Live music will continue to sound from Inverness’s Ironworks after Highland councillors resoundingly refused an application for a 162-bed hotel on the site of the popular venue.
The decision came as a relief to the venue’s director Caroline Campbell as it announced more upcoming socially-distanced gigs.
However she said its long-term future was still uncertain.
She said: “Whilst we still don’t have long term certainty, it’s definitely business as usual for Ironworks.
“I am pleased to be able to continue to sustain significant employment in the region, safeguarding 65 jobs and a much wider spend in the local supply chain and economy.”
Developer Bricks Capital said it is discussing next steps, and might lodge an appeal.
A spokesman said: “We’re naturally extremely disappointed at the refusal of a major inward investment project.
“We are now discussing the next steps with our planning consultant and we will require time to study the council’s written report on its decision when it is received.
“We have the option of lodging an appeal with the Scottish Government or acting on the planning consent already available at the location, for seven-storey student accommodation.
“Full consideration will be given to our best way forward — but we remain committed to doing something in Inverness if at all possible.”
Why did councillors refuse the planning application?
Councillors followed planners’ advice in turning down a “monolithic” building whose three main blocks would tower over the city’s landscape.
The councillors agreed that while Inverness needs more hotel beds, the height and massing of Bricks’ Courtyard by Marriott development was unacceptable.
Local member Emma Roddick said the demolition of the Ironworks would have represented a backwards step in the development of Inverness.
She said: “The hotel proposed to replace it was too large, too high, and too blocky for the location. The city centre is already blighted by the decisions of planners past, but today’s refusal has stopped history repeating itself.
“Whilst the city might need more hotel space, that should only happen if it makes Inverness a better place to live as well as to visit.”
Losing the amenity of the Ironworks was not considered a planning consideration, but councillor Emma Roddick defended it as an important local amenity with benefits to local residents not met elsewhere.