​​​​​​​Strengthening town centres in Caithness and Sutherland

The Highland Council is asking communities and other stakeholders for their thoughts and opinion on a draft strategy to improve the town centres of Brora, Dornoch, Golspie, Thurso and Wick.

The draft Caithness and Sutherland Town Centre Strategy presents several potential actions for each of the town centres.  These actions have been identified based on the findings of the 2018 Town Centre Health Check undertaken by the Council.  The actions are aimed at making the town centres more attractive, active or accessible. This can benefit those who use the town centres – residents, workers or visitors – and strengthen the businesses and services based there.

Town Centre Health Checks are a means of assessing the strength, vitality and performance of town centres over time.  To make the information easier to access, a “Story Map” is available on the Council’s website which illustrates the circumstances and findings for each town centre.

Once approved in its final form, the Strategy will provide a more detailed framework of potential actions (an action programme) that will outline steps that may be taken by a range of individuals and bodies to improve their town centres and allow the Council to respond appropriately to any future planning applications.

Councillor Richard Gale, Chair of the Sutherland County Committee, said: “Town centres in Sutherland are at the heart of our communities and we must help to find ways to make the most of them.  I’m very pleased to see the Town Centre Strategy being prepared as it will set out a plan for addressing the issues which were found as part of last year’s town centre health checks.”

Councillor Matthew Reiss, Chair of the Caithness Committee, said: “With the challenges we are facing in Caithness we need to ensure that the town centres are thriving and attractive places.  The town centre health checks provided us with valuable data about the current situation in our main town centres and this strategy document now provides an excellent opportunity to set out what needs to happen to deliver the change that’s needed.  It’s also a timely piece of work, particularly given the momentum currently being generated by local people to transform Wick town centre.”

The Strategy should reflect several other plans and proposals being developed within the communities and the Council would welcome information on relevant actions and projects that could contribute to the Town Centre Strategy.

The consultation on the draft Strategy starts on Friday 14 June and runs until Friday 23 August 2019.  View and comment on the draft Strategy, online at consult.highland.gov.uk . Anyone without internet access can view the document online at Highland Council Public Libraries, Service Points and Access Points. A paper copy of the documentation is available to view in Mobile Libraries operating in the Caithness and Sutherland area and at the Highland Council Headquarters (Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX). This documentation is available for inspection free of charge and during normal opening hours. Anyone requiring a large print copy or have any questions, please email devplans@highland.gov.uk or phone 01349 886608.

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10 Jun 2019
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