Plans to develop a creative hub, new affordable homes and much needed retirement housing in Inverness have been approved by the Highland Council today (16.08.16).
A joint venture between McCarthy & Stone, Highland Council and Wasps Studios will redevelop the former Midmills Campus on Crown Avenue saving the listed buildings, which Wasps will convert into studios and gallery space for local artists, designers, makers and social enterprises, as well as hosting cultural activities for the local community.
On the remainder of the site, Highland Council will develop 30 affordable housing apartments for people over the age of 55 and leading retirement housing developers, McCarthy & Stone, will build 53 high quality private apartments, specifically designed for people over the age of 60.
Steve Wiseman, Managing Director of McCarthy & Stone in Scotland, the company leading the application, said: “This will be a great development for Inverness, which has been shaped by the community. It will help to preserve a much-loved historic building while creating exciting new creative and housing opportunities for local people. We’re looking forward to working with the partners to turn the plans into a reality.”
Local people helped to influence the plans through an extensive consultation and exhibition attended by over 200 people, which revealed majority support for the proposals. The partners wanted to ensure the listed buildings retained some community use and funding would be available to fund the creative hub. McCarthy & Stone also contributed to this funding by increasing the number of apartments within its development.
Audrey Carlin, Wasps Senior Executive Director for Business Development said: “Today’s decision is a key milestone in bringing the listed buildings at Midmills back into active use and Wasps is excited at the potential this project has for the creative community in the Inverness area.
We were enthused to meet so many local creative people at our last feedback meeting and we are delighted that so many local artists and makers are excited about this project.”
The planning application has been approved subject to a number of conditions which will be agreed with The Highland Council over the coming weeks. Work to carry out urgent repairs on the listed buildings, and make them wind and water tight, will be carried out as priority before construction work starts on the housing developments. It is anticipated the entire development could be completed by 2018.