocks of ten 1 and 2 bedroomed flats that all feature level access bathrooms, door entry systems and lifts and will be rented out by the Council to tenants aged 55 and over from the Highland Housing Register.
The bespoke apartments have been designed carefully with internal fixtures and adaptations to assist with the changing needs of people as they age very much to the fore. A set of principles were identified by LDN Architect at an early stage which promoted simple, clear and unpatronizing design combined with high levels of natural daylight, bold colour in the common areas and good provision of external amenity spaces.
As well as the apartments the original B listed Janitor’s House built in 1899 that had lain empty and become derelict has been converted into a fabulous two bedroomed home with many of the buildings original features restored to their former glory.
Funding for the project has come from The Highland Council’s and the Scottish Government.
Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael said: “Many people have fond memories of the Midmills buildings so I am delighted that work to breathe new life into the former college grounds and help meet the need for more affordable homes in Inverness has been completed.
"The transformation is very impressive with beautiful homes and great communal spaces and it complements the regeneration of the rest of the site including the newly opened WASP Studios. The whole project to merge the old with the new has been a great achievement and will really reinvigorate this historic and desirable area of Inverness so everyone involved should feel very proud of all their hard work."
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working to create new from old, whilst maintaining a strong connection to the local community. The quality of the design and homes is to be commended.
“Housing is a priority for our government and we’ve set an ambitious target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, with at least 35,000 of these being for social rent. This is backed by £3 billion - the single biggest investment in, and delivery of, affordable housing since devolution.”
The new homes are next to the first major arts hub in the Highlands, the Wasps Artists’ Studios which provides high-quality, affordable workspace to local artists and makers in the heart of Inverness.
The Contractors Robertson Northern began work on site in November 2017. Frank Reid, Managing Director said: “We are proud to have delivered this project for Highland Council and to welcome stakeholders to the site this week for the official handover. These new homes will help to reinvigorate Midmills Campus and deliver high-quality affordable accommodation for those who need it. I have no doubt that future residents will be impressed by the facilities and look forward to seeing the community take shape over the coming months and years.”