UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart paid a visit to the Northern Meeting Park ahead of a multi-million investment in its redevelopment.
Children from Central Primary School, St Joseph’s primary school and Bishop Eden’s Primary School met with Mr Stewart on Friday (June 10) and learnt more about the £5.2 million investment which will see the existing B listed historic grandstand refurbished.
Alongside this will be the creation of a new pavilion within the grounds of the park with a large function room suitable for a wide range of activities by local groups. The work will also see the installation of environmentally friendly ground source heating.
All three schools utilise the green space at Northern Meeting Park as they have none within their own school grounds.
Central Primary School P7 pupil James Macdonald said: “This will mean the world to us because it will mean more people can use it and bring the community and clubs together.”
The investment comes from the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which sees investment in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “I have really enjoyed hearing how these projects will make a difference to people in Inverness.
“It’s clear to me that these historic spaces are so important for the city; for sport, for culture, for tourism, and not least for the local schools.”
“I am pleased the UK Government is investing £19.8 million in these facilities, which is part of £2 billion for levelling up communities across Scotland.”
Under the banner of the Inverness Zero Carbon Cultural Regeneration Project – the bid brought together three projects that, when combined, will drive the environmental, cultural, and economic regeneration of Inverness.
As well as the Northern Meeting Park, £7.1 million has been given for the Bught Park Stadium for a refurbished grandstand, interactive museum of shinty and improved infrastructure for more large-scale outdoor events, supported by ground source heating.
Work on the third project to develop a new net zero carbon heat solution in Castle Street is progressing through the feasibility phase.
Design work on the initial concepts for the two schemes at the Northern Meeting Park and Bught Park will go on show for public consultation on Tuesday, 21 June at Canal Park between 10am and 3pm.
The schemes will also go on show in the evening of 21 June at the Cameron Youth Centre.
The Highland Council’s Executive Chief Officer for Infrastructure, Environment and Economy Malcolm Macleod said: “These two projects are flagship projects for the continuing regeneration of Inverness City Centre through to 2025 and will lead not just to fantastic facilities for residents and visitors, but also related renewable energy schemes that will further contribute to the Council’s Net Zero ambitions.
“Please help us shape these projects by taking part in the public consultation.”
Project Director Fiona Hampton said: “These initiatives will not only breathe new life into some much-loved local venues, but with integrated renewable energy sources, they will deliver economic benefits to local businesses and help to meet the Governments’ zero-carbon targets.
“Each of the projects will bring something new to Inverness. Bught Park will provide a hub for sports and leisure facilities for the future and will develop the home of the Highland’s indigenous sport, shinty.
“The work at the Northern Meeting Park allows us to preserve the wonderful listed building and to redevelop the historic home of the Highland Games.
“With the development of a new pavilion and event infrastructure, we’ll be able to welcome 10,000 people to enjoy the venue once again.”