Council to start work soon on new homes at Midmills site in Inverness

Work will soon start to build 30 new affordable homes as part of a major redevelopment of the former Midmills buildings near the centre of Inverness.

The £3.2million council project is part of a wider programme which will also deliver 53 private retirement apartments. It is all part of plans to create new housing for older people on the historic site.

Arts group The Wasps Trust also plans to create a £5million studio.

The demolition of the largest outbuilding at Midmills is now almost complete, with construction of the local authority’s homes due to start on September 17.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said that these properties, in four-storey blocks and for people aged over 55, should be finished a year later.

The spokeswoman added: “The development will provide much needed affordable homes within the City.”

The Midmills buildings, in the Crown area of the city, used to house Inverness Royal Academy from 1895 to 1979 before becoming a campus for Inverness College UHI.

It has been vacant since the college moved to its base at Beechwood in the summer of 2015, with councillors backing a plan to transform the site in August 2016.

The B-listed main building on the campus is due to be brought back into use as studio facilities for artists and others involved in the creative industries.

Non-profit social enterprise The Wasps Trust, based in Glasgow, hopes to create 39 artist studios and 50 desk spaces for creative businesses.

The facility will provide studios for artists, creative workshops, offices for cultural organisations and social enterprises, studios for creative industries, a cafe, exhibition space, performance workshop, maker space and cinema.

Wasps will initially focus on urgent repairs to the former arts and science buildings in the complex before switching its attention to redeveloping the central building.

The aim is to have the work completed by 2019.

Initial preparatory work for the demolition of Midmills started in February.

On Wednesday, Highland Council advertised a contract for the construction of the new homes.