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Controversial new Inverness micro-brewery given green light

A controversial new multi-million pound micro-brewery and visitor attraction for Inverness has been given the green light.

Published: September 30, 2015
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Victoria and Jon Erasmus’ vision to create a state-of-the-art micro-brewery on the city’s desirable Ness Bank was rejected by councillors last year after objections from residents regarding traffic and parking, as well as concerns about a contentious biomass boiler.

However revised plans, which addressed initial concerns, have been passed by councillors and an autumn 2016 target has now been set for building work to commence.

The project location was a former home of brewing in the 1700s and the glass-fronted building, restaurant and visitor centre is expected to become a major draw for visitors to the Highland capital.

The couple, who own the Glen Mhor Hotel which will adjoin the development, reckon the project - which will create 12 new jobs - is another sign of growing confidence in the city.

Mr Erasmus said: “We are delighted the project has been given approval and we thank the councillors for their support as well as members of the public and business community who have backed the plan.

“This is good for Inverness. It will bring much needed jobs and will add to the attractions which bring tourists to the city. We are glad that the revisions made have met with approval.

“The hard work begins now and we have set a target of Autumn 2016 to get work started on the site.

“This is a great project, it’s exciting and it is something that will bring a lot of benefits to the highlands.”

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The couple started work on the plan in 2012, visiting the continent to assess advances in brewing technology.

Beers from the Highlands, using local ingredients, will be produced for home and export markets.

The brewery’s glass atrium will offer visitors views across the River Ness to Inverness Cathedral, with the project estimated to bring millions of pounds to the local economy.

The revised plans, which were passed by Highland councillors, addressed previous concerns over traffic, parking, flood risk and noise.

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A contentious biomass boiler was also removed from the new design.

The go-ahead for the new visitor attraction sparked calls for Highland Council to review the city's transport network.

SNP councillor Dave Fallows said: “Parking is not a problem for this hotel, it is a problem for the whole of Inverness.

“As a vibrant city in the 21 st century, Inverness needs to look at it serious and develop a complete strategy for parking that encourages business. Otherwise everything gradually moves out of town.

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“We can't keep going on restricting new venture simply because we haven't drawn up a plan about how to deal with parking on a grand scale.”

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