Stewart Chamber of Commerce


Amid our ongoing lockdown it was really encouraging to see a couple of positive developments for the city of Inverness last week.

The Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee approved the proposed re-development of the former Arnott’s building between Union Street and Baron Taylor’s Lane.  As most locals will know this building has a prominent position in the heart of the city and this project is important for several reasons.  It provides further, much needed, affordable housing in the heart of the city with many of the properties being available for rent from the Highland Council.  Enabling people and families to live in the city centre is a key element to its regeneration.  The investment of some £15M of private sector capital in this city-centre investment is also a welcome feature.  And finally, the fact that this project will create some 150 jobs during construction is important, particularly as the construction sector readies itself to come out of ‘lockdown’.

It was also heartening to see the work that Simpson’s Garden Centre have put in to preparing themselves for their re-opening as we as a society take the first few steps on the Scottish Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown.  I’m sure many of us will be joining their orderly queue as we start to re-engage with some much welcome ‘normal’ social activities.  Many businesses will currently be looking at the issues the team at Simpson’s have addressed, how do we re-shape our business model and offering to our customers? How do we keep our customers and staff safe? And what are the opportunities that we can maximise as we re-emerge and move forward?

A critical element in all of this are the sectoral guidance notes which are being produced by the Scottish Government and those issued for manufacturing and retail have been welcomed by the business community.  Operating safely and safeguarding the health of our employees, customers and supply chains is in the best interests of all of us and is something all of us in the business community have been doing for a long time. 

I am delighted with the way in which the Inverness Chamber team have been able to support and assist many Highland businesses to this point and look forward to that continuing. 


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