Local Authority News
The two day Highland education festival held at Dingwall Academy on Tuesday and Wednesday has been a resounding success with over 1800 teaching staff, learning support auxiliaries and classroom assistants from schools across the Highlands attending. Featuring the Curriculum for Excellence work taking place in Highland schools, both days brought teaching staff together for workshops and training sessions and to hear from keynote speakers to demonstrate the depth and variety of good practice in the Highlands.
Recent enforcement action in Caithness has seen seven fixed penalty fines issued by The Highland Council in a matter of weeks in a clampdown of dog walkers who do not clean up after their dogs. Dog Warden, Anne Macdonald, who also deals with stray dogs as part of her job, has been working on joint enforcement patrols in Caithness with Area Education and Enforcement Officer James Sanderson.
Residents, Community Councils and community representatives in the Caithness Wards of Wick, Thurso and Landward have the opportunity to say what they think the area should be like in the future at their Joint Ward Forum on Tuesday 8th September. In the run up to this meeting there will also be an opportunity for people to take part in two special information days as part of the Council's consultation on the new Highland-wide Local Development Plan.
Work on the refurbishment contract in the Thurso Pedestrian Precinct has now been completed apart from the laying of coloured bitumen over the tarmac area running through the centre of the precinct and a few other minor works. The project which cost just over £370,000 was financed by The Highland Council's T.E.C and Planning & Development Services was designed by the councils Wick based engineering team who consulted with the Community Council and members of the public before finalising their plans.
The Highland Council is joining in with the UK-wide campaign Foster Care Fortnight which starts today (Monday 11 April), to attract more local people into fostering. The fortnight is co-ordinated by fostering charity Fostering Network, to raise the awareness of fostering and highlight the shortage of foster carers across the whole of the UK.
The Highland Council has issued a clear warning to irresponsible dog owners that it will not tolerate owners allowing their dogs to foul public areas without clearing up after them. The Council this week announced that during a crackdown week in April, officers issued eleven fixed penalty notices to members of the public and warned that this was just the start of the clampdown with other enforcement weeks to follow.
For the second year running young Highland people are to benefit from the Duncraig Educational Trust Scheme which provides grants totalling around £25,000 each year. The Highland Council is the governing body of which makes available scholarship, grants and assistance for young Highland people who have particular or exceptional talents in specific identified areas.
The Highland Council has awarded a contract for construction of a new footbridge which forms an important pedestrian link over the River Thurso, at Thurso Cemetery. The new bridge will replace the structure which was destroyed by river flood flow, in the storms of October 2006, and will re-establish the river crossing which is part of a popular local walking route.
The Highland Council has put in place interim arrangements in five Highland communities to replace postbus services withdrawn by Royal Mail on Thursday. These arrangements will continue until the Council has met with local communities to identify sustainable long term arrangements.
Today (1 April 2009) responsibility for providing business advice has transferred from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to local authorities. Advice will be provided through the Business Gateway service which already operates in the rest of Scotland In The Highland Council area it will be managed by the Council's enterprise trust, Highland Opportunity and will be the first point of access for information and advice on all services to business and social enterprises in the Highlands.
A nationwide scheme which helps disabled people carry out essential home adaptations has been enhanced. Changes arising from the implementation of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 will trigger a simpler and fairer system of financial help.
Clubs, groups, organisations and societies in the Highlands can now register on The Highland Council's new free community information website www.high-societies.org that was launched on Monday 30th March 2009 at Dingwall Library. Developed by the Council's library service, High-Societies is designed to signpost members of the public to essential contact information for not-for-profit organisations and to their existing websites where appropriate.
The credit crunch may be biting but Highland Council has cash grants available to assist with home improvements. Home improvement and repairs grants are available to help people living in owner-occupied or privately rented housing to meet the costs of having their homes improved, repaired or adapted.
A report published by The Highland Council shows that a progressive fall in the number of housing completions in 2008 highlights the increasing impact of the current recession on the housing market. In 2008, 1,471 new houses were completed; a 19% decrease on the 2007 figure of 1,806 new homes.
The Highland Council is continuing its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of dog fouling and is reminding owners that they can face a fixed penalty for not picking up their dogs mess. Education and Enforcement Officer Peter Taylor said: "Dog fouling is both unsightly, unpleasant and a potential health hazard.
Temporary closure of Seater landfill site and the access road thereto due to essential repairs Last 3 weekends in march 2009 Please note that essential repairs will be carried out on the access road to the above facility during the last 3 weekends in March. The road will be closed from 2.00pm on the Friday afternoon and will re-open at 8.00am on the Monday morning during the following dates:- 13th March to 16th March 20th March to 23nd March 27th March to 30th March Householders can take their waste and recyclate to the recycling centres at Thurso and Wick which will be open from 11am to 4.00pm on all of these dates If you have any queries please contact 01955 641284..
Over 10 tonnes of waste has been diverted from landfill in the first week of the rural recycling collections in Caithness with 60% of residents putting out their bins for collection. Chairman of TEC Services, Councillor John Laing said: "I would like to thank the public for their high level of commitment to making the new service such a success.
The credit crunch may be biting but The Highland Council has cash grants available to assist with home improvements, adaptations and repairs. Home improvement and repair grants are available to help people living in owner-occupied or privately-rented housing to meet the costs of having their homes improved, repaired or adapted.
The Highland Council is to step up its campaign to persuade HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Government to reverse their decision to close the HMRC Office in Wick in 2012. The Wick office, which employs 23 staff, is scheduled to be closed as part of a national restructure which will see the closure of 20 sites across Scotland.
Kate Birch, The Highland Council's Children's Services Manager for Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey, has been chosen at the Council's Employee of the year. She received her prize at the Council's annual Quality Awards, held at the North Highland College, Thurso, on Monday night.