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Caley Thistle CEO: ‘We are on the cusp of securing our long term financial stability’

By Scott Maclennan

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Caledonian Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner.
Caledonian Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle is pulling out the stops to put its case for a scheme that chief executive Scot Gardiner has just confirmed would secure the club's “long term financial stability.”

It is no secret that ICT has struggled with its finances in recent years but a bid for a battery storage scheme next to Fairways Business Park would ensure regular stable revenues for the Championship outfit.

But Highland Council’s planning department believes the move should be blocked over noise, loss of open space, drainage, and biodiversity impact – issues the ICT chairman Ross Morrison insists can be overcome.

The club is now pushing hard to outline the reasons why it is pursuing the scheme before the decision on the planning application is made by councillors on the south planning committee on Wednesday.

Mr Gardiner believes that not only will the club enjoy financial stability but the work of the ICT trust will be able to continue while others will benefit too – including a near neighbour of the battery storage scheme.

He said: “Many fans will have read the story running in today’s Inverness Courier re: the ICT battery farm planning application and the subsequent negative recommendation from the Highland Council Planning Department.

“Some of our fans will also have heard our chairman Ross Morrison talk about the battery farm application at the ICT Supporters Trust open meeting and how vitally important it is to us as a club going forward and how enormously positive a contribution it would make to Inverness and the Highlands in general as we are as a nation, crying out for such developments.”

Mr Gardiner pointed out that the club’s partnership with main sponsor Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) – the company behind the Red John scheme on Loch Ness – is bearing fruit, but the council needs to take a look at its priorities.

He said: “Thanks to our partnership with Intelligent Land Investments who specialise in such things, we are on the cusp of securing our long term financial stability and making a huge contribution to our Highland community with one of the most significant recent Highland contributors towards achieving Highland Council, Scottish Government and UK net zero targets with over 20,000 tonnes of CO, the equivalent of planting one million trees.”

And one of the beneficiaries if the battery farm was approved would be Queen’s Award winning Inverness Kartway Raceway (IKR), which is situated next to the planned site.

“Further to the above and during this last two and a half year planning process,” Mr Gardiner said. “We also identified that the fantastic Inverness Kartway Raceway (IKR), a Queen’s Award winner and one of the finest examples of proactive community charities in our region, was working hard towards meeting the challenge of replacing their existing fleet of Karts with electric ones.

“This would help their CEO Corrin Henderson and his team future proof the charity and continue to provide huge benefit to vulnerable youngsters in our area and reduce the noise from the Kartway centre, and the club was delighted to confirm that on receiving planning approval for our plan, a £25,000 payment would be made to IKR from ICTFC.”

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