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Multi-track approach to Nigg yard revival (22/09/10)
The Highland Council has confirmed its multi-track and flexible approach to reviving the former oil yard at Nigg, Easter Ross.
Members of the Planning Environment and Development Committee were told today (Wedneday) of private interest in purchasing the site from KBR and the Wakelyn Trust and they will be delighted if the site is sold on the open market and redeveloped along the lines of its masterplan.
However, they want a contingency plan to be put in place if a sale on the open market does not materialise and are to proceed with a number of initiatives to ensure a positive future for Nigg.
The Council is to engage specialist solicitors to commence the work required for a “back to back” agreement – the first stage of a compulsory purchase order for the site.
This would see the Council advertising for a partner to fund the compulsory acquisition of the land concerned. This preferred bidder would underwrite all costs incurred by the Council in promoting the CPO, whether it is successful or not. The estimated cost of promoting the order is £50 - £70K.
A project board of senior Council officers is to take forward the CPO process and report regularly to the PED Committee.
The Council is to write to KBR and the Wakelyn Trust to highlight the urgency for progress on the sale of the site and also to the UK and Scottish Governments urging them to bring the Nigg yard into public ownership if none of the bids submitted to KBR and Wakelyn Trust are accepted.
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of the PED Committee, said: “It is important to keep all our options open in the drive to revive the Nigg yard and create much needed jobs in the Highlands. Ideally, we would like to see the yard sold on the open market.
“We have had so many disappointments on this front and this is why we need to be flexible and have a number of strings to our bow. If a sale on the open market cannot be concluded within a reasonable timescale, it would be desirable if the UK or Scottish Government purchased the site and brought it into public ownership. Pursuing a compulsory purchase order is the least attractive option but it is an important lever in securing our aims.”