Tornagrain is a 500-acre new town that will accommodate the population growth in Inverness, Scotland, currently one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe. Developed by Moray Estates, the town is located in the A96 growth corridor between Inverness and Nairn, and is designed in the tradition of the new towns of the United Kingdom such as Dunkeld and New Town Edinburgh. While many of the Highlands’ suburban towns have followed the sprawl model, Tornagrain will offer an example of compact, sustainable development Additionally, by accommodating a portion of around 30,000 people who are expected to move into the Highlands area in the next 35 years, Tornagrain serves as an example of adept regional planning. A public charrette in 2006 commenced process, followed by smaller public consultations and hearings as the proposals underwent review and approvals.
The town plan features a centrally-located High Street and Town Center, along with several smaller neighborhoods linked by an open space network of green corridors and parks; these are organized via the Transect and structured via a form-based Regulating Plan and Code. The Town Center will be the most vibrant and dense neighborhood, featuring retail and commercial offerings on the ground floors, offices and multi-family dwellings on the upper floors. Parking is in internal courts behind liner buildings. The remaining portion of the town core gives way to live/work units and townhouses, before transitioning into the calmer residential areas.
Three smaller neighborhoods lie south of the High Street, each with its own smaller mixed-use commercial center and public green. Greens often follow the traditional urban gestures found in traditional Scottish towns. Parks are also woven throughout the plan, including a central park incorporating the esker and a park within the quarry. The town’s 5,000 housing units will include flats, cottages, courtyard houses, terrace houses and mews units, with architects looking to the Scottish vernacular for architectural inspiration.
Beyond the site, the plan offers a smooth transition to the future airport business park. The developments will have a mutually symbiotic relationship, with town residents working at the airport park, and airport employees visiting the town for recreation. In addition, the combination of the proposed rail halt and airport establishes the area as a major transportation hub able to support the increased density.