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Public give mixed reviews on Inverness hotel plans for Ironworks site

Highland residents have turned out to have their say as plans for a controversial multi-million pound hotel in Inverness went on display.

Proposals for the 162-bed Courtyard by Marriot hotel were revealed by property developers Bricks Capital last month.

The plans sparked a campaign to save the Ironworks music venue currently on the site.

More than 120 jobs will be created during the building phase of the works and a further 60/70 full-time and part-time positions at the hotel following completion.

With just weeks to go until the designs are submitted for final planning approval, locals attended a public consultation event at the Mercure Hotel yesterday to have their say on the final designs.

One resident said the development was a “sign of Inverness going back to the dark ages” with another saying the city “could benefit from more hotels”.

David Whiteford, Chairman of North Highland initiative pledged his support saying: “Inverness needs absolutely more accommodation, quality accommodation at that and tourism is growing extremely well at the moment and that has been played out on various different scenarios, including my involvement in creating the North Coast 500.

“The spin off for the local economy is important through visitors attractions, food and drink, and cultural opportunities.

“I’m very supportive and I am sure they will find another venue for concerts. That’s a concern, absolutely, but I’m sure the fathers of Inverness will find another route to have cultural entertainment.”

The event comes after thousands of music-lovers pledged their support for the venue, signing a number of online petitions in disapproval of the proposed closure.

Allan Davidson, managing director of Bricks capital, said he was encouraged by the days turn out and remained fully committed to offering his hand in the future to help the Ironworks find a new and permanent home.

He said: “On the whole I think there was concern to start with but now they have seen the plans and discussed with them how we got to where we are and they seem to understand and have gone away a lot more positive than perhaps they arrived.

“Whatever reasonably we can do, we are delighted to try. We haven’t engaged with anyone ye but we have certainly reached out and we will reach out to say come and talk to us; it’s not a closed door.

“I am encouraged by the feedback and the open and balanced conversations we have had.”

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