Protest over concerns about new Highlands care homes

image captionCouncil officers have said private care would be more cost effective

A protest march is being planned for Fort William amid fears proposals to build five new care homes in the Highlands will be dropped.

Highland Council is consulting on the project after warnings it would cost more than using private sector sites.

A previous SNP-led administration had committed to constructing the homes in Fort William, Grantown-on-Spey, Inverness, Muir of Ord and Tain.

The demonstration has been proposed for 19 June.

A spokesman for the campaigners organising the march said its starting point has still to be confirmed.

Local MPs, MSPs and councillors have been invited to join its ranks.

In a report, council directors have warned that going ahead with building the five homes would see "significantly higher" costs than using private sector sites.

They compared the costs of the proposed buildings against funding care in the private sector over 20 years.

For Fort William it would be £21.6m for building and running a new home compared with £13m for the same number of beds in an independent home.

In Grantown-on-Spey it would be £21.5m against £13m, in Inverness £25m compared with £16.7m, for Muir of Ord £17.3m against £12.1m and in Tain £23.2m compared with £13.8m.

Public views on the report have been sought by the authority's Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent administration.

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