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Planning for the Future in Caithness - Public Meeting

21st August 2009

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. The first information day will take place at the Wick Assembly Rooms on Monday 31st August from 10am to 5pm and it will be followed by another event on Thursday 3rd September at Caithness Horizons in Thurso which will run from 10.00am to 6.00pm.

David Cowie, a Principal Planner from the Council's Planning and Development Service, will be attending the Joint Ward Forum to find out what local people think the main issues are over the next 20 years will be and to explain more about how the Highland-wide Local Development Plan will be used to address these.

He said: "There are a great many issues which I am sure will be of interest to people. Caithness and North Sutherland face particular regeneration challenges. We believe that these must be addressed as a priority within the Highland wide Local Development Plan. For example providing for housing opportunities both within the main centres and surrounding rural areas, supporting the priorities of the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, supporting the programme of site work at Dounreay and making sure that proposals for marine renewables related development are supported.

"There is a need to plan carefully for renewable energy developments, both in terms of the potential for marine renewables and the continuing interest by on-shore wind farm developers. We need to get a local perspective on these issues from people who know each area well."

Councillor Robert Coghill, Landward Ward, who will chair the Joint Ward Forum, said he and his fellow Caithness Councillors hoped this would be an excellent opportunity to influence future planning for the County.

"The consultation will be the collecting of local people's views, who are familiar with their area, on what should be done about our environment, our woodlands, our new houses, our transport and our green spaces. Now is the perfect time for the voices of the people of Caithness to be heard at the very start of a Plan covering the next 20 years and to make their views known to the Highland Council Planners."

The Ward Forum is being held in the Mackays Hotel, Wick on Tuesday 8th September 7.30pm to 9.30pm with a 20-minute slot allocated at the end of the meeting for questions from the public. Teas and coffees will be available from 7pm to 7.30pm.

Every Community Council in the three Caithness Wards and other representative community organisations are members of the Ward Forum and have the opportunity to feed the views of their community, as discussed at their own meetings, into the subjects being covered.

Ward Forums have been set up across the Highlands to help you have your say in what's happening in your area. The forums meet regularly in public led by the Ward Elected Members in each area. Representatives of Community Councils and partner agencies, such as the police also attend the forums.

If you have an enquiry about your Forum; would like to submit questions in advance of the meeting; or have any special requirements/needs to help you take part, please contact David Sutherland at the Council's Market Place Offices or by phoning 01955 607176 or by emailing david.sutherland[AT]highland.gov.uk

More information on the Highland wide Local Development Plan consultation can be found on the Highland Council website www.highland.gov.uk/developmentplans or by contacting the Development Plans Team on (01463) 702827 or email devplans[AT]highland.gov.uk

 

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