Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 14:55 UK

Asda and council reach road deal

Asda's plans were called in by Scottish Ministers

Asda has agreed to contribute £1.5m towards improvements to a road leading to its first store in the Highlands.

Scottish Ministers had already given the Inverness premises the go-ahead even without the supermarket chain agreeing to pay for upgrade work.

But Highland Council, while not opposing the planned store, said it was prepared to go to the Court of Session over the cost of road improvements.

In a joint statement, the council and Asda said the issue had been resolved.

The chain agreed to pay £1.5m towards the costs of work to the Inshes roundabout and the A9/B900 slip road if they were found to be necessary.

Highland Council has raised concerns about congestion.

This agreement is a win-win situation
Sandy Park
Highland Council convener

Scottish Ministers had previously called in Asda's application and a public inquiry was held.

Ministers subsequently granted approval without any condition that the chain make a contribution towards road improvements.

The council had until Tuesday to lodge an appeal to the Court of Session against that decision.

But Convener Sandy Park said an amicable agreement had now been reached with Asda.

He said: "This agreement is a win-win situation.

"Shoppers will be pleased that there will be no delay to the progress of the store being built.

"At the same time, the council tax payer can be assured that Asda will contribute towards road improvements if it is established that the opening of the store has resulted in a quantifiable increase in traffic congestion at the two pinch points."

Mr Park paid tribute to those involved in negotiations to resolve the row.

Asda's property communications manager for Scotland, Lisa Rooke, said: "Asda is pleased that as a result of the constructive talks that have taken place with Highland Council over the last two weeks we have been able to reach an agreement that will allow us to move forward with our plans for a new store in Inverness without further delay."

Asda proposes to build the store on a site at Slackbuie.

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