After 140 years, and a recent £4.5million overhaul, Inverness Town House is no longer fit for its original purpose – to hold official council meetings.
The building has been home to Inverness council representatives, as well as being the seat of the Inverness provost, since 1882.
Earlier today, members of the Inverness City and Area Committee were told that from now on they will meet in the council buildings on Glenurquhart Road.
Bringing to an end the area committee’s association with the city centre building.
The foundation stone for the new building was laid by the then provost Alexander Simpson, on April 15 1878.
It was designed by William Lawrie in the Gothic style, built with ashlar stone at a cost of £13,500 and was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on January 19, 1882.
Council offices not photogenic
Councillor Duncan Macpherson, who represents Inverness South, said: “Today’s meeting of the City of Inverness and Area Committee was scheduled to take place in the historic Inverness Town House, for the new provost to be appointed after the recent local government elections.
“The date of the meeting was changed on the calendar from Friday to Wednesday, along with the venue, from the town house chamber.”
He said the council’s chief executive Donna Manson said the chamber in the town house was not suitable for modern council meetings, and area committees would now be held in the council chamber.
He continued: “Sadly this move away from the beautiful and historic town house is likely to become a permanent move away for the Inverness city and area council meetings.
“It seems such a pity if Inverness were to now lose the regular use of its famous and beautiful Inverness council chamber just because of a supposed IT or satellite video conference connection issue.
“I’m quite sure could be overcome by some suitably experienced technicians with a can-do attitude to making it work. [The move] is maybe a smokescreen for a centralising of power away from true Inverness localism and into the big Highland Council general officialdom buildings.
“In all my years, I’ve yet to see one tourist arrive in Inverness and stop to photograph the Highland Council headquarters building on Glenurquhart Road, or try the door at reception to ask to see inside the building.”
A Highland Council spokesman said: “With the move to a hybrid approach of enabling both in person and teams attendance at committees, the technology at Glenurquhart Road supports this approach whereas the technology at the town house is not able to.”