Inverness Castle Working Group considers development of castle
The Inverness Castle Working Group met for the second time today, Monday 8 December, at Inverness Town House, to consider a range of proposals for future potential use of the Inverness Castle.
The group agreed to commission a feasibility study which would identify and analyse a viable and economically sustainable high quality alternative use or uses for Inverness Castle, following the site being vacated by the Scottish Court Service, that would provide access for locals and visitors, and maximises the impact on the economic, social and cultural life of Inverness and the Highlands.
The Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP and The Highland Council Leader, Cllr Drew Hendry jointly chair the Inverness Castle Working Group, which was formed to consider the future use of Inverness Castle as a tourist attraction, maximising its iconic status in the heart of the city to the benefit of the local economy.
Membership of the working group also includes interested parties such as Scottish Court Service; VisitScotland; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Historic Scotland; the two local BIDS and the Chamber of Commerce.
A Planning Application will be submitted for the North Tower, before Christmas, to create a Viewing platform and tourist shop for visitors. If successful, this should enable the tower to be open to visitors in late 2015/early 2016.
Highland Council Leader, Cllr Drew Hendry welcomed the progress which has been made to date. He said, “Work towards achieving our goal of opening up the castle as a major tourist attraction is moving on apace, with good progress on initial plans for opening up the North Tower as a start.
“The feasibility study is an important piece of work which will give us some options to consult with the public on. I would like to thank Ministers and partners for lending their support to this important development, which will be a huge benefit to the city.”
After what was a successful meeting of the Inverness Castle working group, Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “There’s great progress being made by the working group to identify potential high-quality, sustainable future uses for Inverness’ most iconic building.
“The Council’s development of the viewpoint in the North Tower is hugely welcome as it highlights the tourism opportunities the castle presents – not to mention giving the public access to what has been pronounced as the grandest view in Britain!
“Subject to the Scottish Courts Service finding suitable alternative accommodation, the Scottish Government continues to support this project. The feasibility study is an important step in this work, as it will provide input identifying what would work best for the benefit of tourists and locals alike.”
The study will be jointly funded by Highland Council, HIE and the Scottish Government and findings are to be reported in May 2015.