Work to build Scotland’s first purpose-built justice centre in Inverness is set to start after Highland Council gave the updated design the green light.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) submitted plans for an improved design for Inverness Justice Centre in May, with the final decision on full planning permission granted at September’s meeting of the council’s south planning committee.

With ongoing support and funding from the Scottish Government, SCTS said Reiach & Hall Architects’ updated design is more efficient in the use of accommodation and provides an attractive public space, along with improved access.

Eric McQueen, SCTS chief executive, said: “Rather than simply a replacement sheriff court building, the justice centre will play a pivotal role in changing victims’, witnesses’ and offenders’ experience of the justice system, while providing high quality secure criminal courts, and flexible accommodation for our civil courts and tribunal users.

“By bringing together the right organisations, we can all focus on problem-solving approaches to reduce reoffending and increase the opportunity for community sentencing, while providing the facilities and technology to remove the need for children to appear in court and in the longer term, digital case management for summary crime.”

The creation of the justice centre has widespread support from across the Scottish Government, the councils in the Highlands and Islands region, justice and third sector organisations, the legal profession and the general public.

In addition to the direct justice benefits, the location of the justice centre will help transform the surrounding area, with the transfer of Inverness Castle to Highland Council ownership stimulating economic growth for the city as it develops a major tourism attraction.

Construction is planned to begin in Autumn 2017 with contractor Robertson Northern to complete the main building works complete in 2019.

Frank Reid, managing director of Robertson Construction Northern, said: “Today’s decision means we can start work on what will be a significant development for the Scottish justice system and we’re looking forward to bringing this improved design to life over the months ahead.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now!

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