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Work Starts On New Sutherland Office Complex (17/08/06)
Work begins on Monday (21 August) on a major project which will bring The Highland Council’s 110 administrative and professional staff from the five current locations across East Sutherland into the one building at Drummuie, just south of Golspie. The Council is refurbishing the former technical studies wing of Golspie High School – an impressive listed building which dates back to 1903 - over the next 62 weeks to provide the Council with a modern new office with 100 car parking spaces. The contract for the works has been awarded to Inverness-based Morrison Construction.
Part of the project involves the formation of a new access off the A9. Award of a 26-week contract is expected soon.
In addition to giving access to the new offices, the road will open up land to the north of the A9 for much-needed affordable housing in the Golspie area. The housing development is being supported by the Highland Council and the Highland Housing Alliance. The road will also provide initial access from the A9 trunk road to the Kilbruar windfarm.
Work on the new road is expected to start in mid-September and will see roadworks along an 800-metre stretch of the A 9, which will require traffic signal controlled movement and will lead to delays in travel.
Councillors visited the site earlier this week to check on progress. Council Convener Councillor Alison Magee said: “This is a major investment by the Council in Sutherland. By bringing the majority of our staff in East Sutherland into the one office, we can significantly improve our service to the public and at the same time be more efficient. We are also breathing new life into an important historic building in Sutherland and opening up vital land for housing development.”
Highland Councillor, Ian Ross, Golspie, said: “This is a spend to save project which will significantly increase our efficiency by bringing all our administrative and professional staff under the one roof. The access road will also open up land for much-needed affordable housing at Drummuie.”
The Council’s Sutherland County Committee has agreed that a site, extending to 4.36 hectares adjacent to the proposed new Council offices, be sold to the Highland Housing Alliance, who propose to develop 72 houses for affordable rent, low cost home ownership and open market sale.
Note: The building was built at the behest of Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland in 1903 for the education of crofters' sons in Caithness and Sutherland. It was funded by her husband, the Duke of Sutherland, as well as the Duke of Portland and Andrew Carnegie of Skibo Castle. During its years as the Sutherland Technical School, hundreds of pupils were trained in a wide variety of skills to fit them for careers across the Highlands and beyond.