Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC has warmly welcomed a decision by the Highland Council’s City of Inverness Area Committee to agree the transfer of the lease of the main stadium at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium and the North and South Stands from Tulloch Homes to the football club and also to permit access to the car parking areas for the foreseeable future.

The move has been agreed in principle by the Committee, as trustees of the Inverness Common Good Fund, and the transfer of the lease will now be finalised by legal representatives of the two parties.

From the football club’s stance, a successful outcome to these detailed negotiations places the club in a much better position to attract future investment. The asset will also boost the club’s balance sheet.

It also means the club would no longer require to pay an annual rental of £205,000 to Tulloch Homes and would see a write off of a rental debt to Tulloch Homes of more than £300,000.

Going forward, the club will pay £15,000 per year rent to the Council, as landlords, for the stadium and stands and £15,000 per year to Tulloch Homes, as holders of the lease, for the car parking areas.

The club had advised at the recent annual general meeting that further inward investment is required to ensure the immediate future of the club and to lay the foundation for a more sustainable financial model taking the club forward. Importantly for the club, the short-term sub-lease for the car parking areas will be in place until Tulloch Homes secure planning consent to develop the car park site but would be subject to a minimum period of three years.

Tulloch have also confirmed their intention that any future development on the car parking areas would recognise the need for Caley Thistle to use the Stadium and Stands 24/7 for football and related purposes and that all such development, will require to comply with Planning and Building Regulations, Safety, Police, Ambulance and Regulatory rules then in force and key to Caley Thistle maintaining the Stadium’s Safety Certificate. That way, Caley Thistle will have no future concern regarding its ability to access and operate from the Stadium and Stands Site.

Graham Rae, Chairman of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, said: “We are very pleased indeed that councillors have agreed in principle to the new lease arrangements. This is crucial to the future of the club. This recognises the hugely important role we play in our community.

“Once the legal documents are signed, we will have a stadium on our balance sheet and be in a stronger position to attract inward financial investment and pursue other income generating initiatives, such as auctioning the Stadium Naming Rights.”

He said the club were very grateful to Tulloch Homes for agreeing to the transfer of the lease, which they first announced in December of 2016.