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Caley Thistle chairman brands battery farm refusal as mystifying

By Andrew Dixon

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Ross Morrison.
Ross Morrison.

Caley Thistle's chairman Ross Morrison has branded Highland Council's decision to refuse the football club's plans for a battery farm as mystifying.

Highland councillors yesterday voted 30-23 to reject the proposal for a site near Fairways business park.

The club hoped the project – a battery energy storage system (BESS) worth £3.4 million – would secure its financial future after it was granted planning permission last month.

The project and land are owned completely by Caley Thistle which is the sole shareholder in ICT Battery Storage Ltd. But the application was made in the name of Intelligent Land Investments (ILI), a close associate of the club as their main shirt sponsor.

But permission was then withdrawn after an almost unheard of move by chairman and vice chairman of the council’s south planning committee – councillors Thomas MacLennan and Paul Oldham – submitted a notice to have it reviewed at a full council meeting.

Council officials had previously recommended refusal due to loss of greenspace.

Mr Morrison said: “The club notes with bewilderment and disappointment, yesterday’s refusal of the ICT battery farm planning application.

“Without going into everything that happened, it was an especially mystifying decision given that no new evidence was provided which was worthy of overturning the previous progressive and lawful vote in February to grant us planning. We can however confirm that we are appealing the decision to the Scottish Government.

“While this bizarre decision to overturn our previous successful planning application was a setback to our robust and long-term business plan, we will consolidate and pull together as a board and a club as we have done many times in our history both on and off the field.

“We want to thank the hundreds of Caley Thistle fans and the businesses and organisations who have been entirely supportive in our quest to improve the club’s financial model and the city’s energy security.

“On behalf of the board, and as we move into our historic 30th year and a crucial end of season period, we need to show that by sticking together and sticking to our values, by backing [manager] Duncan [Ferguson] and the team, nothing can stop us getting to where we want to be this season and in our next 30 years.”

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