The first music venue in Scotland to stage a live concert since the coronavirus lockdown has won a stay of execution.
The Ironworks in Inverness, which hosted folk-rock band Torridon last month, could be closed to make way for a hotel.
But councillors rejected a would-be developer’s design for a six-storey building to take its place.
One member of Highland Council’s south planning committee, Andrew Baxter, described the design as “Stalin-esque”.
Planning officials had recommended refusal due to “a significant adverse impact on the character and appearance of the Inverness riverside conservation area and three adjacent listed buildings”.
The applicants’ vision is for a 162-bedroom hotel, featuring a ground floor gym at the site on the city’s Academy Street.
Prior to the pandemic, demand for hotel accommodation in Inverness had soared in recent years.
The Ironworks’ operators, who lease the building, said the decision would safeguard 65 jobs and future concerts, for now.
Venue director Caroline Campbell said: “The decision allows us to move forward in delivering live music to the Highlands from our Academy Street base.
“Whilst we still don’t have long term certainty, it’s definitely business as usual.
“I’m pleased to be able to continue to sustain significant employment in the region, safeguarding 65 jobs and a much wider spend in the local supply chain and economy.
“As Scotland’s first live music venue to deliver events for 100 under new ‘tier one’ guidelines, we’re also excited to be announcing more upcoming socially distanced gigs.
“Our diary is firmly open and we look forward to welcoming top talent to the Highlands, including our two rescheduled nights with Peat and Diesel next November.”