Public views sought on transport in Sutherland

Highland Council is seeking views on the future provision of school, public and dial-a-bus transport services in Sutherland.

Views are being sought from those who use the area’s transport services; community councils; community and representative groups with interests in Sutherland; current and potential suppliers of transport services for Sutherland.

Specific questionnaires have been developed to gather the views of the key groups and are accessible online:

  • For the general public at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TransportProgrammePublic
  • For community and representative groups and community councils at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TransportProgrammeCommunity
  • For current and prospective suppliers at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TransportProgrammeSupplier

The public questionnaire is also available through Council Service Point and Library facilities in Sutherland. The closing date for all responses is Monday 30 March 2015.

Four public meetings will be held at:

  • Durness Village Hall, 1-3pm on 17 March;
  • Assynt Centre, Lochinver, 7-9pm on 17 March;
  • Bettyhill Village Hall, 1-3pm on 24 March;
  • Fountain Road Hall, Golspie, 7-9pm on 24 March.

Current and potential suppliers will also have the opportunity to attend a briefing event at Lairg Community Centre, 11am-1pm on 12 March followed by a ‘How to Tender’ workshop running 10am – 1pm on 23 April at the same venue. Potential suppliers wishing to register for either of these two sessions should contact:  procurement.unit1@highland.gov.uk  or phone 01463 785157.

The consultation is part of Highland Council’s examination of expenditure across its entire operation to balance its finances over the next four years.

Councillor Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Council’s Community Services Committee said: “The need to reduce spending will impact upon Highland Council's current level of expenditure on the transport services it supports. Across the Highland area the Council spends £15 million on providing school, public and dial-a-bus transport services. In Sutherland the figure is close to £1.7m which supports the majority of bus services which operate in the area. The target is to reduce this level of spending by 15%.

“While Highland Council will seek to continue to provide good quality transport services for Sutherland, the need to reduce spending means that there is a need to think about the transport priorities for the area and local public opinion on this is vital.”

Leader of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Councillor Deirdre Mackay said: “Sutherland is twice the size of Luxembourg, it is vast and transport is consistently a top priority for our communities. Getting easily from A to B can be the difference between getting to an important appointment, or not, or getting a job - or  not.  Transport links are therefore critical. I would therefore encourage people to take this opportunity to express their views and ideas. We need to find solutions which will work.”

10 Mar 2015
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