Highlands & Islands

Plans for new town near Inverness approved without vote

Some Highland councillors are angry that they could not vote on plans for a 4,960-home new town on land between Inverness and Nairn.

The south planning applications committee visited the proposed site near Tornagrain, before meeting in Inverness to discuss the project.

Highland Council officials told the meeting that there were no valid grounds to reject the new town.

They said this was because the project was in the council's development plan.

Faced with no other option than to grant the scheme planning permission in principle, some of the committee members reacted with anger to the situation.

Earlier during the debate in Inverness, Culloden and Ardersier councillor, Roddy Balfour, said the new town was planned for the wrong site and was too big for the few job opportunities available locally.

But Inverness South councillor Thomas Prag said a high quality, sustainable development had been proposed.

He added that it was too late to stop the project as it already featured in the council's local development plan.

Planning officers said no competent legal grounds could be found for rejecting the scheme.

Jim Crawford, another Inverness South councillor, was among councillors who asked what had been the point of discussing the project.

Developer Moray Estates Development Company Ltd had envisaged that the new town would have a population of about 10,000.

The settlement would grow over 30 to 40 years.

The company first submitted a planning application for the new town in 2009.

The site stands in what is known as the A96 Corridor between Inverness and Nairn.

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