Plans for a major new housing development of up to 400 homes at Milton of Leys have been approved.
The scheme, including 200 affordable houses as well as business, commercial and community facilities, was given the go ahead by Highland councillors.
Plans were submitted by property group Hazledene and not-for-profit developer HHA.
The project is being managed by Glasgow-based property group Park Lane.
The 25.2 acre development near the A9 interchange will include a mix of apartments and family homes for private sale and mid-market rent.
The scheme will be built in six phases on land south of the A9 Interchange previously earmarked for business use.
The developers say it will help house hunters as the demand for new rental homes across the city continues to outstrip supply.
Brian Clarke, joint managing director at Park Lane, said: “The lack of social housing across the Highland region has been well-documented.
“By including a 50% provision in our masterplan, we will help to alleviate the pressurised market that has no signs of slowing.
“Our planning application represents significant investment to the region that will create positive economic and social benefit to residents for generations to come.”
Gail Matheson, CEO at HHA, said the Milton of Leys project represents one of the largest purpose-built developments in Inverness in the last ten years.
“Importantly, the mix of ownership and tenure options will be beneficial for many groups of people that are in need of a new home.
“It is a model that should be considered by more developers going forward, given its attractiveness to more than one demographic.
“The Highland-wide Local Development Plan identifies that there is an acute need for more affordable housing options and HHA is pleased to help push forward their ambitious housing targets.”
Affordable housing bonus
Councillor Duncan Macpherson welcomed the plans, with reservations about the impact on traffic and school rolls.
He said there is a shortage of housing, including affordable homes, with around 8,950 on the waiting list.
“It would not be my preferred place for housing but it appears it meets with many of the council’s own criteria.
“The bonus for the council and the community is we are getting a very large portion as affordable housing.”
A report to the committee acknowledged impacts on the road network.
But it said: “The development site represents the last major allocation within the Inshes and Milton of Leys areas and provides opportunity to improve services and infrastructure for current residents and new vehicular parking, along with foul and surface water drainage infrastructure.”
The developers will have to help address school capacity measures, including an extension to Milton of Leys Primary.
It will also contribute to community facilities, school transport and new bus services.
The plans attracted three objections.
‘Woeful lack of commercial and community infrastructure’
Emma Roomes said the land is designated for commercial use: “It’s clearly a commercial plot and there’s no shortage of land planned for houses in this area.
“It is unethical to allow a change of use when there is such a woeful lack of commercial and community infrastructure and no shortage of planned housing.”
Clare Barber said housing will damage future commercial development opportunities needed in the area.
“It is already a huge housing area with extremely limited community infrastructure.
“This area needs retail and community amenities not 400 more houses.”
And Jean-Paul Kowaliski said the area should be kept for nature and future businesses.
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