By Ian McConnell

Business Editor

A NEW Highland town, which Moray Estates has been building since 2018, has seen the final brick of its 250th home laid as it enters the second phase of its development.

Moray Estates, managed by the Earl of Moray and his family, has secured £2 million of funding from Bank of Scotland as it proceeds with the development of Tornagrain, near Inverness.

Under Moray Estates’ plans, the town’s population will be more than 10,000 within 40 years. This would make it of similar size in population terms to Nairn.

The new town is “designed to help with demand for housing in the Highlands, where population growth and the increasing popularity of short-term lettings for tourists has made it difficult for locals to buy homes”, Bank of Scotland noted.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Boris Johnson must heed fears his bonfire could make UK goods ‘unsellable’ in Europe

With the first 250 homes now complete, the build of the next 500 – a mixture of one and two bedroom flats, and two, three and four bedroom houses, is under way. “Affordable housing” will make up 30% of this second phase of development. Bank of Scotland noted such housing will comprise 25% of the entire 5,000-home development – meaning 1,250 affordable homes in total.

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 fostering community. The emerging town already has a grocery store, pharmacy, nursery, allotments and other community amenities which will be shortly joined by a new café. We’re now really excited about this next phase of the building and look forward to welcoming more people to their new homes.”

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Indiana trade deal celebration by Boris Johnson administration smacks of Tory desperation

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 continue 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. [We] look forward to seeing the next phase of Tornagrain welcome new people to the area.”

Moray Estates comprises the estates and properties of the Earl of Moray and his family. The Moray family has owned and managed the estates since 1562. The estates are a family business. The Earl of Moray and his family still live on, and lead the management of, the estates.

As well as new homes, the Tornagrain project includes the development of three primary schools, one secondary school, offices, libraries, churches, and leisure facilities.

Bank of Scotland said: “By 2060, the town will be home to more than 10,000 people, a town similar in size to Nairn or Forres.”

It noted, to support the expanding town, the latest £2m of funding would be used by Moray Estates to widen the road from the A96 to Tornagrain. Due to be completed in October, the new road will allow improved access for residents and facilitate the growth of the new town, the bank added. The latest support from the bank follows an initial £7m funding package which supported key infrastructure for Tornagrain in 2018.