Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

New 'hub' for villages proposed

Road sign on the A96
The A96 corridor has been earmarked for development

A new town centre would be created as a focal point for the communities of Culloden, Smithton and Balloch under a proposed 120m project.

Consortium Inverness Estate Limited said the planned centre at Stratton would also be a "hub" for new housing in the area.

Up to 2,000 jobs would be created if the planning application was approved.

The plans are to go on display at Culloden Free Church, Smithton, on 18 February.

The developer said its proposal would form the first part of the east Inverness urban expansion, as proposed in the A96 growth corridor development framework.

The framework was approved by Highland Council in September 2007.

Brian Muir, the consortium's planning consultant, said: "This is the culmination of five years of discussion and dialogue with Highland Council which has continued through the A96 corridor process and beyond.

"In addition, we have had a year-and-a-half of pre-application discussions and consultation with the council."

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