Fort William Action Plan

An action plan which aims to transform the image and appeal of Fort William
is to promoted by four key agencies. The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, British Waterways and the Crown Estate are to commission consultants to prepare an urban design strategy to  achieve a comprehensive enhancement of the waterfront at Fort William and maximise development opportunities in the town centre

A brief will be drawn up by a working group of agency representatives, who will then seek consultants or consultant teams with proven experience in urban design, economic and marketing, engineering and environmental expertise. The target date for the approval of the strategy and action plan is March of next year.

A report considered by The Highland Council’s Planning Environment and Development Committee highlighted the enormous potential to better connect the pedestrian-friendly High Street in Fort William with the waterfront, one of the town’s prime assets as well as to enhance gateway/arrival points.

There was scope for property and townscape enhancement and the prospects for major economic regeneration presented by a waterfront project – a 7 hectare mixed-use redevelopment/reclamation scheme, currently at design stage but expected to progress over the next five years with the potential to transform the waterfront from the Diving Pier and the High Street.

The report states:  “The potential to use the waterfront by developing a marina remains unfulfilled. Major revitalisation of the entire waterfront at the core of the town would uplift the image of Fort William, promote the Outdoor Capital of the UK and continue to drive forward economic regeneration.”

Committee Chairman Councillor Drew Hendry welcomed the progress on the Fort William action plan.

He said: “As the Highland’s second biggest settlement and a major tourist centre, Fort William is key to our economy.  I’m really looking forward to working with the working group and our partners to achieve an action plan that sets out an exciting and sustainable future for the town centre and the waterfront.”

28 May 2008