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Regional Sports Facility to be designed and costed

6th September 2015

Photograph of Regional Sports Facility to be designed and costed

Highland Council has agreed funding of up to £150,000 to develop detailed designs and costings for a Regional Sports Facility.

The project planning is to be taken forward in line with the Council's Programme commitment to work with partners to progress the delivery of a regional sports facility for the Highlands in Inverness incorporating indoor cycling, tennis and athletics as part of our aim of promoting the Highlands as a great place to live, work and visit.

Councillors agreed in March 2015 to progress an ambitious Regional Sports Facility for the Highlands, which could include a significant contribution by SportScotland of £5 million to the project.

The outcome of a feasibility study by Porteous Leisure, commissioned through High Life Highland, was presented to Council at its meeting today, 3 September 2015. The study considered the capital costs, potential sources of funding, an estimated revenue budget, potential uses and the interests and requirements of key stakeholders, partners and sponsors.

The study examined potential sites and has recommended The Bught site option, which adds to existing leisure facilities at Inverness Leisure and offers best value in economic and sporting terms.

The estimated capital cost of the Regional Sports Centre at current prices would be around £23.1 million. Inflation will be factored into the detailed design stage. Members agreed that there should be an approach to potential sources of funding.

Chair of Planning Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Audrey Sinclair welcomed the decision to progress the project. She said: "This ambitious facility would be a tremendous benefit to people from across the Highlands, meaning that Highland athletes would have the opportunity to train and compete within the Highland area without the need for extensive travel south to other centres. It would also be a major attraction for visitors and tourists to the Highland area."

Chair of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee, Cllr Drew Millar added: “The facilities would be enjoyed by all, athletes and spectators. The economic benefits for the Highlands would be enormous. I am sure people coming to use such a facility will also come to Skye and other areas of the Highlands.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “This project really exciting and truly transformational for Inverness and the wider Highlands. It will significantly boost the economy, both in the development stage and following that, in bringing opportunities, visitors and money into the Highlands.

“Of course, all this can only be brought to fruition if we get the City Region Deal and we will be progressing these important discussions with the Scottish and UK Governments.”

The new Youth Convener Cat Bateson who was in attendance at her first Highland Council meeting welcomed the opportunities for young coaches that such a facility would provide.

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