Sale unlocks the next chapter for Harbour Quay, Wick
13th February 2017
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.
Harbour Quay was one of the priority projects within the Wick Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) with The Highland Council purchasing part of the site in 2002.
Over the next decade The Highland Council secured investment through the Scottish Government Vacant and Derelict Land Fund and worked in partnership with Highland Housing Alliance to investigate all possible uses for the site.
In 2012 grants from Historic Environment Scotland through the Wick CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme) allowed the stabilisation of both buildings and the preparation of a development brief, so the site could be actively marketed as a development opportunity.
Caithness Councillors warmly welcomed the landmark development and speaking on their behalf, Chair of the Caithness Committee, Councillor Roger Saxon said: "I am delighted that a section of the Harbour Quay is to be developed as an integral part of the Beatrice offshore windfarm development. These buildings once played a vital role in the industrial heritage of Wick Harbour, it is great news they can be redeveloped to service the modern industry of renewable energy in the North of Scotland.
"This site is an excellent example of why a strategic long term approach needs to be adopted when dealing with historically important buildings particularly within a conservation area. It has taken many years to get to this stage but this sale secures these buildings for the next 25 years and beyond."
Wick Councillor Bill Fernie added, "We have been trying over the past few years to move the infrastructure of Wick forward to enable economic development and I am very pleased that our investment in schools, council offices and now the improvements we made to buildings at Telford Street along with making land available for the Archive project at the airport are al beginning to show their worth. The sale of council owned property has helped make it possible for this huge project to come to Wick and help with redevelopment of the harbour area."
Peter Campbell, SSE's Project Manager, said: "The buildings that BOWL plan to renovate are part of the original harbour area planned by Thomas Telford and are a symbol of Wick's industrial and maritime past. We are really pleased that we are able to utilise them and help continue that legacy through our £10m investment in the area.
"Work on the O&M Base is set to begin this month and be completed in 2018. In the mean time we will be advertising jobs to help keep Beatrice running, with up to 90 long term jobs ranging from Offshore Technicians to Office Administrators available at the base."
During a debate about the future of Highland Council finances, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, has challenged the Scottish Government to be more open about the funding they provide for local councils across Scotland. "In recent years' we’ve seen too much smoke and mirrors when it comes to the Scottish Government handing out their annual grant to local councils.
The Highland Council has agreed to set up a Commercial Board amongst a range of other recommendations to redesign the Council, including strengthening local democracy. The establishment of Commercial Board aims to create a step change in income generation with a social purpose in mind.
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The Highland Council's People Committee has agreed membership of the Council's new Adult Services Development and Scrutiny Sub-Committee. The Adult Services Development and Scrutiny Sub-Committee will ensure specific consideration is given to the delivery of adult social care services, as part of an integrated approach to all community care services, and will oversee on behalf of the People Committee, the commissioning of social care services for adults from NHS Highland.
The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan (PFOW MSP) has won the Excellence in Plan Making Practice category at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017. The awards were held in London on 15 June.
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