Regenerating Inverness City Centre

This first-round pass** means that the Highland Council can now progress to the next stage of the HLF application and submit more detailed plans to see the HLF money rolled out. A development grant of £109,000 has been awarded to help develop these plans.

The Highland Council’s Leader, Councillor Drew Hendry said: “This announcement is great news as it allows us to take forward work to significantly improve the city centre and give an important boost to the vitality of Inverness.  We understand that effective regeneration is vital for the overall development of the city and I am therefore delighted that the work on Academy Street complements the other excellent work The Highland Council is doing with our partners, the community and the private sector to invest in other key areas of Inverness.

Councillor Thomas Prag, Chair of the Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee said, "I am delighted to welcome this announcement by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Inverness has a rich history much of which is reflected in the built environment.  Sadly however a significant number of buildings are in a state of serious disrepair, while others could do with a much needed facelift.  The Council will be meeting with property owners over the coming months to identify those that are willing to invest in their buildings and take advantage of this great opportunity. We will also be working hard with all our partners to ensure the successful completion of the next phase in the hope that this scheme will be the catalyst for further regeneration of the City Centre.”

Specific elements identified for grant support under the Townscape Heritage project include:-

• Bringing vacant buildings back into use
• Reinstatement of original shop fronts
• Improvement to historic public spaces
• Education and Training

Councillor Ian Brown, Leader of the City of Inverness Area said: "This is excellent news for the further regeneration of Inverness City Centre. The Townscape Heritage project will complement and further enhance other key projects taking place across the City."

Commenting on today’s announcements, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Historic buildings give our town and city centres their character. They differentiate one town from another giving each a sense of history that communities can identify with. Investing lottery money to revitalise them not only has an important impact on the local economy through jobs, tourism and investment, but because of their heritage nature, once restored they make a place much more attractive to live, visit and work.”

The Council will now work closely with the Inverness City Heritage Trust and the Inverness BID to draw up and submit the Stage 2 detailed bid within the next 9 months.  If successful, this scheme could result in up to £5m of investment being made into buildings in Academy Street over a 5 year period. 

*HLF’s Town Heritage programme encourages partnerships of local organisations to carry out repairs and other works to a number of historic buildings, structures or spaces.  Grants range from £500,000 to £2m. To date, HLF has invested over £228m regenerating towns that have suffered serious social and economic decline. 

**A Townscape Heritage earmarked first-round pass means that money has been set aside by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the scheme in question. Competition at this stage is tough, and while it does not guarantee funding, it is an indication of positive support. The applicants can then progress to the second round and submit a further, fully-developed application to secure the full award.  This early level of strong financial commitment means that the TH project can build strong partnerships with the assurance that funding for their scheme is in place provided their final proposals develop well. 

24 Feb 2014
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