A ONCE-popular horse riding centre on the outskirts of Inverness is in line for a major redevelopment as a four-star holiday and leisure complex.
Plans, representing investment of well over £1 million, have been unveiled which will transform the Treetops Riding Centre at Balloch into a tourist destination featuring 14 high-quality holiday lodges, a 100-seat restaurant, shop and cafe. Equestrian facilities will be retained.
The ambitious project is expected to create up to 15 jobs.
Local residents and community representatives are being urged to take a look at the plans and comment on them during an open day at the site next Saturday, August 26.
The centre is owned by Inverness Paving and was developed for equestrian use. At its peak it stabled more than 40 horses and included training and paddock areas, although this has been scaled back in recent years.
Louise MacDonald, a director at Inverness Paving, said: "The Treetops site is ideal, close to the city but in a beautiful forested location and with fine views to the north across the Moray Firth.
"Our aim is to create new leisure and holiday facilities of the highest quality as well as a new restaurant with unrivalled views over the Moray Firth but close enough to the city to make it an attractive destination for diners."
The holiday lodges are planned for the pine wood area at the site entrance, with several elevated in the trees.
The shop, cafe and restaurant, along with a laundry, will be housed in two reconfigured stable blocks.
Ms MacDonald said: "With careful re-landscaping throughout and substantial additional tree planting, the aim is to create a four-star destination for holiday visitors and a new restaurant for visitors and locals alike."
The designs for Treetops are being developed by Inverness architect HRI Munro. It is intended to submit a planning application to Highland Council in October with the aim of developing the site next year, if it gets the go-ahead.
Andrew Bruce, a director of HRI Munro, described it as an exciting project.
"It offers a high-quality new venture close to the city edge and will help and support the growing tourist and visitor experience," he said.
The public consultation on August 26 takes place between 11am and 3pm.