Inverness’s new justice centre is beginning to take shape as contractors mark the completion of the first stage of work.
Construction on the multipurpose £23m complex, located on the city’s Longman Road, got under way in March earlier this year to create what will become the country’s first Justice Centre.
The building will comprise six new court rooms which will be fitted with the very latest in modern technology.
To mark the important milestone, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service Chief Executive Eric McQueen was joined by Provost Helen Carmichael, Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle and Jeff Hedley, Robertson Northern Project Director for a “topping out” – where the final beam is put in place – ceremony on the roof.
Mr McQueen said: “It will be a landmark building without a doubt in Inverness. I think it’s one that will capture people’s attention as the come into the city and hopefully what we think is it will change the way we deliver justice.
“This is part of the ambition for Inverness as a city. This is not just a court building trying to do things a different way, it’s about trying to create a landmark building and it’s also actually part of giving back the castle to the city to generate tourism.”
Construction on the building is due to be complete by next year, with doors expected to open by Spring 2020.
Mr McQueen added: “The next year is the key part in terms of the fit-out so getting the structure up is fantastic but now we need to fit the thing out. There is a lot of work in terms of the technology design as we want to make sure it’s very much a technology-enabled building. Our plan is to have that all finished by the end of 2019 and then probably over the next three or four months maybe up to the spring of 2020 we will look at a gradual move of the business from the castle into here and all the other partners being in.”
Citizens Advice Bureau, NHS Highland, Police Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid are just some of the services that will have a working space in the centre.
Mr Pyle added: “This has been an idea for so many years now and it’s fantastic to see it happening. I think it improves the standing of Inverness because we will be the first place in Scotland; apart from that, of course we will have Inverness castle available for the Scottish Government and council to do something important there.”