Caley Thistle: Blow as land around stadium removed from lucrative green freeport zone

Caley Thistle will not be part of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, it has emerged. The project is predicted to bring major economic opportunities to the area. Around 11,300 new jobs and investment of more than GBP3 billion is forecast from the special tax status of the freeport.

Land around Caledonian Stadium was included in early discussions on the designated area. But it does not feature in the newly-confirmed boundaries for the freeport.

Which areas are no longer part of the freeport?

A report to Highland Council's economy and infrastructure committee next week gives an update on the full business case for the freeport. The Green Freeport offers businesses looking to locate here a package of tax and customs incentives.

The 1,285-acre final tax site boundaries include previously-confirmed Highland Deephaven in Ross-shire and the Port of Ardersier.[1] But it removes land around the stadium. Other areas no longer in the zone include land owned by Whyte and Mackay in Invergordon and the Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre at Inverness Campus.

The freeport boundary shows the stadium is not included

The report says: "These changes were largely in response to government feedback which questioned the alignment of the sites with the overall objectives of ICFGF."

Calum MacPherson is chief executive of the freeport. He said the possibility of land surrounding Caledonian Stadium being included in the tax site was discussed early in the process. "However, as tax site status comes with conditions and restrictions, it was mutually agreed not to include this land to ensure flexibility in the future."

Mutual decision

Caley Thistle have acknowledged the move and said it was a mutual decision once more information came to light.

In a message to supporters in June last year, Scot Gardiner, who is resigning as the club's chief execuive,[2] said it was looking for new directors to advance the business "especially as we have been designated within the tax zone of the new green freeport. "This is a designation which will no doubt be hugely impactful and positive for the club for years to come". Caley Thistle is facing major financial problems following its relegation to League 1.

It is looking at future options should it fail to attract new investment.[3]

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport chief executive Calum MacPherson

This week it was also revealed it had lost a seven-figure deal[4] with Norwegian renewables giant Statkraft.

The club has faced fans' protests and was strongly criticised for a proposal to transfer training operations to Fife.


  1. ^ Port of Ardersier. (
  2. ^ who is resigning as the club's chief execuive, (
  3. ^ looking at future options should it fail to attract new investment. (
  4. ^ lost a seven-figure deal (