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Battery Project - Chairman's Statement


DoofersDad

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Another planning application affecting the club https://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage. The club have been using the gym and pool for many many years but the owners of the retail park hope the Council agree to a 'Change of use of health and fitness centre to ten-pin bowling centre and indoor inflatable activity course with associated bar and dining facilities and amusements.'

It is certainly a challenge to maintain viable sporting facilities. We can but hope that the councillors who celebrated ICT FC winning the Scottish Cup look favourably on the Battery Project as if affects the Club and hopefully its gym and swim facility.

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50 minutes ago, robbo1985 said:

Sounds like it's absolutely crucial for the long-term future of the club in current form..... 

it is. The Chairman didn’t say that in as many words at the meeting on Saturday but it was clear that the project would secure the club’s future whilst without it, as Doofers Dad has said, we will at best be in our current position struggling to maintain financial sustainability.

The Chairman said it would be helpful if anyone felt able to lobby Councillors on the Planning Committee.

I don’t claim to understand the “ins and outs” of the project and how the club would stand to benefit to the tune of a seven figure sum, but it is potentially a key moment in the club’s history. 

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I find it quite hard to understand the council’s refusal, their arguments against the proposal seem very weak. In this day and age with authorities all over the country striving to reach net zero targets the battery farm seemed like a no-brainer to me. Notwithstanding the financial benefits the club would appear to gain from it, I would have thought the benefits to the community would have the council championing it. Like Robert though I have no knowledge of the ins and outs or the full implications of the proposal, just seemed like a good idea to me. 

Not a new experience alas, I’ve seen so many brainless decisions from planning committees and councils that I really should no longer be surprised.
 

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The trouble is, whilst the world and governments need progress towards net zero, council planning department have no responsibility for such matters and are instead just required to apply their council planning rules. So if something takes up 2 acres of previously open space they will not look on it favourably, regardless of the benefits to ICT or the world as a whole.

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Maybe if we stopped with the "We're entitled to...XYZ, just because we're a football club" attitude, it might help.

Comments made elsewhere suggesting that consultant reports in support of the application were done on the cheap, and by the Chairman's own admission, we couldn't even get all the paperwork in on time.

Add in the number of local businesses who lost large sums of money from the concert fiasco, and we've not exactly been making a lot of friends the last few years.

The Trust is a separate entity.  Remember when our CEO and Chairman went to great lengths to point out the importance of that with the concert company?  How positions on these things can change to try and work a situation in your favour!

It's also comical that the club consider themselves to be so hugely focused on the community, when they can't even manage simple fan engagement.

Just another embarrassing episode in the Morrison/Gardiner tenure, regardless of whether planning is given or not.

 

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Twitter post

Many fans will have read the story running in today’s Inverness Courier re the ICT battery farm planning application and the subsequent negative recommendation from the Highland Council Planning Dept.
 
Some of our fans will also have heard our chairman Ross Morrison talk about the battery farm application at the ICT Supporters Trust open meeting and how vitally important it is to us as a club going forward and how enormously positive a contribution it would make to Inverness and the Highlands in general as we are as a nation, crying out for such developments.
 
Thanks to our partnership with Intelligent Land Investments who specialise in such things, we are on the cusp of securing our long term financial stability and making a huge contribution to our Highland community with one of the most significant recent Highland contributors towards achieving Highland Council, Scottish Govt and UK net zero targets with over 20,000 tonnes of CO, the equivalent of planting 1 million trees.
 
Further to the above and during this last two hand a half year planning process, we also identified that the fantastic Inverness Kartway Raceway, a Queen’s Award winner and one of the finest examples of pro-active community charities in our region, was working hard towards meeting the challenge of replacing their existing fleet of Karts with electric ones. This would help their CEO Corrin Henderson and his team future proof the charity and continue to provide huge benefit to vulnerable youngsters in our area and reduce the noise from the Kartway centre, and the club was delighted to confirm that on receiving planning approval for our plan, a £25,000 payment would be made to IKR from ICTFC.
 
The full video of the Chairman's statement which he makes in advance of next Wednesday's planning committee meeting can be viewed now
 
 
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Hopefully this goes ahead, but even if it gets turned down, surely there's a fallback with an appeal via the Scottish Government who are the tip of the spear in chasing carbon neutrality. Highland Council are known charlatans (something something daft wall in the river), and the only thing of late I can think of that they've actually done good is working on connecting the towns and villages around the Firth with a new cycle path...and thats at a stretch.

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Unfortunately this is a case of two individuals fighting both for the club and their own positions - including the financial perspective - but perhaps in a no lose position. Lose out and the option to leave and apportion the blame - win and be heralded as saviours. Personally I would bite the bullet and go for the latter. All is fair in love and business 🤔

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I understand why many have issues with Gardiner and Morrison, and I respect those views. I have heard many comments about Gardiner in particular but I don’t know either personally.

I also don’t understand how we stand to gain financially from the Battery Farm proposal. The Chairman mentioned an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) at the meeting on Saturday which the club is clearly involved in along with the main sponsors.

I hope the Planning Application is approved, if not on Wednesday then subsequently either through an appeal process or by amending the plan to overcome the concerns raised by the Council Officials.

The club have clearly been working hard on this behind the scenes to cement its future, and it could yet be the moment we all look back on as being the making of the club. Equally it could also be another nail in our coffin.

Big times off the field but hopefully it doesn’t cause any distractions to the players.

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Our Council has a pretty poor record of botching important planning decisions, and has come away bloodied from government appeals on a couple of occasions. 

Not sure why or how they have come to this position, whilst also preparing to recommend approval of another 400 'homes' in the already replete Milton of Leys area...

Oh yeah, developers dollars.💰

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I see our CEO has been quoted in the "Courier" as referring to the development as a "Battery Farm".  I trust he is aware it is for a Battery Energy Storage Facility and not a Battery Farm with Big Sheds full of hens.  That really would be putting all our eggs in one basket.

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3 hours ago, Robert said:

I understand why many have issues with Gardiner and Morrison, and I respect those views. I have heard many comments about Gardiner in particular but I don’t know either personally.

I also don’t understand how we stand to gain financially from the Battery Farm proposal. The Chairman mentioned an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) at the meeting on Saturday which the club is clearly involved in along with the main sponsors.

I hope the Planning Application is approved, if not on Wednesday then subsequently either through an appeal process or by amending the plan to overcome the concerns raised by the Council Officials.

The club have clearly been working hard on this behind the scenes to cement its future, and it could yet be the moment we all look back on as being the making of the club. Equally it could also be another nail in our coffin.

Big times off the field but hopefully it doesn’t cause any distractions to the players.

What involvement in the planning application have the club had? Everything has been done in the name of ILI. Have we chucked them some cash to get this off the ground and are now desperate for it to be approved so we (somehow) benefit financially? It's incredibly odd for a party with seemingly no direct involved in a planning application come out and lambast the local authority for their recommendation. This SPV sounds like another "at arms length" company using club finances possibly in a similar manner to the concert company which obviously went well. I'm all for diversification of revenue streams but it seems that we chasing overly ambitious schemes at times and don't employ the necessary expertise to deliver them.

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Sounds like ILI are using/renting the club name in return for being able to tap into the "this is great for the community" and "it'll save the club" angle.

One of the club directors owns the land so maybe it, or a cut of the income from it, has been promised to us.  As with everything, fans are last to know.

So far we've been told the concerts would secure the future of the club, and that didn't happen.  Then it was some magic to do with being in the Green Free Port that was going to be a game changer, and the Chairman has admitted there's nothing for is in that.  Now it's our involvement with the battery storage, which appears to have been poorly handled and looking less likely to bare any financial benefit.

But, it's never the clubs fault and always someone else to blame.

Constantly whoring the club name out like this is embarrassing.  Even if successful, there seems to be a fair bit of opposition to it from the residents and businesses in that area (aside from the ones who've been offered payment if planning goes through... that's called a bribe in most places) and reputational damage will be done, again.

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We are being told that if this development goes ahead, it will secure the long term financial stability of the club.  Frankly, I haven't a clue how this will generate the amount of money which would achieve that. I get that the land is owned by one of the Directors of the Club (or one of his companies), but can anyone explain how much money this is projected to generate for the club and what exactly it is for?  There must be more to it than a bit of rent for site.

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Quote

In addition, the applicant’s Site Selection Statement advises that the key rights and agreements for the proposal are held in the name of ICT Battery Storage Limited, which is wholly owned by Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club. As such, all of the land rights, the grid connection agreements, and the planning permission (if granted), which are all held in the name of ICT Battery Storage Limited, are wholly owned by the football club. The statement goes on to advise that profits from the facility will support the Football Club and the community football outreach programmes of The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Community Development Trust, which promotes physical and mental wellbeing in the community. While there is a lack of detail on the extent of this benefit, the proposal could be said to contribute to improving community resilience and increasing spending within communities in compliance with NPF4 Policy 11 and Policy 25 in relation to Community Wealth Building. Should planning permission be granted it would be possible, given Policy 11’s stance of maximising socioeconomic benefit, for the detail of that benefit to be secured by planning condition.

 

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Thanks RiG.  Having looked up ICT Battery Storage Ltd at Companies House, I see the Directors of the company are Ross Morrison and David Cameron.  It is a company limited by share holding.  There is just 1 share allocated which is owned by the football club.  But this doesn't explain where the money is coming from.  It will not be  the club that is paying for all the capital cost of the development.  Presumably that is where ILI come in and they clearly will need a return on their investment.  

 

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David Cameron owns Fairways so presumably the land this is planned to be on. He’s also reported to be assisting the club financially in his role as Director of the club.

Is he effectively passing the benefit of the project to the club through the SPV?

Still more questions than answers for me but, as I’ve said above, it could be the salvation of the club. 

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2 hours ago, RiG said:

What involvement in the planning application have the club had? Everything has been done in the name of ILI. Have we chucked them some cash to get this off the ground and are now desperate for it to be approved so we (somehow) benefit financially? It's incredibly odd for a party with seemingly no direct involved in a planning application come out and lambast the local authority for their recommendation. This SPV sounds like another "at arms length" company using club finances possibly in a similar manner to the concert company which obviously went well. I'm all for diversification of revenue streams but it seems that we chasing overly ambitious schemes at times and don't employ the necessary expertise to deliver them.

According to he chairman at the fans meeting, they have agreed for the car parks at the stadium to be used by ILI for the red john project.  But instead of the club getting the money for the rental of the car parks ILI are doing the planning application for the club for this battery farm.  well that was my understanding.

At the meeting he said that the club owned the land, but when challenged that it was in fact David Cameron and David Sutherland that owned the land, he then sad that there was a lease in place.  Not quite sure how that then equates to the club getting a seven figure sum should planning go through.  Do they then get a rental figure from the company who would run the battery farm, who knows!!!!!

Then there is the planning itself, which was always going to be difficult to get through as its on land that was designated as an area where no development could take place.  The battery storage facility is also very close to a built up area.  The chairman had said that was not an issue as ILI had got lots of these planning permissions through but, these permissions were a lot further away.  In one objection it was quoted that the battery farm would only be 30m away where battery farms that had got planning granted  were over 250m away!

I really hope this is not yet another pipe dream by the club of making big money away from the football.  But after the concert fiasco followed by the freeport lie, my trust in the board of directors and the CEO is not very high.

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