Inverness West Link: Uncertainty over Tulloch funding

Highland Council simulation of Option Six The council says the new West Link is needed to ease travel across Inverness

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Highland Council could face further difficulties in getting a developer to contribute towards the cost of the Inverness West Link, it has emerged.

Tulloch Homes offered to provide money towards the construction of the proposed road, but on condition that it was completed by 2011.

Work on the route is not expected to start until 2015.

Highland Council and Tulloch said no discussions had been held yet on a new agreement on a financial contribution.

Last month, BBC Scotland reported that Tesco was refusing to contribute £340,000 towards the cost of building the West Link because it was not completed as planned by October 2011.

The new road is needed to ease travel across Inverness and free up congested city centre streets, according to the local authority.

It could cost up to £34m to construct.

Land along parts of the route has been earmarked for new housing.

House builder Tulloch said that, along with other landowners, it was working with the council on a detailed master plan for the use of the land at Torvean and Ness-side.

In a statement, the company added: "This includes a residential element, in accordance with the Local Plan, with all that would be entailed, including potential developer contribution.

"However, given that a crossing may be years away, we have not given thought to any planning application."

'Quite outrageous'

Highland Council said that no new legally binding agreement had been reached with Tulloch Homes at this stage.

It also said no discussions had been held between the council and Tulloch's solicitors on the 10-year clause that depended on the road being built by 2011.

In a statement, the council added: "Discussions have been held with all landowners, including Tulloch Homes, in the context of the Torvean and Ness-side Development Brief, which sets out the developer contributions expected from all new development within the development brief area.

"The Torvean and Ness-side Development Brief sets out the expected developer contributions for the West Link."

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP, Mary Scanlon, said the council had a responsibility after 10 years to go back and get an extension to the expiry date.

She said that, by not taking this action, commercial contributions to the cost of the road had been lost.

Ms Scanlon added: "I think it's quite outrageous that this is a sum, in these very difficult financial times, that taxpayers will have to fund."

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