The long-term future of a section of Harbour Quay in Wick was secured last week when The Highland Council sold the historic buildings to Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), ahead of plans to develop the disused buildings as part of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Base for the Beatrice offshore windfarm development. This landmark transaction welcomes significant investment and job creation within the Conservation Area of Lower Pulteneytown.
Prospective candidates at the forthcoming Highland Council elections on 4 May 2017 and their agents are being invited to attend one of a series of six awareness briefing sessions being held by the Returning Officer, Steve Barron, Chief Executive of The Highland Council. The sessions will take place in Inverness, Fort William, Portree, Dingwall, Golspie and Wick.
Proposals going before The Highland Council on Thursday propose a reduction of £220,000 from a total budget of £3.029 million. Budget Leader, Cllr Bill Fernie said: "In our original proposals were looking at a cut of £660,000 from the street cleaning budget, so the cut we are now proposing is significantly less by two thirds.
Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson is pleased that the authority's Countryside Ranger and Access Team will be retained in the council's budget proposals for 2017/18. The Council has listened to representations from members of the public and organisations about the authority’s Countryside Ranger Service and Access Team.
Week Commencing 6 February 2017. Enabling activities: The "Jobs and How to Get Them" event was held in Thurso last Saturday (see my online blog and https://www.facebook.com/caithnessjobs/ for event photos).
The Council's budget gap for 2017/18, the difference between required expenditure and income, is £20.344m. Budget proposals include increasing the rates of Council Tax by the maximum allowed 3%.
From 1 April 2017, all non-domestic properties will be revalued by the Assessor, with rateable values recalculated. This will impact on the level of Non-Domestic rates paid by businesses.
Highland Council has today confirmed that the planned decant and operational date for the new Wick Campus will be pushed back, with the facilities now to open following the Easter 2017 school holidays. Having assessed the building following handover by Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction, the Council has reached the conclusion that the level of snagging and other works still to be completed does not allow it to commence its February decant plan, as had previously been advised to stakeholders.
On 14th February 2017 the Caithness Archive Centre wil re-open in its new home at the Nucleus near Wick John O'Groats airport..
Budget Leader Cllr Bill Fernie welcomed the news that as a result of the budget deal agreed by Scottish Government, there will be a reduced cut to local authorities: "The deal effectively reduces our budget gap from £26 million to £20 million. This has meant that we have been able to reconsider some of the severe cuts to services and third sector groups which were necessary before.
Motorists are being advised that pay and display parking at Highland Council's headquarters car park comes into force on Monday 13 February 2017. The pay and display scheme is part of the Council's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement across the Highlands.
The Administration of The Highland Council is hoping to balance the council's budget with far fewer job losses and cuts to services than previously feared. Following considerable analysis of potential savings and consultation with staff and opposition groups, the Administration have developed a package of proposals to take to the Council meeting on 16 February for approval.
Highland Council continues to work with consulting engineers, Aecom, to find an affordable solution for the refurbishment of the Coghill Footbridge, Wick. New information on ground conditions, received in December 2016, has resulted in design changes and impacted significantly upon construction cost estimates, now in excess of the capital budget of £505,000 available to the project.
Scots accessing statutory debt solutions show little movement, according to Accountant in Bankruptcy figures Latest figures from Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) show the number of people accessing Scottish statutory debt solutions has remained steady in the third quarter of 2016-17. Figures for bankruptcies, protected trust deeds and debt payment programmes under the Scottish Government-backed Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) have stayed largely stable, showing a 1.9 per cent increase from the previous quarter to 3,145.
Draft strategy outlines ambitious vision for a modern, low carbon Scotland. A new target to deliver the equivalent of 50 per cent of the energy required for Scotland's heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030 was unveiled today, as part of a key consultation on Scotland’s first energy strategy.
Membership of new Trade Board confirmed. Scotland's international exports rose from £27.7 billion in 2014 to £28.7 billion in 2015.
How will the 2017 VED car tax changes affect you? From 1 April 2017, the UK's car tax system - also known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) - is due to change. Will you end up paying more for your next car? So if you are thinking about a new car it might be cheaper for VED if you buy before 1st April this year.
Week Commencing 16 January 2017. Energy & business services: Following last week's very welcome news that Highland Council has approved the application to redevelop harbour-side buildings in Wick as an Operations & Maintenance base for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project comes the first visualisation of what the restored buildings will look like - for picture see the BOWL Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/beatricewind .
Highland Council has updated Wick Campus stakeholders and confirmed that the Campus has now been handed over by Hub North Scotland to the Council. The building is not as yet operational, and there are a number of outstanding works to be completed.
From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government is changing the basis on which properties are assessed for Council Tax and this will increase the charge for Council Tax properties that are banded E to H. The Highland Council has no discretion in this matter and must apply these increases to the Council Tax charges from 1 April 2017.