Developer Contributions for Schools to be reviewed
14th August 2017
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. In addition, all Inverness secondary school are forecasted to go over capacity within the next 15 years. Three of the five Inverness secondary schools are already experiencing capacity issues with school rolls in excess of 90%.
Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "We urgently need to plan ahead for school capacity, particularly in primary schools, to keep up with development in the city. The Council is undertaking proactive work to ensure that our future communities can be provided with the facilities required to support a good quality of life and the future education of our children."
A review has commenced on the Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance which was adopted in March 2013 and a new draft is anticipated to be reported to the Places Committee in November for approval. Alongside, a review of the Action Programme for the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan (IMFLDP) is providing an up to date picture of the infrastructure requirements to support growth in the IMFLDP area.
This work has highlighted that the methodology for calculating developer contributions for education needs to be updated. It has also highlighted that to meet the requirements for new schools to support future growth in Inverness in particular the new-build costs set out in the existing Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance need to be clarified.
Members of the Council's Places Committee will be asked on Wednesday 16 August, to agree that negotiations on developer contributions within the Inverness associated schools groups' catchment areas will be subject to new build equivalent rates based on benchmarking with equivalent developer contribution rates used by other Councils in Scotland and a review of recent school developments in Highland.
Per-pupil costs translate to a per-dwelling cost of £6,983 for primary schools and £3,449 per dwelling for secondary school (excluding land costs). The new rates are proposed for new primary and secondary schools for any new development where there is a clear need for new schools as a result of construction.
Alongside the developer contributions for forecasted school provision, it will be vital to also factor land costs in the final calculation of developer contributions. In all cases developers will be expected to safeguard and make available the land agreed with the Council for school provision.
Young people at school are the winners as a result of discussions between High Life Highland and The Highland Council that will see the Charity's staff phased back into schools after the October break. Speaking about the arrangement, High Life Highland Chairman, Ian Ross said, "I am delighted that once again our partnership working arrangements with colleagues in The Highland Council mean that High Life Highland staff will be able to recommence their work with young people during the school day and within school buildings.
The Highland Council is calling on the UK Government to help resolve the inequity of fuel poverty experienced in the Highlands of Scotland where people pay more for fuel and energy than other regions in the UK. Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson has written to the UK Government's Minister of State (Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth) The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP calling on the government to replace the current electricity distribution system with one that replicates that of gas and telecoms and share the cost of energy distribution equally across the UK.
To mark Scotland's Climate Week for 2020, which runs from today until the 20th September, The Highland Council has organised a range of virtual events to share information and seek views from Highland residents and Council employees on climate related topics. Whilst the circumstances for Climate Week 2020 are very different to previous years, it still provides an important opportunity for organisations and communities to celebrate and showcase what they are doing to tackle climate change.
Highland residents are being warned that letters claiming they have won a share of £425,000 in a ‘postcode lottery' is a scam. The letters appear to be targeting the Skye area but are likely to be sent to various addresses across the Highland area.
Fiona Malcolm, has been appointed by The Highland Council as Interim Executive Chief Officer with immediate effect for Health and Social Care, pending recruitment of the permanent ECO post which is currently taking place. A qualified solicitor, Fiona has worked within the legislative and policy frameworks in place for both children's care and adult social care since joining The Highland Council in 2001.
Communities in The Highland Council area are to benefit from Crown Estates funding to be disbursed by the local authority. Councillors have agreed a funding distribution model to enable the disbursement of over £3million Crown Estates funds across the region.
Council today agreed an urgent motion by Cllrs Margaret Davidson, Andrew Jarvie, Alasdair Christie and Jimmy Gray with a call for more detailed local information sharing on Covid-19 for members in local government. The motion is as follows: "Throughout the pandemic we have received information on national and Highland wide numbers infected with Covid 19.
At the meeting on 9 September 2020 of the Council's Housing and Property Committee, Officers confirmed that house building targets will be met despite lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Chair of the committee, Cllr Ben Thompson, said: "I am delighted that we are able to continue to meet our targets for the Council house building programme.
Highland Council members will debate rejecting electoral arrangement proposals put forward by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland at a meeting of The Highland Council later this week. The Boundary Commission wrote to the Council's Chief Executive earlier this year with proposals for new electoral boundaries from 2022.
Highland Housing partners are asking their tenants to have their say on proposed changes to the mutual exchange policy. Mutual Exchanges help tenants to move by swapping their homes with other tenants.