Asda to open first Highland store in Inverness
Asda will open its first store in the Highlands later.
Plans for the supermarket and petrol station at Slackbuie in Inverness were unveiled six years ago.
Following planning and legal wrangles, construction of the £27m store - the first Asda in the UK to have a grass roof - was completed earlier this year.
Tesco has four stores in Inverness. Morrisons, Co-op, Scotmid, Aldi and Lidl also have a presence while the nearest Sainsbury's is in Nairn.
Asda said the supermarket had created 400 new jobs.
It said the grass roof was not only an eco-friendly measure, but would improve the view for people in houses on a hill overlooking the site.
The chain unveiled the site back in May 2006.
In September 2009, Asda agreed to contribute £1.5m towards improvements to roads leading to the store.
Highland Council, while not opposing the planned store, had been prepared to go to the Court of Session over the cost of road improvements.
The local authority was worried it would end up footing the full cost of the work.
Inverness Estates Ltd, a consortium of developers, had also threatened legal action over the roads matter.
Scottish ministers held back on giving the go ahead until they were content suitable measures would be put in place to deal with traffic congestion.
Consent was finally given in January 2011.
Archaeologists commissioned to check the site ahead of construction work uncovered evidence of Bronze Age burials.
They uncovered an area of cremation pits surrounded by a ring ditch.
Almost 2,000 flints and pieces of Neolithic pottery known as Unstan Ware were also discovered during digs.