Highlands & Islands

1,500 new homes to be built in Inverness in £500m project

Builder Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The new properties are to be built in phases with the first involving 550 homes

A massive new housing and retail development is to be constructed in Inverness at a cost of £500m, it has been announced.

The new community at Stratton would link into nearby communities at Culloden, Smithton and Balloch.

Developer Hazledene Inverness plans to create a town centre and build retail and leisure facilities.

To be constructed in stages over a number of years, the first phase is to involve 550 homes.

House numbers at a glance

  • Stratton development to involve £500m of investment
  • 1,500 new properties to be built in phases
  • 550 in first phase
  • £10m fund announced for affordable homes at the site and also across the Highlands

These are to include affordable housing supported by a new £10m fund announced by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart.

The Highland Infrastructure Fund is a partnership with Highland Council and forms part of the £315m Inverness City Region Deal.

It has been set up to support the construction of housing not just in Inverness, but across the Highlands.

The Scottish government will provide £9m of the funding for new homes and the local authority £1m.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A new £10m fund has been set up to support the building of affordable homes across the Highlands

At Stratton, Barratt Homes are to build 400 of the first properties.

Highland Council has purchased land for 150 homes.

The rise and fall and rise again of Inverness?

There use to be a proud boast that the Highland capital was the fastest growing city in the UK, even Europe.

In the 2000s, it seemed as if there was housebuilding in almost every part of Inverness.

But the economic downturn in 2008 swung a wrecking ball at the Highlands building trade, as it did across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The effect was almost immediate in the Highlands.

Highland Council reported 1,471 new homes were completed in 2008, compared with 1,806 in the previous year.

Construction firms hit hard times with one, Rok, going into administration and hundreds of staff it employed in the region losing their jobs.

A boss at another company, UBC Group, described conditions in the Highlands during the downturn as the "toughest the industry has ever experienced".

But recently business has been picking up again.

More than 500 homes are to be built in a first phase of the 1,500-property development at Stratton near Culloden.

And earlier this year, the first residents moved into the "first new town" to be built in Scotland for more than 50 years at Tornagrain, just a few miles down the A96 from the Stratton site.

Eventually Tornagrain is to grow into a community of 12,000 people.

Brian Clarke, of the Hazledene Group, said: "This is a strategically important site for the city of Inverness, reflecting the buoyancy of the Inverness economy and in keeping with Highland Council's development objectives.

"It complements many of the wider initiatives contained in the City Region Deal and we are pleased to have the support of Scottish government by way of the Infrastructure Loan facility.

"We have worked with Highland Council over the past five years to align our proposals with their goals and we are delighted that we have reached an agreement to move forward to delivery."

Mr Stewart said: "Increasing the supply of affordable homes across Scotland is our key aim and today we have made a significant commitment to supporting the delivery of new housing in Highland Council area.

"The jointly supported £10m Highland Infrastructure Fund means the council can plan for new affordable homes now and will provide all housing developments, including small or rural schemes with an equal opportunity to apply."

Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and Area, said: "Availability of affordable housing is fundamentally important to the sustainability of communities in the Highlands.

"Highland Council is committed, with our partners, through the City Region Deal, to provide quality affordable homes which will help to retain a young and vibrant workforce and give our young people the best possible opportunities."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites