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."
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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