Published: 12/02/2017 19:01 - Updated: 10/02/2017 10:53

The future of city centre Eastgate eyesore is still up for discussion

The Eastgate Hostel
The Eastgate Hostel

YET another meeting will take place over the next few days to try and determine the future of the fire-ravaged Eastgate Hostel in Inverness.

The meeting will be led by Inverness city manager David Haas with central council ward members also expected to be in attendance.

The building’s principal owner Imtaiz Ali is also expected to attend to detail the next steps of the project with work to start on the restoration of the building now taking 1410 days.

It appeared that work on the derelict hostel had taken a major step forward at the end of last year when a planning application that had been promised for several months was eventually lodged to demolish the building.

However, a further application was submitted just over a month ago which detailed the tricky work that will be required, with a survey of the former hostel having found the building to be in a worse condition than was initially feared.

Mr Haas is however keen to hear of any new developments at the next meeting – which is scheduled to be held next week.

“We will be looking to have an update on their plans,” he said. “We are pleased to see that they put in an application, as they said they would, which was handled by the lead agent.

“Everyone is working together now which is really important.”

A series of meetings have been held over recent months to try and begin the restoration of the Eastgate Hostel which has been lying derelict since a blaze broke out in the building in April 2013.

The fire forced 51 tourists and three members of staff to flee to safety in the middle of the night. The tourists, some of whom were in their nightclothes, got out after a fire alarm sounded at 5am and luckily no-one suffered any injuries in the blaze.

The building has been declared safe but there was never any statutory requirement for Mr Ali to improve it further, prompting fears that it could be left in the same abandoned state for years.

The unsightly building has been blasted by several city figures given its prime location, situated near to the High Street and the Eastgate Centre.

Inverness Central Councillor Bet McAllister has attended many of the meetings about the Eastgate Hostel and has welcomed another get together to try and determine a fresh course of action.

“There was a wee chink of light the last time we saw them and we are hopeful that we will get more information when we see them next,” she said. “Everytime you go down to the High Street and see the scaffolding it is an eyesore.”

Fellow Central Councillor Janet Campbell is also hopeful that some good will come from the meeting.

“I am anticipating some positive feedback that will confirm that things will be moving forward,” she said.

Mr Ali was unavailable for comment before the Inverness Courier went to print.

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