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Highland Council has officially taken receipt of its new Fort William offices from Elgin-founded builder, Robertson.
Work on The Charles Kennedy Building in the town’s Achintore Road, has now been completed following a two-year renovation and construction programme.
Members of the public were invited to an open afternoon to view the new offices yesterday (Wednesday) after they were formally opened by Highland Council’s Lochaber area chairman, Councillor Andrew Baxter.
The building was renamed in tribute to the late Mr Kennedy who attended Lochaber High School and represented the Highlands as an MP from 1983 until 2015.
Mr Kennedy died suddenly soon after after losing his seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber in the 2015 general election.
Throughout the project there was a focus on retaining the key features of the original ‘Grade B’ listed building, with Robertson able to salvage a sizeable quantity of the existing slate and reuse it as part of the wider renovation works.
These works took place alongside the construction of a new two storey extension named the ‘Civic Hub’ – which includes a service point, registry office, council chamber, committee rooms and general offices.
Speaking ahead of yesterday’s ceremony, Mr Baxter told us: ‘It will be an honour and a privilege to formally declare both the Charles Kennedy Building and Alexander Ross House open.
‘Together these redeveloped buildings now deliver a fantastic new site providing modern and accessible facilities serving the local Fort William and wider Lochaber community.’
Frank Reid, managing director of Robertson Northern, said: ‘The first phase of the project was handed over to the council in November 2017 and this second handover signals the culmination of months of hard work.
‘Staff at the council can now look forward to getting settled in their new working environment.’
Prior to the office being constructed at Achintore Road, the property lay empty having been previously damaged by a fire.
A key part of the construction programme was to restore the original building as well as extend it to house the full council employee base.
Lochaber councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of The Highland Council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee, said the local authority welcomed the transformation of what had formerly been an eyesore to the entrance to Fort William.
‘The restoration and extension to the building have been well received locally and now provide a civic presence for the council serving the public of Lochaber, ‘ he added.
CAPTION: The council’s new premises in Fort William were formally opened yesterday (Wednesday).
NO F38 Charles Kennedy building