Plans to build a new retail park in Inverness could be back on the table after a developer challenged the council’s decision to reject the scheme.
Initial proposals were lodged in 2013 to create 50,000sq ft of shops at Dell of Inshes between the existing Tesco and the A9.
But in February local authority planning officials took the unusual step of throwing out the application without referring it to councillors for a decision.
It has now emerged that the developer behind the plans has appealed to Scottish ministers to overturn the ruling.
The plans involved creating one large shop and eight smaller units, along with a family pub and restaurant, and allotments, on land to the east of the Inshes retail park.
The application had been submitted by Edinburgh-based developers Corran Properties on behalf of landowners the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Property Trust.
Twenty objections were raised against the plans, as well as a 20-page petition of signatures raised against the idea by local resident Murdo Gordon, who said the scheme would generate thousands of extra car journeys in the area.
Officials refused the application earlier this year on the grounds that it would contravene the local development plan and design brief for the Inshes area, and that it would fail to provide adequate road improvements and lead to “unacceptable” congestion.
In her report setting out the reasons for refusal, planning officer Nicola Drummond said that significant changes to the Culloden Road bridge over the A9 would need to carried out before any work could go ahead.
Last year, Corran Properties was granted permission to revamp the existing Inshes Retail Park, with a drive-through restaurant and two large new shops.
Inverness South councillor Ken Gowans said: “It’s disappointing that they want to challenge the decision of the council at this point.
“The decision was made in what I believe were the best interests of the community.
“It’s an area that is under continual development, not least the transport infrastructure, with the changes to Inshes roundabout and the A96 roundabout.
“I think there were very strong grounds to refuse, but of course they are well within their right to appeal.”