A farm that was saved from developers could become one of Scotland’s largest new allotment sites.

Knocknagael Farm in Inverness, which is part of a Scottish Government-owned bull stud facility, was at one point earmarked for housing, but following public objections Highland Council rejected that proposal and since then local people have been campaigning to turn the 10 hectare site into allotments and community gardens.

Now Knocknagael Allotments, the group behind plans to create the plots, is preparing to ask the Scottish Government to make an asset transfer of the site in their favour.

Meanwhile Edinburgh-based landscape architects, HarrisonStevens, have drawn up a masterplan that allows for more than 180 allotment plots of varying sizes, along with woodland, wildflower and wetland areas, polytunnels, a hub and an outdoor classroom.

Daniela Miler of HarrisonStevens says: “This is a hugely interesting project because the community is so involved with it. To make it more achievable we have split it into three phases, with the first being the allotment plots, and that way it can be allowed to develop over time.”

One of the benefits here over other sites that HarrisonStevens has been involved with, says Daniela, is the state of the soil: “Because Knocknagael is a working farm this is in excellent condition.”

Maria de la Torre, chair of Knocknagael Allotments, says community support for the project is very strong:“Land around Inverness is disappearing very fast as more housing is developed so there is a lot of feeling that this site should remain a green space for community use.

“When it went out to consultation the positive response to the plans was huge. We already have a list of 165 people, groups and organisations who are interested in taking on a plot and Highland Council have been very supportive of our proposals.”

If the Scottish Government agrees to the asset transfer then the next step will be to apply to the Scottish Land Fund to cover the cost of the purchase. And if it all goes to plan then Inverness should eventually have a new green space for growing food and getting closer to nature.