Local Voices, Highland Choices
1st September 2017
The Highland Council's ruling coalition Administration will be presenting its five-year Programme at the Council meeting next week (7 September). The Programme sets out a number of strategic goals delivered through 5 themes: a place to live, a place to learn, a place to thrive, a welcoming place and a redesigned council.
Council Leader, Margaret Davidson said:"We are taking a new approach to the development of the Council's Programme. Next week, I will be asking the Council to agree our high level strategic priorities for the Highlands. Once approved, I will be going on the road and engaging locally to ensure that we deliver the programme on the ground in a way that is responsive to local circumstances. This is not a document that will grow dusty on a shelf somewhere. It is the catalyst for the delivery of locally responsive and democratically accountable services. It takes both a revolutionary and evolutionary approach to ensure we reflect the many and diverse voices of the Highlands to deliver what is right for them."
The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Depute Leader of the Council, Alasdair Christie said:"I hope the public will appreciate the new approach we have taken. Our Programme is simple and accessible and shows great clarity of purpose. It sets out a vision for the Highlands that I believe everyone can get behind, as well as highlighting the critical role of the Council in representing and protecting Highland interests on the national stage."
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jimmy Gray added:"The Council needs to listen to local voices and deliver collaboratively. By working with our staff, our communities and our partners I am confident we can deliver our Programmes' strategic goals and priorities in a way that puts democracy at the heart of our local communities."
The Convener of the Council, Bill Lobban said: “The public sector in Scotland is facing unprecedented financial challenges and local government perhaps most of all. We cannot afford to continue to deliver the same services in the same way as we’ve always done. It is absolutely right that the choices about where to prioritise and direct our scarce resources are made as locally as possible. We trust our communities to have mature conversations about the decisions which affect them.”
Council will be asked to agree the draft Programme at its meeting on 7 September. The agreed priorities will form the basis of the Council’s corporate and service plans.
Highland Council Meeting Agenda and papers for 7 September 2017
The Highland Council received two awards at last week's Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning. One Award was in the "Process" Category for the Highland eDevelopment project and the second was in the "Place" category for the Nucleus Building in Wick.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that the main phase of the work to construct the Kingussie Flood Alleviation Channel is now underway. The project is a joint venture between the Council and Pitmain Estate and is located on the Estate's land above the village of Kingussie.
The Highland Council achieved a 6% reduction in its year-on-year carbon emissions in 2016/17, equivalent to a saving of over 4,000 tonnes of CO2. In addition, thanks to a variety of energy efficiency measures implemented throughout the organisation, the Council saved almost £180k compared to the previous year, despite increasing energy costs.
Communities and developers will be invited to have their say in shaping a refreshed approach to dealing with developer contributions for developments across Highland. At today's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, members gave the go ahead for a six week public consultation on the Draft Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance which will begin in early 2018.
Parent representatives from 206 Parent Councils across the Highland region have been invited to attend the Highland Parent Council Partnership conference which will be held on Saturday 18 Nov 2017 from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Guest speaker at the conference - to be held at Highland Council, Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness - will be John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
The Highland Council have reviewed and updated the administrative procedures around miscellaneous and animal establishment licensing making it easier for people to access information and provide feedback. An online register of all applications is now published on the Council's website and the procedures are clear on how individuals or groups can raise concerns or object to applications for these types of licence.
The Highland Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes for a growing population with a pledge in its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 to approve 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership. Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday 8 November) had the opportunity to discuss the Housing Investment Plan for 2018-2023 and to reaffirm the council's commitment to deliver new homes in the Highlands.
Following the collapse of a 15 metre section of road at Soldiers Rock on the Knoydart peninsula late on Tuesday 24 October, work is progressing on repairing the landslip on the single track road. A full inspection of the affected road has been carried out and a Highland Council engineer will be on site on Wednesday this week to carry out preliminary work before detailed survey work is carried out on Friday.
Resident's from across the Highlands have provided positive feedback to the council's latest Citizen's Panel survey. Each year the panel of just over 2300 adults are asked for their views on the performance of the council and to provide information on their attitudes to a range of issues affecting them, their families and their neighbourhoods.
Highland Community Planning Partners have confirmed that they are now ready to receive a number of Syrian refugee families to Dingwall in the next few months. A group of officers and volunteers from The Highland Council, Police Scotland, NHS Highland, and Highland Third Sector Interface are working together to put preparations in place for housing, education and health support for the families.
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