BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 10:59 GMT
Highlands blueprint is published
Sign on A96
The A96 corridor could be dramatically transformed
Plans setting out the detail of a 3bn development between Inverness and Nairn have been published by Highland Council.

The project, which will see a dramatic expansion along the A96 corridor over a 35-year period, includes doubling the size of Nairn and building two towns.

If approved, work on the plan would begin in 2011.

The proposals also include building 16,500 new homes and a new Inverness College campus.

The development covers all of the land eastwards from Inverness to the border with Moray and south to the B9006.

Those behind the measure said it would create 20,000 new jobs and combat a projected decline in the Highland population.

The local authority's convener, Sandy Park, said: "This document is a blueprint for the future growth of the Highlands.

"The A96 Corridor offers huge potential for the continued growth of both Inverness and the Highlands over the next 30-40 years."

Environmental impact

Councillor Drew Hendry, chairman of Highland Council's planning environment and development committee, added: "We need to be in a strong position to ensure that the conditions are right for population growth.

"We can do this by building up a stronger and more diverse economy, ensuring a good supply of housing land and making sure that the necessary level of infrastructure is in place to allow it to happen."

The proposals have attracted criticism from some local communities and community councils, most notably in Tornagrain.

Villagers are calling for the area to be left undeveloped, at least until expansion plans for Inverness and Nairn are completed.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency also raised concerns over the environmental impact of the plans.



SEE ALSO
Master plan for new towns on A96
16 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Preferred college site identified
15 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Plans to expand town go on show
14 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Workshops start on new town plan
05 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Talks on proposal to upgrade A96
21 Aug 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Countess in rival plan for Nairn
08 Aug 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Earl unveils seaside town plans
07 Aug 06 |  Highlands and Islands

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific