Traders' anger over Inverness market revamp closure

Image source, Highland Council

Owners of businesses at Inverness' historic Victorian Market have been warned a major revamp of the site could take a year to complete.

Highland Council has proposed offering compensation based on six months' rent or the financial equivalent, and also help with finding alternative premises.

Traders would have to re-apply for a unit in the refurbished market.

Kasia Pogo, who runs an Asian food business, said the council's plans had caused "shock and disbelief".

Costing about £1.5m, the proposed revamp includes creating a larger open area in the market where live entertainment and other events could be staged.

The building work would take about 10 months to complete and tenants could be in redeveloped units early 2021, according to the council.

The local authority said there had been "ongoing engagement" with traders including one-to-one consultations for the last two years.

Councillors on the City of Inverness area committee will be asked to approve the business case for the revamp at a meeting next week.

'Losing my dreams'

But Ms Pogo said moving out of the market would be devastating for her business.

She told BBC Radio Scotland: "It means closing down my business, going bankrupt and losing my dreams.

"I don't see why myself and my colleagues should be closing our businesses."

Highland Council said, if councillors approve the business case, traders would be given notice early next year and granted compensation. Work on the revamp could start around April.

Help would be offered to find alternative premises.

The local authority said businesses intending to re-apply for a unit in the market would need alternative premises for a minimum of six months to possibly up to 12 months.