A rugby club has taken aim at Highland Council after it was left in limbo by delays to the construction of a new all-weather pitch in Inverness.
Inverness Craig Dunain RFC has been without a permanent home for decades since losing its pitch because of a new housing development built in 2001.
It has leaned on local rivals Highland, Moray and Ross Sutherland to make do since then.
The club was pinning its hope on a fresh start with the addition of a new all-weather pitch at Inverness Campus.
But as the Press and Journal revealed last week, that project is now paused because of doubts over its funding.
‘Anger and frustration’
A statement from the club said: “While we fully appreciate that there are funding issues affecting many developments across many sectors in this difficult financial climate, we need to be very clear about the anger and frustration we feel.
“The growth of the city and the shrinkage of sporting facilities is failing the residents of the region who require choice, whether that be for rugby or for any other sports and recreational activity.
“In a time when we all recognise the importance and need for exercise as a key contributor to our health and wellbeing, it is an absolute scandal.”
The £1.3m project has been in the pipeline since 2021.
It was approved by the council’s own planners last May.
But it hasn’t progressed since then and it has now emerged that the project is paused.
Offers have been received from contractors to complete the work.
But according to the council, they are “significantly above the available budget”.
Council says it will discuss solutions with rugby club
The latest situation has been made worse by inflation and the cost of living crisis.
Rising construction and labour costs have put a question mark over numerous infrastructure projects across the country.
But while the rugby club accepts this, they are frustrated that so little progress has been made over a period of years.
Its statement added: “We never asked for a Rolls Royce solution in the form of an all-weather pitch.
“Is the provision of one grass pitch and changing rooms too much to ask for?”
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “We are discussing potential solutions with the club, and these will continue.”
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