Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 11:50 UK

80m Fort William waterfront project falls through

An artists impression of waterfront development
The project included plans for housing and a supermarket

An £80m project to revamp Fort William's waterfront has fallen through after the developers withdrew from the project.

Housing, a new supermarket, offices and a new library were planned for the 17-acre (seven hectare) site.

But Fort William Waterfront Ltd said the scheme could not be funded in the current global economic conditions.

Highland Council said it would continue to investigate how to maximise the potential of the waterfront.

Councillor Michael Foxley, leader of the council's administration, said: "Looking to the future, our ownership of the seabed means that when economic conditions change and if the right scheme comes along, we remain in a position to secure the best result for Fort William town itself.

Our timing was not ideal because the global economic situation has changed
Fort William Waterfront spokesman

"In addition, we have the wider waterfront development proposals, such as the marina and improvements to the environment near the old fort.

He added: "We will now need to see how we can implement some of these in the short to medium term."

Fort William Waterfront Ltd was chosen as the preferred bidder for the project on the basis of a 175-year lease, with missives signed in May 2009.

'Imaginative project'

A company spokesman said it had now withdrawn from the development "with reluctance".

He said: "The consortium has put in a great deal of time, work and expense to progressing to the project which we felt was imaginative and beneficial to the town and wider area.

"However, our timing was not ideal because the global economic situation has changed and it is clear from our enquiries that the scheme is not capable of being funded in today's market."

A report on the waterfront development will be presented to Highland Council in May.

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