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Plans lodged to transform Inverness music venue into hostel

Hootananny  programmer Steven Robertson has backed the campaign for support from the government.
Hootananny programmer Steven Robertson has backed the campaign for support from the government.

Music fans in Inverness are facing another devastating blow after plans were lodged to convert part of a popular venue into a backpacker’s hostel.

Hootananny’s owner Kit Fraser has lodged plans to transform the first and second floors of the popular Church Street venue into a 30-bed hostel with manager’s accommodation.

If approved, the existing Mad Hatters venue and Glow Bar would be refurbished to make way for five dormitory rooms alongside a number of amenities.

However, the ground floor bar and staging area would remain untouched.

Mr Fraser said the decision to revitalise the award-winning venue was spurred on by ongoing developments and investments being made in the city, however, stressed he did not know if he would proceed with the plans.

He said: “If there is a tidal wave of competition, I would be an idiot not to think ahead and keep my options open.

“The last thing I want to do is loose Mad Hatters and the cocktail bar. It has been fantastic. Mad Hatters has a reputation of encouraging up-and-coming new bands.

“I cannot sleepwalk into the future.”

The news comes just five months after controversial plans to demolish the Ironworks Music Venue to make way for a multi-million pound hotel were announced.

The 162-bed Courtyard by Marriott hotel was proposed by property developers Bricks Capital, creating more than 120 jobs during the building phase and a further 60/70 full-time and part-time positions following completion.

The plans sparked a hasty campaign by locals in an effort to save the much-loved venue, with closed talks continuing to help find a suitable new home for the venue.

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