A development described as ‘the most exciting in years for Fort William’ was granted planning permission in principle by Highland councillors yesterday.
The mixed use complex at Blar Mhor, Lochyside will house a new hospital, emergency services hub, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) centre, 250 homes and a small retail unit.
South planning applications chairman Jimmy Gray said it was heartening to see such a hugely important development in Fort William.
Local councillor Ben Thompson also said he also wholeheartedly welcomed the development, but he sounded a note of caution.
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He said: “This will be more impactful even than the smelter expansion. Everyone will use it and it will have a huge impact on Fort William.
“So it’s very important that we get it right.”
Mr Thompson said he wanted to see a high quality development with high standards of quality assurance.
He went on: “It’s not for the planning system to impose building standards above building control, but Highland Council needs to head down that road, like Glasgow City council with its gold standards.
“To rely on building standards to enforce quality isn’t working. I’m tired of having to defend properties built in the last five years with draughts and mould on the walls to tenants.
“We need to be more ambitious with quality assurance.”