Regenerating Inverness City Centre
Pictured on Academy St with Lorna MacLennan the newly appointed Strategic Project Officer is Chair of Inverness Heritage Trust, Councillor Jimmy Gray and Leader of the City of Inverness, Cllr Ian Brown
The Highland Council has appointed the project team to lead the development of the Townscape Heritage project for the regeneration of Academy Street in Inverness.
The Council secured a Townscape Heritage stage 1 pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014, with cash now ring fenced for stage 2, the project team are working up detailed proposals for the delivery of the 5 year programme of funding to kick start the regeneration of Academy Street – the forgotten gateway to the city.
Public consultation will take place with a wide range of stakeholder and partners over the next 2 months with the Heritage Lottery Fund deadline for the stage 2 application fast approaching at the end of March 2015.
Lorna MacLennan has been appointed as the Strategic Project Officer leading the project for the Council. Lorna is working with the highly experienced Conservation Architect Alan Marshall, Neil Sutherland and Brian Burns from the Makar Consultancy.
Lorna joins the Council from VisitScotland’s Corporate Communications Team and has a background in marketing particularly branding and communications. With a range of previous project management experience in the public and private sector, Lorna commented:
“Academy Street is the key gateway to Inverness City Centre for most people arriving by car, bus or train. The Townscape Heritage project is a very exciting opportunity and we have identified a number of key priority heritage restoration projects. My team are also working on activity to better engage the wider community in the areas heritage and address some of the key employability issues which are apparent in the area. I am delighted to be involved in the development and delivery of this scheme, it is not only the opportunity to address some of the key issues on Academy Street it will also act as catalyst in the wider Inverness Regeneration plans and influence future investment throughout the city.”
Leader of the City of Inverness, Councillor Ian Brown welcomed Lorna’s appointment. He said: “I’m delighted to welcome Lorna and look forward to her and the team taking forward the regeneration of this area of the city which has the potential to really bring both social and economic benefits. There are some exciting and creative ideas already on the table which is why we want as many people and local businesses to get involved at this early stage and help breathe new life into this part of our city.”
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
Matched funding for the delivery of the five year project is secured from The Highland Council and Historic Scotland via the Inverness City Heritage Trust. The main project partners, including Inverness BID, are all busy working up plans to secure the stage 2 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Chair of Inverness City Heritage Trust, Councillor Jimmy Gray said: “Inverness City Heritage Trust commissioned a report outlining the important aspects of the built environment in the centre of Inverness. We are delighted to see the part this has played in creating an opportunity to make real progress in revitalising Academy Street. This will not only have an important impact on the local economy through jobs, tourism and investment, but once refurbished the buildings will assist to restore the sense of place with Academy Street and the centre of Inverness a more attractive place to live, visit and work.”
The first public consultation event for the Townscape Heritage Project will take place on Thursday 22 January in The Iron Works on Academy Street. Members of the public are invited to drop in anytime between 2pm and 5pm to look at the displays, meet the team and feed in any ideas they may have. There will also be an opportunity the following day on Friday 23 January from 10am - 12 noon, also in The Iron Works.
Councillor Ian Brown added: “This is a great chance for people to come along and let us know what they would like to see from the project, what their priorities are and how we can make this important area of the city more appealing for people to live in, work and visit. The presentations will detail more information on the project and show how similar schemes have breathed new life into other towns and cities in Scotland. The input from local businesses and people living in this area of the city is very important so I hope as many people as possible come along on the 22 January.”