Moray Estates has been building Tornagrain near the Highland capital since 2018, with expansion plans in place over the next 50 years.
The new town is designed to help with demand for housing in the area where population growth and the increasing popularity of short-term lettings for tourists has made it difficult for locals to buy homes.
The first 250 homes are now complete and the construction of the next 500 – a mix of one and two-bedroom flats and two, three and four bedroom houses – is underway. Housing classed as affordable will make up 30 per cent of the next phase of development.
To support the plans, Moray Estates has secured funding from Bank of Scotland that will be used to widen the road from the A96 to Tornagrain. Due to complete in October, the road will allow improved access for residents and facilitate further expansion.
In addition to the homes, Tornagrain will see the development of three primary schools, one secondary school, offices, libraries, churches and leisure facilities.
By 2060, the town is expected to be home to more than 10,000 people.
The latest support from Bank of Scotland follows an initial £7m funding package that supported key infrastructure in 2018.
Andrew Howard, managing director of Moray Estates, said: “As a business, we can trace our relationship with Bank of Scotland back to 1695. We’re hugely thankful for the ongoing support we’ve had as it’s played an integral part in the creation of this new Highland town.
“Tornagrain is designed around a fostering community. The emerging town already has a grocery store, pharmacy, nursery, allotments and other community amenities which will be joined shortly by a new cafe. We’re now really excited about this next phase of the building and look forward to welcoming more people to their new homes.”
Michael Thomson, relationship director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Moray Estates is one of our first customers so it’s hugely rewarding to be able to support the business as it continues to thrive in the housing sector. Creating new places to live and work is essential to the Highland community where demand continues to rise for all types of homes.”
The bank, which forms part of Lloyds Banking Group, said it had committed a £2 billion fund to support businesses impacted by the pandemic. This provides for additional fee-free lending to small and medium-sized enterprises and capital repayment holidays.
Thomson added: “We’ll continue to stand by Scottish firms across all sectors to help them grow and prosper and look forward to seeing the next phase of Tornagrain welcome new people to the area.”
In April, Lloyds Banking Group flagged early signs that customers were tightening their belts as it trimmed its outlook for the UK economy and unveiled lower profits.
Lloyds, which ranks as the UK’s biggest mortgage lender, booked an impairment charge of £177m as it warned that the squeeze on consumer spending could affect borrower disposable income.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.