Ten-year £315m City Deal announced for Inverness

Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle

Inverness is to benefit from a major investment into the city’s infrastructure over the next decade following the award of a £315 million City Deal.

The Scottish Government, which is contributing £135m, said the Inverness City Deal will be used to improve transport and digital links in the Highland capital.

The UK government will commit up to £53m and The Highland Council and regional partners will contribute £127m.

It is hoped that the City Deal will lever in around £1 billion of investment over its lifetime.

Funding will be targeted towards improving the regions transport and digital connectivity networks, fostering innovation of high growth businesses through the creation of a Northern Scotland Innovation Hub, promoting tourism and delivery of local housing and assisted living schemes.

The City Deal will provide a step change in providing opportunities to enhance and accelerate the delivery of long-term aspirations, through;

  • Significant investment in the trunk road network to deliver the strategic A9/96 Link Road improvement and grade separation of the Longman interchange to improve congestion and accessibility to Inverness
  • The delivery of substantial investment in Inverness Castle to support local tourism and the regional economy
  • Investment to deliver 6,000 new houses over 20 years of which, 1,800 are to be affordable homes
  • Support the commercialisation of new medical products and technologies at the new multi-disciplinary centre for clinical research and teaching on the UHI campus.

Welcoming the City Deal, Infrastructure secretary Keith Brown said: “Cities and their regions are the engines of our economy. Today’s City Deal announcement demonstrates our clear and strong commitment to Inverness and the wider Highland region, which we recognise have a key contribution to make to the future prosperity and economic growth for Scotland.

“That is why the Scottish Government has agreed to invest £135m as part of a £315m City Deal for Inverness that will deliver significant long-term benefits for the city, region and Scotland as a whole.

“This deal provides an opportunity to enhance and accelerate the delivery of long-term aspirations held by the Scottish Government and The Highland Council, the impact of which could help increase the population, create thousands of jobs and help to up-skill the local labour market.

“The significant investment in Inverness’s transport infrastructure will support much needed improvements to the trunk road network, including infrastructure improvements on the A9/96 Link Road and the Longman interchange. This investment will improve access to and within the local communities and at the same time improve accessibility to jobs, education and healthcare including the University of the Highlands and Islands and development along the A96 corridor.

“The Deal will also support the transition of Inverness Castle into a world class visitor attraction to boost regional tourism and furthering growth in an important sector. Through the deal, we will identify and explore ways to extend digital coverage, including Superfast Broadband and Mobile 4G connectivity across the region to support The Highland Council’s ambition to be the most digitally connected rural region in Europe.

“The successful delivery of the Inverness City Deal will bring significant positive benefits to both the local and national economies and I am delighted that we have been able to secure this.”

The Highland Council has worked closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands to develop these proposals and with the Inverness Chamber of Commerce and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson, warmly welcomed the announcement which seals the deal after two years of background work and negotiations.

She said: “The city of Inverness and the wider Highlands offers a unique and wonderful environment to live, work, study and visit and is a globally recognised location. This Deal will make a significant contribution to the long term productivity and economic growth of our area by promoting it as the best digitally connected rural region in Europe. Effective broadband and mobile coverage is essential so that businesses can fully exploit commercial opportunities and international markets.

“The majority of the businesses in the Highlands are small and medium businesses and this deal will enable them to expand and develop, as well as attracting new high skill, high value businesses to the area. The Deal also focuses on the attraction and retention of young people in a region which has tended to see out-migration to other areas and countries. The development and infrastructure which will result from the Deal will provide hundreds of job opportunities and greatly improve the supporting infrastructure to grow business.

“This Deal will provide a step change in terms of providing the opportunity to enhance and accelerate the delivery of the long term aspirations for Inverness and the wider region. I am grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this very positive outcome for the people of the Highlands.”

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