Wick Campus Delay Until 2017
22nd September 2016
At a Wick stakeholders meeting held on Monday 19 September at Wick High School, representatives from Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction gave an update on reasons for the delay and outlined a revised programme for the Wick campus delivery.
The meeting was chaired by Highland Councillor for Wick Bill Fernie who expressed the Council's disappointment at the delay, and re-stated the Council's priorities to ensure that the flagship facility is completed to the standard expected, and accepting handover only at that point.
Angus MacFarlane, Chief Executive of Hub North Scotland advised the group of a revised handover date for the Campus of Friday 2 December 2016 which remains subject to a number of risks.
He explained that there is a detailed dialogue taking place between Highland Council, Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction on the revised programme and decant arrangements for Wick High School, Newton Park Primary and High Life Highland community facilities.
The head of Morrisons construction also laid to rest several rumours regarding the construction that there was no sinking/subsidence of any foundations and any broken windows were repaired as required. The faulty steel beam had been replaced. Several people who had been round to see the position were happy with what is going to be provided when the school finally opens.
The Council is working on detailed plans for the school moves with Head Teachers and High Life Highland, and is considering options for the moves either side of the festive period, with anticipated occupation of the new campus in early January, or around the mid-term break in February, with occupation by the end of February. The Council made clear to the Stakeholder Group that the move plans are still being developed and had to be realistic, achievable, and not impact on the learning and teaching of pupils. The Council recognises that pupils and parents will want early notification of when the schools' will commence within the new facility and that will be provided as soon as possible.
Depending on Hub north Scotland and their contractor Morrison Construction handing over the building and the Council accepting it on 2 December, the Council will provide early notification to parents of the expected occupation arrangements.
Ian MacGillivray from the Council's Project Design Unit provided an update on the delayed Safer Routes to Schools elements of work on the approaches to the school. BEAR Scotland will install a new pedestrian crossing on Francis Street and the Council's contractor will carry out work in Seaforth Avenue and Thurso Road - all during October.
There will be a further package of safety improvements next spring after demolition of the existing school is complete. The delay to the Road Traffic Orders for the 20mph zone around Wick Noss school is also being prioritised as a matter of urgency.
The Highland Council's Planning Performance Framework has been agreed for submission to the Scottish Government. All Planning Authorities in Scotland are required to submit an annual Planning Performance Framework to the Scottish Government, setting out how they have performed over the previous financial year.
Leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson commented following her meeting with Police Scotland on 16 August 2017, saying: "I am very grateful to ACC Hawkins and other officers for a very candid and useful meeting and for providing the information which we requested. "I remain, however, extremely disappointed in the recommendation going to the SPA and the poor governance in that decision making process.
Members have today approved proposals to expand the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funded free open public Wi-Fi system to 14 towns across the Highland. Towns recommended for the free Wi-Fi programme are Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.
The Council has agreed to updated developer contributions for the delivery of new schools in the Inverness area. Taking account of the forecasted phasing of housing sites, school roll forecasts indicate that 13 Primary Schools in Inverness will be under pressure within the next 5 years.
Motorists are advised of a temporary road closure in Caithness to allow repairs to be carried out to approximately 1km of the B876 at Killimster Moss. The road will be closed from 8am on Monday 28 August 2017 until 6pm on Saturday 30 September 2017.
The Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson, has urged the Scottish Government to start using devolved powers to mitigate the impact of benefit changes in the Highlands. The call follows a meeting with Inverness MP, Drew Hendry, where she discussed the problems created by the introduction of Universal Credit.
The Council is to review developer contributions for schools in the Inverness area. Taking account of the forecasted phasing of housing sites, school roll forecasts indicate that Primary Schools in Inverness are under pressure and require significant additional capacity to support growth.
One hundred and forty two probationer teachers who are on the Teacher Induction Scheme and a few probationer teachers on the Flexible Route were recently welcomed to the Highlands (on Friday 11 August 2017) at an induction course held in Smithton Free Church Hall. Bill Alexander, Highland Council's Director of Care and Learning welcomed the probationers saying: "It's really good to see so many young people starting their careers in education here in the Highland and I wish them all well.
Highland Council has written to the Wick Stakeholder Group, Wick High School Parent Council and Newton Park Primary School Parent Council to provide a statement of assurance regarding the new Wick Campus facility. The letter states: We refer to discussion at recent Wick stakeholder group meetings, at which a request was made for the Council to provide a statement of assurance regarding the new Campus facility, and to address media reporting and local concerns over recent months.
Members are to be asked to approve proposals to expand the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funded free open public Wi-Fi system to 14 towns across Highland. Town centres recommended for the free Wi-Fi programme are Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.
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