A Highland village could be on the brink of an economic windfall thanks to fresh investment in its vital flood defences.
The council’s newly created “places committee” will consider a proposed £200,000 investment to protect Conon Bridge at its inaugural meeting on Thursday.
Matching private funding, it would clear the way for potentially extensive development in the village.
Its existing flood defences have been assessed to be “insufficient to meet current standards for new development”.
A report to the committee by senior officers states that the issue has “held back development in the village, delaying significant economic regeneration”.
Recommending approval of the investment, they say an opportunity has arisen for improvement works as a result of financial contributions from a substantial new development.
Ward members are fully in favour, with local Liberal Democrat councillor Angela MacLean saying: “I hope it’s approved because it will open up further development in the area.
“If we approve the flood defences, it will make a massive improvement and attract inward investment of millions of pounds to the village.
“Many planning applications in the last number of years have been refused because of the issue.”
Plans in 2015 for a small housing development in the village had to be referred to the Scottish Government because of flood concerns.
The site of a former fish plant in the area, earmarked for dozens of homes, has been dormant for almost 20 years. The Pescanova factory closed down in 1998 after a major fire and was ultimately demolished.
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency subsequently told the council it had no objection to the 6.2-acre site on the banks of the River Conon being redeveloped.