Anglers in Inverness have withdrawn their bid for the construction of a replacement hut for the banks of the Ness.
Inverness Angling Club (IAC) has hit the snag after two years of negotiations over the relocation of their hut, which was to be adjacent to the controversial art scheme by the Little Isle Pool of River Ness.
The relocation was to weigh in at a total cost of £33,000 – with £20,000 pledged from the Town Centre Fund and a £10,000 grant from the Inverness Common Good Fund.
Club president Alex Elliot has notified David Haas of Highland Council of the club’s withdrawal in a letter.
He said: “This topic has been discussed with Highland Council and other parties for over two years. However, the committee of IAC has become increasingly frustrated by what they see as unrealistic building costs and a failure on the part of the planner to understand our needs.”
IAC outlined at the beginning of the project that it wished to extend its existing hut by around three feet, a request rejected by planners.
IAC had then been approached and asked for their requirements under the project, seeking a structure which was “vandal-proof” after previous structures were burnt to the ground.
Mr Elliot added: “Despite the efforts of all involved in this project, for which we as a club are grateful, we are continually being pointed towards a wooden construction or something clad in wood, neither of which will stand the test of time.
“Additionally, the price quoted for the construction of such a shed appears excessive.
“It is with regret, therefore, that IAC no longer wish to progress with this project.
“We appreciate that this will come as a disappointment to all who have supported this project, but the time has come to draw a line under it and move on.”
Highland Council has said it is “with sadness” they have learnt of the club’s decision.
A spokeswoman said: “The Gathering Place (My Ness) aims to link people with the river and the project team has worked with the Ness Angling Club to ensure that My Ness acts to enhance the amenity of the riverside, particularly at the fishermen’s car park.
“The club’s own project to replace the fishing hut was supported by councillors and so it is with sadness that the council has learned of the decision of the club not to progress their project.”
She added that council officials “look forward” to continuing work with the club, which Highland Council claims will “enhance access to angling on the river and especially in support of the progress the club has made in encouraging young people to take up angling”.
Evelyn Grant of the art project opposition group Open Ness said she was “not surprised” at the anglers’ decision.