Ross and Cromarty Committee confirms local priorities

A list of draft local strategic priorities for Ross and Cromarty which reflect the geographical diversity of the area has been drawn up by members in order to ensure that local needs and issues are taken into account by the Council as a whole.

The priorities are listed under a number of headings that include transport and infrastructure, tourism, economic development, housing, education, community engagement and health and wellbeing.

At todays (Tuesday 25 October) Committee, members had the chance to discussed the list of proposed priorities and look at ways they can be taken forward.

Chair of the Committee, Councillor Margaret Paterson said: “Building on the localism agenda and the increased delegation of decision-making to local communities has given us the perfect opportunity as councillors to agree a list of priorities. Discussions on the draft priorities have been taking place at a Ward level and reflect some of the work already underway in the wards by local councillors so it was good today to come together as a committee and discuss the way forward. Having the list of priorities will allows us to focus our work and resources as they reflect the uniqueness and geographical diversity of our communities and the aspirations of those who live, work and holiday in our area.”

The Ross and Cromarty Committee priorities are:

Transport and Infrastructure

  • Developing and maintaining the road network, with a focus on strategic (non-trunk) routes and unclassified roads.
  • Work with partners, particularly Police Scotland, to improve Road safety o Prevention of flooding through ongoing maintenance.
  • Protection of local infrastructure and the environment through greater enforcement around planning, flooding and access rights
  • Supporting communities and business to have improved broadband access and connectivity
  • Seek improved connections to the national grid for rural communities across Ross and Cromarty
  • Lobby the Scottish Government to support a solution to the Stromeferry By-pass
  • Support the re-opening of Evanton Railway station
     

Economic development

  • Work with our partners to explore and support inward investment with a focus on town and village centre regeneration
  • Growing our Own - seek to develop employment and training opportunities potentially through new models within our communities, particularly around home care
  • Work with partners to promote the opportunities offered by the Kishorn Yard
  •  Promote the opportunities for sustainable economic development provided by the Wester Ross Biosphere
  •  Explore the opportunities to re-develop the Invergordon Tank Farm (VDLF)
     

Tourism

  • Working with our partners we will utilise the area’s natural resources to promote the area as a tourist destination
  • To further support the success of the North Coast 500, we will:
    • Promote Business Gateway as a way of supporting and developing local businesses
    •  Explore how best to develop facilities for campervans along this route

consider the need for additional signage and roads infrastructure to meet the increased demand

Explore how best to develop facilities for campervans along the North Coast 500 and other routes across Ross and Cromarty

Work with partners to promote the area and retain more cruise ship visitors
 

Housing

  • Explore greater provision of affordable housing and housing suitable for disabled people throughout the area.
  • Work with Council House tenants to achieve the improvement of Council House Estates

     Education
  • Seek solutions to reducing the attainment gap
  • Ensure education estate provision is fit for purpose for nursery, primary and secondary pupils across the Ross and Cromarty area
  • Promote positive mental well-being amongst young people including addressing the challenges of cyberbullying
     

Community Engagement

  • Ensure we have supported and enabled communities and volunteers
  • Support the development of effective Community Partnerships and work within these partnerships to enable and support communities in their aspirations

Health and Wellbeing

  • Work with partners, including the third sector, to improve access to local care for the elderly, including access to respite provision for both the elderly and individuals with learning difficulties
  • Work with our partners to improve access to local health care and hospitals including patient transport services
  • Promote and facilitate training for potential carers o Improving health and mental wellbeing through:
    • Improved access to leisure facilities
    • Promotion of the natural environment for leisure and recreation
    • Management of parks and grounds in order to improve the natural environment

The list of priorities will be reported back to the Council Leader and an update will be given on progress at the next Ross and Cromarty Committee.

Although the Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson was not able to attend the Committee, Depute Leader and Tain and Easter Ross Councillor, Alasdair Rhind spoke on her behalf to explain that the agreed priorities would be fed into the Highland First Programme.  

He said: “This is the biggest Council in the UK, in geographical size and members. We cover diverse and widespread communities, each with their own unique challenges and needs. The Council is committed to a localism agenda, which means we really want to hear want matters to local people so that we can target our efforts and design our services accordingly. 

“We have our Highland First Programme and each Area has now identified their local priorities, which is a good start in actually empowering people to work in partnership with the Council to make real improvements and reduce inequalities across the area. We have a short time available in the term of this Council, but I am convinced that we can make some real inroads.”

 

 

25 Oct 2016
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