Local Authority News
The Highland Council has welcomed the announcement by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to award Scrabster Harbour Trust £5 million to help develop the harbour as a key component of Scotland's renewable energy infrastructure. Convener Councillor Sandy Park said: "The news of the approval of £5m from HIE should be very welcome not just in the north but throughout the Highlands.
The Highland Council is launching the third and final phase of consultation on a major review of Community Councils. This seeks final comments on a proposed new Scheme for Community Councils, including a model constitution, standing orders and code of conduct for Community Councillors.
Twenty community transport schemes in the Highlands will continue to receive financial support, totalling almost £500,000, from The Highland Council in the next financial year Members of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee have agreed to extend grant support into 2011/12, providing that the community groups work with Council officials to identify combined efficiency savings of at least £15,000. Committee members were informed that one service, the Sound of Mull Passenger Ferry, which is jointly funded by Argyll and Bute Council, has seen a reduced level of usage and is currently receiving a subsidy of £49.96 per passenger from The Highland Council.
Members of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee have agreed that the Council will write to Network Rail to press for improved safety measures at automatic open level crossings in the Highlands. The action follows an update to members on the report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) into the fatal accident at the Halkirk level crossing in September 2009.
At the start of Planning, Environment and Development Committee of Highland Council last week, members were given an update on the latest developments surrounding the Council's efforts to unlock the potential of the Nigg Fabrication Yard. Committee Chairman, Councillor Ian Ross reported that he and the Convener have recently written to the landowners expressing concern that the opportunity to realise the undoubted potential of the site is rapidly closing and time is clearly of the essence.
Members of The Highland Council's Planning, Environment and Development Committee have agreed to allocate £134.4K to 19 community based path upgrading and improvement projects. The money comes from the first phase of the Highland Core Path Implementation Programme which is supported by the Council and LEADER.
Building on the success of the first Highland Tenant Conference held last year, 92 delegates from across the Highlands gathered in Inverness on Saturday for the 2010 event. Achievements of tenant and resident groups across the Highlands were showcased.
Regular meetings between senior Highland councillors and the Scottish Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson, are delivering benefits for the Highlands. This is the view of Council Leader, Michael Foxley, Chairman of the Transport Environment and Community Service Services Committee, John Laing, and the Provost of Inverness, Jimmy Gray, who have been meeting with Mr Stevenson on a quarterly basis to discuss progress on the Joint Action Plan which was developed to track progress on the outcome of the Scottish Government's Strategic Transport Projects Review, and other key transport projects in the Highlands.
The Council has launched its 'Reduce Water Waste' campaign, which aims to raise awareness and promote water minimisation in schools and amongst all council staff and councillors. Reducing water use will: Save money and energy Reduce our carbon emissions Contribute to the continuing health of our valuable ecosystems Visit www.highland.gov.uk/waterminimisation for useful tips on how you can save water.
Highland residents have been making full use of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling facilities that were introduced at Recycling Centres across the region in January 2010 - so much so that the Highland Council has won two "WEEE Collector of the Month" awards. The Recycling Electrical Producers' Industry Consortium (REPIC) has a contract with The Highland Council to collect WEEE from the Council's Recycling Centres.
Preparations for the potential delivery of The Highland Council's Community Learning and leisure Services through an arms length organisation took a further step forward last week. Members of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee agreed that the preferred business model for any arms length organisation which might be set up by the Council would be a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and with the option of a trading subsidiary.
Highland Council has committed to the continuation of an innovative approach to the funding and delivery of social care services. The Council was one of three authorities who piloted the use of Self Directed Support for the Scottish Government, over the last two years.
The North Territory hub Programme Board has announced that Alba Community Partnerships (comprising of Cyril Sweett Investments Ltd and Miller Corporate Holdings, part of The Miller Group) has been selected as the preferred bidder for the hub North Territory. hub North was the second hub territory to move into procurement and expects to deliver projects with an estimated value of £435 million over the next 10 years.
Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee have expressed their disappointment and concern that Rok plc has gone into Administration. Rok have a number of Council contracts and also provide a sub-contracting service on other projects.
A fairer system of charging Council house rent has been agreed by The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee following consultation with tenants and an examination of rent structures of other local councils and recognised rent systems. Consultation indicated that the size and the type of the property were important to tenants in setting rent charges as was the condition and energy efficiency of a property.
Highland council house tenants , who have spare accommodation, are to be offered an incentive to move to a smaller council home that better meets their needs. The Highland Council's Housing and Social work Committee agreed on Wednesday 10th November 2010, a downsizing policy to encourage and support tenants of Highland Housing Register landlords to transfer to a smaller home.
Highland Wide Local Development Plan to be discussed at joint Caithness Wards Forum The Highland Council's, Highland Wide Local Development Plan is the main topic to be discussed at a joint Caithness Wards Forum being held on Monday 15 November at 7.30 pm in the Mackays Hotel, Wick. The Highland Wide Local Development Plan, represents the Council's land use vision, strategy and principal, general policies for the whole Highland Council area except that part within the Cairngorms National Park Authority boundary.
Following a night of severely windy weather The Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which have been damaged by the gales. Landowners are being asked to check for damage to their trees and to remove debris from roads or footways without undue delay.
House Building Figures show importance of affordable housing investment in the Highlands A briefing note issued by The Highland Council indicates that 415 new houses were completed in The Highland Council area between June and September 2010. This is an improvement over the first quarter of the financial year (402) and more than the same period in 2008/9 (383) and 2009/10 (302).
Highland Opportunity Ltd, The Highland Council's Enterprise Trust, has completed another positive year in which £900,000 of loans were approved for 50 Highland businesses. Speaking at the company's 24th annual meeting, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Councillor Helen Carmichael praised the performance of staff, particularly in more than doubling their target of supporting 426 jobs.