Fresh plans for a multimillion-pound restaurant revamp in the heart of Inverness are poised to win approval next week.
Councillors have been urged to back revised proposals for a transformation of the Filling Station on Academy Street, having controversially thrown out a previous design in September.
The project is viewed as key to a major revamp of the city’s Falcon Square, with the owners of the Eastgate shopping complex having been left “surprised and dismayed” by their refusal last time.
Scoop Asset Management threatened to walk away from the scheme in the wake of the decision, which it branded “perverse”, but councillors insisted the design “failed to protect and enhance” the building’s “rich and diverse cultural and natural heritage”.
Now planning committee members will consider a new plan for the C listed restaurant building, and local authority officials have recommended approval of the “light, transparent box” design.
A report to Tuesday’s south planning committee meeting said: “The proposal relates to development that will generate further footfall and add to the vibrancy and vitality of the city centre and is therefore an appropriate location in principle subject to assessment against key development criteria.”
It concluded: “Through the submission of this revised proposal, the applicant has demonstrated a willingness to engage with the council in taking forward improvements to the original scheme.
“The net result is a significantly improved proposal that enhances the original design of the extension as well as explaining the context of the proposal as it relates to the wider Falcon Square improvements.”
Under the plans, the Filling Station building in Academy Street would be extended out onto Falcon Square, joining on to the gable elevation of the adjacent Falconer Building, where the current Laura Ashley would be turned into a new restaurant.
The development is part of a package of schemes proposed by Scoop Asset Management for the heart of the city, including an extension to the shopping centre’s Falcon Square facade to make room for four new restaurants on the ground-floor level, while a new bar and restaurant will also be created on the roof of the mall, overlooking the square.
All of the proposals were approved last year, except for the Filling Station development, which is considered to be the final piece of the jigsaw.