Bancon wins Inverness Castle contract

Left to right: Michael Golding, Iain Stewart, Donna Manson, Fergus Ewing, Kate Forbes, Allan Clow, Helen Carmichael, Alistair Dodds and Trish Robertson

The construction contract, which has been issued by the Highland Council, was announced by Kate Forbes, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for finance and the economy during a visit to the site yesterday.

Bancon Construction’s contract will run for two and a half years, to be followed by the fit-out. The visitor attraction has a planned opening date in 2025.

Forbes said: “This marks a significant step towards the creation of an exciting new visitor attraction which will be a major contributor to the region’s sustainable, long-term recovery from the pandemic. 

“Once complete, the redevelopment of Inverness Castle is estimated to generate net additional expenditure of £13.9 million a year and will create the equivalent of an extra 275 full time jobs in the region.

“We need to ensure that this project acts as a catalyst for the promotion and development of leisure, culture and sustainable tourism across the wider Highland region.”

UK government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The transformation of Inverness Castle is creating a must-see attraction that will boost the region’s economy and create jobs. The UK government is supporting the castle through the City Deal, and is also investing £19.8 million in related projects through our Levelling Up Fund.

“In addition, across Scotland we are providing more than £1.7 billion for projects to level up communities and build back better from the pandemic.”

Managing director of Bancon Construction Allan Clow said: “We are both honoured and excited to be awarded the redevelopment works at Inverness Castle.

“To be involved in such a high-profile project that will transform the castle into a fantastic new tourist attraction, is extremely exciting.

“This is a unique project with a strong connection to the local community and tourists alike, and we will align our expertise and experience and transform the Castle and grounds to become a tourism gateway for the Highlands.

“This project is a huge boost for the construction industry and the local economy, and we look forward to starting on site and building on our partnerships with both the client and design team.”

The planned construction will include:

  • reopening the original front entrance to the building in the South Tower;
  • improving accessibility and inclusivity to all parts of the building, including a new universally accessible rooftop viewing area in the South Tower;
  • enhancing the grounds on Castlehill to make the outdoor areas an accessible and inclusive visitor attraction in their own right;
  • contemporary additions to the building including a new café space between the North and South towers of the Castle;
  • creating new external viewing terraces and gardens;
  • conservation of the building fabric throughout.

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by a £15m investment from the Scottish government and £3.1m from the UK government through the Inverness & Highland City Region Deal.  Other partners include Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

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