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Source: Scotland – Highland Council

The £1.6million project to revamp Inverness’ historic Victorian Market is expected to start on site in January next year (2021).

The work is expected to be completed within a year, by January 2022. WGC Scotland has been chosen as the preferred contractor following the competitive tendering process for the works.

The project is being funded by Inverness Common Good Fund & Town Centre Funding, with an approved budget of £1,750,000.

A full refurbishment of the market hall and former fish hall will involve an internal strip out, including all existing shop units and services with the installation of new units, public toilets and central seating area as per the agreed new layout.

Works are being managed and delivered by the Council’s Property Team. The works solely involve the Market Hall and Fish Hall and not the Arcade and Queensgate and will remain open throughout the period of development.

The Victorian Market celebrated its 150th anniversary in May this year and has been the central focus for the Inverness community and tourists alike during that century and a half.

A Business Plan for the transformation of the Market Hall (including the former Fish Hall) at the Inverness Victorian Market was approved by Members of Highland Council’s City of Inverness Area Committee on 21 November 2019.

The Business Plan, which was developed at the request of the City of Inverness Area Committee, follows on from the Victorian Market Action Plan which aims to improve trading conditions for the market and the city centre.

The overall aim of the plan is to create a viable future for an asset that is not delivering its potential revenue for the Inverness Common Good Fund and to increase footfall in the city centre, to the benefit of the 800 businesses located there.

Officers were tasked to take the business plan forward and prepare a project tender to deliver the agreed plan, which has now been done and the successful contractor appointed.

Inverness City Provost, Cllr Helen Carmichael, said: “The Victorian Market is more than a destination for shops and restaurants, but it is an important community hub.

“We all know that during it’s 150 years the market has had to survive war, fire, recession, threats from national retailers, online shopping and now coronavirus.

“With that in mind it is important that we help protect the market for another 150 years. The refurbishments will not only give the market a new lease of life, but it will also help ensure its continued profitability in the challenging retail environment we have today.”

She added: “I am sure the Market will continue to be the social hub and visitor attraction it has always been, with a future-facing outlook.”

William Morrison, Morrison Jewellers, Market Arcade, said: “I am simply delighted that this very exciting refurbishment of the Market Hall has been given the go-ahead. As the Victorian Market is the nucleus of the Old Town this will do so much for all the surrounding businesses.”

John Ewart, Milk Bar, Market Arcade and member of the VM Stakeholder Group said: “We believe the development of Market Hall will be a key part of the post COVID-19 recovery for the city centre of Inverness.

“Those of us who will continue to trade throughout the development period look forward to welcoming and working alongside the businesses that will join us in a newly refurbished Market Hall.”

Juan Rodroguez, Café De Paulo, Queensgate, said: “The redevelopment of the Market Hall will bring a new dimension to the Victorian Market and the centre of Inverness. With particular focus on food and drink this opportunity will transform the market to a modern, cosmopolitan hub creating a new opportunity for businesses and offering a wide range of services to locals and tourists.”

The Hall Tenants will now receive the agreed compensation package in relation to notices to quit being served.

Below map/layout plan highlights the Market Hall/Fish Hall area affected by this contract in the fawn area only. Please do not use interior or exterior entrance photos or footage of the Queensgate Arcade (highlighted in green) nor the Market Arcade (highlighted in orange/red) as these two areas are not part of the contract.