Committee gives support to City regeneration project
At today’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee members agreed to allocate £550k from its Capital programme to go towards the Townscape Heritage project that focuses on the regeneration of Academy Street in Inverness.
Specific elements identified for grant support include bringing vacant buildings back into use, the reinstatement of original shop fronts, improvements to historic public spaces and education and training.
Early in 2014 the Council received a £1.67m Stage 1 pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Townscape Heritage programme. The HLF awarded the Council a development grant of £109k to be used alongside a £35k Council contribution to develop the Stage 2 application. A Stage 2 pass is required before the HLF finance is formally committed to the project.
The Committee was given an update on the work done to date, which included the council hosting two well attended public consultations days held in January which will be followed up by a further public consultation event on Tuesday 10th March. They were also advised that the Townscape Heritage Team and its external technical advisers are busy actively developing work packages as part of the Stage 2 application.
The decision to allocate £550k from the council augments £200k revenue which has already been earmarked for the project from existing Service budgets. Financial support from the Inverness City Heritage Trust is expected to be announced when the funding package is completed by the end of March.
Chair of the Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag said: “The proposed Inverness Townscape Heritage project supports the Council’s programme of support for the Highland economy, more specifically helping make the Highlands and attractive environment for business and supports the development of Inverness city centre.
“The team are busy working up detailed proposals for the delivery of the 5 year programme of funding to kick start the regeneration of Academy Street as The Heritage Lottery Fund deadline for the stage 2 application is the end of May 2015. The decision by committee today provides a clear message of support and confidence that the project can really bring a boom to this forgotten gateway to our city.”