Painted paw prints too costly to remove

Paw prints trail in Inverness city centre
Paw prints trail in Inverness city centre

A trail of painted paw prints in Inverness city centre is to remain in place after it was estimated it could cost up to £12,000 to remove them.

Highland Council had the markings put down last autumn at a cost of more than £800 to encourage people to visit the city's Victorian Market - and to also indicate it was dog-friendly venue.

The local authority has carried out a review of the initiative and asked councillors if the paw prints should stay or go.

They have opted to leave them in place for now, after a warning that removal could potentially damage paving and escalate the clean-up costs.

One reason for the trail was to show that the market was dog-friendly

The trail goes from Lombard Street through Drummond Street to the Union Street entrance of the historic - and recently revamped - Victorian Market.

Earlier this week, Highland Council's Inverness city area committee heard concerns from some businesses that there was a lack of consultation on the installation of the trail.

Paw prints
The prints were installed last autumn

In a report to the meeting, council officials recommended leaving the prints in place for the time being.

They said the trail had been installed as a positive initiative to support city traders and it had been noted there had been increased visits to the market.

The officials said removal carried significant risk because there was no guarantee paving slabs would not be damaged, and the repair costs could be as much as £12,000.

Overlaying the prints with a different colour paint or another font also came with risks.

Officials said this could raise the height of the paw prints and create a trip hazard.

Highland Council said there would be a further review of the trail later in the year.

A spokeswoman added that it would be working with Inverness Business Improvement District around consultation with city centre businesses.

Butcher's dog

The market, which first opened in 1870, has a dog's tale attached to it.

In 1889 the gas-lit building was gutted by a fire. All that was left standing was a stone-built entrance way.

There was a single casualty in the blaze - a butcher's dog.

It had been left in the market over the weekend to guard its owner's shop and died in the fire.

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