PERMISSION has been given to a “major” housing development which is expected to provide affordable housing to workers at one of Scotland’s new green freeports.

The Inverness and Cromarty Firth greenport – which was announced along with the Firth of Forth in January 2023 – is expected to create thousands of jobs in the area and the new housing will prove essential, developers Capstone Construction said.

However, there are concerns around how tax and workers’ rights will be enforced in these greenports, with STUC general secretary Roz Foyer warning that “more than a year on from the announcement, we are still no clearer on what these freeports will mean”.

The new housing development has been approved on the north edge of Invergordon, where a tax and customs site will also be based.

READ MORE: What are green freeports? Everything you need to know about the schemes

Inverness-based Capstone Construction will develop 66 new homes, which are set to be a “combination of affordable housing and private dwellings as well as associated infrastructure and outdoor recreation areas”.

Rhona Donnelly, the managing director of Capstone Construction, welcomed the approval for what the firm called "the first major local scheme to receive planning permission since the green freeport award".

She said: “Capstone Construction is delighted to have been granted approval at The Highland Council North Area Planning committee on Tuesday April 16 for the first housing development since the official award of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth green freeport announcement.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Invergordon and the Highlands.

“Capstone is not only looking forward to delivering a housing development which Invergordon can be proud of but also working with the planning department and the local community together with their representatives to safeguard the ancient woodland at Rosskeen for future generations.”

READ MORE: Five key points from The National's series on Scotland's green freeports

Calum MacPherson, the chief executive of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth green freeport, added: “The granting of permission to this much needed mix of affordable and private housing is an extremely positive statement from the Highland Council and is further testament to their commitment to growing the Highland economy and maximising the once in a generation opportunities that the Green Freeport will bring.

“Not only will the new development in Invergordon mark a significant step in providing housing for skilled workers moving to the area – importantly, it will also provide affordable housing for those that wish to stay and work in the region."

Capstone Construction said it will work towards the long-term protection of ancient woodland areas to the north east and south of the development, with a view to passing it into community ownership.