Developers trying to build 300 homes and a championship golf course near Nairn have had their plans for a new junction dismissed.
It is the latest twist in the proposals tabled by Cawdor Maintenance Trust which have been on the table now for almost a decade.
The developer has outline planning permission for the development – but has been seeking to amend the proposal to build a new roundabout to give access to the site off the A96 Inverness to Nairn road.
However, the application was refused by Highland Council and an appeal has now been dismissed by a Scottish Government reporter.
The project’s planning agent Alan Farningham, of Farningham Planning Ltd, last night said: “We’re obviously disappointed with the decision and we’re in the process of taking legal advice on what our next step is.”
Mr Farningham has previously said if the condition stipulating the roundabout isn’t removed “it doesn’t mean that the development will not go ahead”.
The trust want to replace the proposed roundabout with a “ghost island” junction with a central right turn lane.
However, reporter Padraic Thornton decided that the roundabout was “necessary” on safety grounds.
He ruled that the alternative proposal would “endanger public safety due to traffic hazard”.
The development is planned for land north of the A96 at Delnies between the junction for Whiteness and the start of Nairn’s common good land at Sandown.
The masterplan features an 18-hole championship golf course, a luxury hotel, a tourism and heritage centre and equestrian centre, as well as 300 houses.
More than 500 pre and post-construction jobs could be created.
A spokesman for the Cawdor Maintenance Trust last summer said that they were aiming to start work by the end of this year or early 2018.
It is unknown what impact the appeal decision will have on this timescale.
The trust owns the land on which the development could be built.
It is primarily responsible for generating funds for the upkeep of nearby Cawdor Castle.