Progress for Council's Off-street car parking policy
6th February 2020
At a special meeting of the former Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, held in October last year, Councillors agreed a new approach to the introduction of car parking charges across the area that will see a surplus of income split 50/50 with local areas.
At today's (Thursday 6 February) meeting of The Highland Council's new Economy and Infrastructure Committee members had the opportunity to discuss the progress made in implementing the first phase of the off-street car parking policy.
The first phase includes council owned car parks across five council Wards - Wick and East Caithness; North West Sutherland; Tain and Easter Ross; Cromarty Firth; and Badenoch and Strathspey.
Information packs will be issued tomorrow to Community Councils and other statutory and key stakeholders including Emergency Services, Freight Transport/Road Haulage Associations, Business Improvement Districts, Access Panels and relevant local Trusts and Associations.
Chair of the Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson said: "It was good to have the chance to review progress made to date with the first phase of the roll-out. The next stage is all about gaining feedback from Community Councils and other stakeholders to help inform the next step in the statutory process. The packs being issued to phase 1 stakeholders tomorrow are very clear and provide detailed information and a questionnaire. I encourage input from stakeholders at this stage as their local insight will assist the team to review and, where appropriate, amend proposals before going to a wider public consultation.
"The public have told us they would like the council to look at income generation opportunities rather than reducing services. Members have already agreed that the surplus money generated from the introduction of off-street car parking charges will be split equally between local areas and services. This will allow for councillors to target priorities within their community such as improving infrastructure and investing in facilities."
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has warned that the Scottish Government's Budget will hit vulnerable communities the hardest. COSLA has warned the Government that it has not considered successive years of cuts, or rising inflation and demand and have therefore put council services at risk.
Following a review taxi fares in Highland have been held at the same level by the Highland Council Licensing Committee held on 18 February 2019. The papers and the debate on this issue can be seen at items six on the webcast - https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/469655 There is a 14 Day period for appeal.
A study is underway into the feasibility of replacing Scotland's second busiest ferry service with a fixed link bridge or tunnel. The Highland Council, HITRANS and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are joint funding the study at the Corran Narrows in Lochaber.
The standstill period under the Council's Trades Services Framework agreement was due to close with effect from Monday 17th February 2020, with the intention of a proposed go live date with the new arrangements and contracts of 24th February. The standstill period is a defined period of time between the notice of the contract award decision and the award of the contract.
On 14th February 2020 the Highland council place an advert in the Northern times newspaper regarding the Spaceport planning application as follows. - THE HIGHLAND COUNCIL TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (SCOTLAND) ACT 1997 TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING (ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2017.
Members today approved a modest 3% rent increase for residential rents and service charges following detailed consultation with tenants. The increase will result in a rise in the average weekly council house rent from £75.38 to £77.74 (£2.26), which means that Highland rents are still 8th lowest of the 26 councils which retain housing.
Highland Council's new Chief Social Work Officer's first annual report highlights successes and challenges.` Highland Council's new Chief Social Work Officer for Highland Council, Karen Ralston, has enjoyed a successful first year in her role. Members today noted the 2018/19 annual report at the meeting of the Health, Wellbeing and Social Care committee.
Highland Council Trading Standards are again warning unsuspecting residents of the emergence of a new Council Tax scam. Today a call was received by the Council from a Council Tax payer alerting to a Council Tax scam whereby scammers are now texting people and informing them that they are due a Council Tax rebate.
The Highland Council has published the Highland Common Good Asset Register following the completion of a consultation process required by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. The Register has been published on the Council's website and can be accessed from the download link on the page titled "Common Good Asset Register" or at the following link: https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/20010/community_planning/840/common_good_asset_register For ease of reference, the Register has been divided in the separate former Burghs having recorded Common Good Funds - Cromarty, Dingwall, Dornoch, Fortrose and Rosemarkie, Invergordon, Inverness, Nairn and Tain.
According to the draft Scottish Govenment budget, Highlands and Islands Enterprise will get £58.2 million in the upcoming financial year - down from £61.1 million last year. 2018/19 the budget was £71.7 million.
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