The proposed development of a derelict former tourist information centre on the outskirts of Inverness has been warmly welcomed by local councillors.
The Highland Council confirmed that an Edinburgh-based businessman Tim Cocking bought the property last month after 18 months on the market.
He now plans to develop the site including making it a base of his care company’s operations in the Highlands creating 50 jobs over the next two years.
Both Community and Highland Councillors expressed relief that “things are moving ahead” and something is being done with property because it had fallen into disrepair.
Located just off the northbound A9 carriageway at Daviot Wood it was a tourist office and picnic site that is popular with dog walkers.
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But since the office closed in 2015, it has become rundown and defaced with graffiti while the closure of the public amenities there did not help matters.
Strathnairn Community Councillor Bea Wallace said: “My personal view is that I think it is great.
“It is never a good thing to have an abandoned and derelict building where everyone can see it, right on the way into Inverness with tourists coming up. It will be good to have it occupied.”
Her community council colleague Isobel McQueer said: “We were very pleased to hear that something is happening with it. The general consensus is that we are glad that things are moving ahead.”
While the chairman of the Strathnairn Community Council, James Murray, said: “Clearly it is quite an attractive site slap bang on the A9 for an out of town office.”
Mr Cocking’s immediate intention is to establish it as a Highland base for his a Bright Care company.
But there are also plans to purchase the rest of the site and provide space for either a café or retail business, hoping that with enough local support the public toilets could also be reintroduced too.
Mr Cocking said the business is “pleased to be able to take on” what is an “important gateway site,” adding “we believe the building and the site has lots of long term potential.”
Councillor Andrew Jarvie said: “As this will have to come to South Planning Application Committee I am slightly restricted to what I can say.
“But I can say I am happy that someone has taken on a derelict site with plans to develop it.”