The Inverness Townscape Heritage (TH) project focuses closely on the key city gateway and historic thoroughfare of Academy Street, which is a critical artery for pedestrian and vehicular movement in the City centre. Priorities in the project delivery include:
Key gateways to Inverness City:
- The North West end of Academy Street forms an important entrance to the Old Town and contains some older buildings of significant merit, including the Phoenix Ale House and the AI Welders building.
- Station Square and Inverness Train Station boast an annual footfall in excess of 2.4 million people including visitors the Highlands arriving by train and bus.
The Townscape of Academy Street:
In addition, built heritage along the street comprises of grand Victorian commercial buildings and a hotel, the Victorian Market and earlier more domestic scale buildings with shops. This rich historical evolution of the street is worthy of protection and enhancement in its own right; the TH project aims to:
- Repair and restore authentic details and materials;
- Bring historic buildings back into appropriate, sustainable and economic use;
- Preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the street;
- Improve public realm to make Academy Street a welcoming and attractive environment.
The Academy Street story – making the cultural heritage accessible:
Academy Street is an integral part of the historic Old Town. It originally formed the defensive North East edge, but later became the workshop or industrial area helped by the railway bringing growth and development to the area and Inverness as a whole. The TH Project aims to help the local community and business understand the rich heritage of the street with a strong focus on efforts to develop awareness and engagement.
Training, heritage construction skills and employability:
The TH Project is working with key partners in the provision of training to compliment the investment in the built fabric of Academy Street. Training programmes are being developed around construction, retail and hospitality sectors. Building a base of local traditional construction skills is a key priority.
An innovative feature in this TH project is the employability activity being undertaken to ensure all barriers to regeneration on Academy Street are addressed. Working in partnership the key aim is to help long term unemployed people develop routes back into work, focussing on the client group accommodated within the city centres HMOs.