An Inverness community is seeking to buy out a prime local site in bid to develop a community resilience centre which would be the first of its kind in this part of the city.
Inverness South Community Council wants to purchase land between a shopping complex and Milton of Leys Primary School to create a new facility which would “serve the whole of Inverness”.
Chairman Kevin Findlay said it would also function as a “resilience centre” in a settlement which suffers more winter power cuts due to being higher up, and for residents evacuated from their homes due to the prevalence of wildfires in the area.
And he believes the project could become a reality in the next two years.
He said: “There is no community here. At least with a community centre we would have some place for people to meet and greet. There are lots of people who are single, there are lots of older people.
“It’s a place to go and set up organisations and some place where they can have a focal point. The nearest community facility is probably in Hilton.”
It comes as designs were unveiled last month for a new “wheeled sports” park for the second phase of Inshes District Park development, which will eventually stretch up to Milton of Leys.
Mr Findlay said the idea for a new community resillience centre was discussed during a community council meeting on Monday evening and that it’s “the first time there’s been any real traction” for it.
He stressed a new facility would meet the huge demand from community groups and clubs across the city.
Mr Findlay said they would need to fundraise to buy the land – marketed by Graham and Sibbald – which is valued on their website at £400,000.
Another piece of land, adjacent to the site, is to be acquired by Highland Council and it is understood this will be used for a new nursery, freeing up space in the primary school which is known to suffer overcrowding problems.
Earlier this year, care home provider Parklands Group submitted plans for a £6.5 million, 48-bed care home and 16 assisted living suites on a gap site beside the primary school.
Mr Findlay said they will continue to work on early proposals for the community resillience centre and that residents will be consulted in due course.
He said a “spin-off” company, functioning as a charitable organisation, would be created in order to guarantee the future management of the proposed facility, should it get public backing.
He said that the Inverness Common Good Fund would be a potential funding avenue, as would Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Inverness South councillor Duncan Macpherson said: “The community there is crying out for something like this. Everyone who is in Milton of Leys says it lacks infrastructure and relative to all of the housebuilding. It’s an ideal opportunity.”