Highland town centres given a welcome boost

Over £2.3 million pounds of investment is set to benefit town centres across the Highlands with 30 transformational projects about to get underway to stimulate economic investment and to help towns diversify and flourish.

The Town Centre capital grant fund from the Scottish Government is targeted to encourage town and city centres to diversify and flourish, giving new purpose and creating footfall.

To reflect the Council’s commitment to localism over the last few months Area Committees* have been actively engaging with communities and involved in helping to identifying and recommend ranked projects that fit in with the criteria. A Cross Party Working Group have then approved the successful projects.

They include:

Badenoch and Strathspey:
Caberfeidh Horizons – Conversion of vacant property into a community hub

Caithness :
Caithness Horizons – Refurbishment of Museum & Art Gallery

Isle of Skye and Raasay:
Bayfield Car Park – A partnership project between The Highland Council, Portree & Braes Community Trust and the Portree Tennis and Squash club to provide enhanced parking facilities and alleviate pressure on existing infrastructure.

Lochaber:
Caol Co-op car park public realm improvements – Caol Regeneration Company leading on the enhancement and improved access of this vitally important neighbourhood centre.

Nairnshire:
King Street, Nairn – Regeneration of vacant town centre property into a mixed use (Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau and affordable housing) development.

Ross and Cromarty:
King Street Car Park, Tain – Improvements to the main town centre car park.

Sutherland:

Dornoch Community Hub – Redevelopment of vacant former police station by Dornoch Area Community Interest Company.

*Following a motion put forward by Cllr Cockburn it was agreed that all of the Inverness projects will be presented to the next meeting of the City of Inverness Area Committee so members can consider the applications submitted and then put their ranked list to a meeting of the Town Centre Working Group for a decision to be made.

During the Committee meeting Members alo made the decision to include a project for North Kessock, Fortrose and Rosemarkie to acquire (via Community Asset Transfer) and enhance the Fortrose and Rosemarkie public toilets, and enhance the Kessock layby toilets and provide campervan servicing point and path improvements to the village centre.

Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: “The purpose of this Fund is to redress the decline of town centres, in particular by bringing empty buildings and unused floorspace back into productive use. I would like to thank communities for putting forward projects and to the Cross Party Working Group and Area Committees for helping take these forward. With less than 12 months to spend the money allocated to the Highlands there is a lot of work to achieve in a tight timescale but I look forward to seeing work get underway on all the projects that will help towards ensuring our town centres can thrive for many years to come.”

8 Nov 2019
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