The pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan is nominated for prestigious planning industry award. The Plan was developed by a working group consisting of Marine Scotland, Highland Council and Orkney Islands Council who are a finalist in the category for Excellence in Plan Making Practice at the Royal Town Planning Institute's (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence (external link) 2017.
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.
The Highland Council has agreed a budget for 2017-18, which includes a council tax increase of 3%. A package of £10.689m savings were agreed for 2017-18, on top of £5.824m savings agreed in previous budgets.
Member of the Caithness Area Committee have given the go-ahead to a project to improve the safety of pupils walking and cycling to and from Miller Academy in Thurso. £20,000 will be spent creating a footpath and installing a barrier with linings on the ground to make the usage of the drop off area at the school safer for pupils.
New cutting-edge careers spaces aimed at inspiring youngsters have opened in Inverness. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Chair John F.
The Highland Council's Administration will be proposing an additional £1.174m to NHS Highland for adult care, as part of the 2017/18 budget which will be considered on Thursday 16 February 2017. Council Leader Margaret Davidson said:"These are financially challenging times for all of the public sector.
In another challenging financial year, the Highland Council Administration has pledged to protect education services in the 2017/18 budget. The Highland Council will consider next year's budget at its meeting on Thursday 16 February.
The Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent), has welcomed KLM's announcement today of a second daily service from Inverness to Amsterdam starting from 15 May 2017 to complement the existing service. Cllr Davidson said: "This news of a second daily flight between Inverness and Amsterdam is splendid news! This expanded service means we are better able to make the most of global connections between Schiphol and key markets throughout the world.
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.