Wick regeneration project to benefit from additional funding
22nd January 2021
Members of The Highland Council's Caithness Committee have approved additional funding for a project to bring new life to the site of a former derelict building on Wick High Street.
In September last year the Scottish Government announced extra funding through the Town Centre Fund as part of its national economic recovery stimulus package, particularly aimed at supporting construction activity across Scotland. The Highland Council has received an additional £1,066,000, providing an extra £56,104 for investing into Thurso and Wick.
Today members agreed that £12,000 of this money will go towards additional works to complete a key project in Wick town centre.
Last year The Highland Council successfully accessed grant funding from the Scottish Government's Vacant and Derelict Land Fund and Town Centre Fund which provided funding for the Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) to acquire a derelict property with land at 126 High Street. HHA have been managing the demolition of the property before transferred the land to the Wick Development Trust for redevelopment.
The demolition and site clearance work undertaken by HHA has progressed well and is nearing completion. However, on completion of the demolition works it became apparent that the original scope of the works proposed to make good the exposed gable end of the adjacent property, was considered by the property owner as inappropriate and unsatisfactory. Consequently, a more permanent solution involving stonework repairs was devised and agreed. This has left the project with a projected overspend of £12,000.
The decision by Councillors today means £12,000 of the extra Town Centre Fund will go to HHA to absorb this unforeseen package of additional works.
Caithness Committee Chair Cllr Nicola Sinclair said: "The decision today means the project can be completed and the site passed to the community. At a time when communities have pulled together more than ever before during the Coronavirus pandemic, I am sure that local people will have new and creative ideas for the sites that could benefit the people of Wick in the long term."
All Town Centre Fund money needs to be committed by March this year and projects completed by September 2021.
Members have agreed that a special Committee Meeting be arranged next month to consider Council led projects which could benefit from the remaining £44,104 Town Centre Fund investment.
To help mitigate the persistent uncertainty and challenges arising from the pandemic, the Highland Council continues its humanitarian support, in partnership with the Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE), which operates FareShare Scotland in the north of Scotland. With funding from the Scottish Government and donations from supermarkets and food suppliers, FareShare, the Highland Council, local community groups and the Third Sector have adopted a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to food support for the wellbeing of households across the Highlands.
The Corporate Resources Committee of Highland council debated the latest account to December 2020 that show an underspend in staffing costs of £14,474. This saving has helped to create a surplus and stated in the report "at current projections for the year-end outturn position suggest a net year end budget surplus of £3.1m, a significant improvement from the £8.7m forecast overspend reported to this committee in November." Councillor Matthew Reiss appeared today to chair the meeting of the Corporate Resource committee following the resignation of councillor Alister Mackinnon.
School communities across Highland are being encouraged to remain vigilant on safety measures as a partial school return begins today. Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted to see the return of some of our pupils to education settings across Highland today.
Members of the Caithness Committee have agreed to use Town Centre Funding to invest in the CCTV infrastructure for both Wick and Thurso. £16,100 will be used to digitalise the existing aging analogue public space CCTV system in Wick town centre and connection of the new system into the council's CCTV monitoring office with £25,625 to do the same for Thurso town centre.
This item was discussed at the meeting and is available on video below. Members of the Highland Council's Caithness Committee have had the opportunity to review and comment on the two updated Active Travel Masterplans for Wick and Thurso aimed at making it safer for people to walk and cycle in and around the towns.
Letters to parents, senior-phase pupils and supportive information to school staff will be issued this week to explain the phased return to schools for some pupils on 22 February, in line with today's announcements and new guidance issued by the Scottish Government. A large amount of work and progress has already been achieved to prepare our schools for the return of P1-P3 children and Senior Phase students who will return for essential practical activities for certification, and we will continue to provide in school remote provision for our key worker and most vulnerable learners.
Retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today. It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.
Housing Secretary extends support for renters during pandemic. Renters will continue to be supported during the ongoing national lockdown restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.
The agenda was hanged to take the Caithness Horizons paper first. Read the Agenda Read the Supplementary Agenda Item 3: Minutes Report, 124.69 KB Item 5: Police - Area Performance Summary Report, 75.13 KB.
On Tuesday 16 February 2021 from 9:30 until 17:00, motorists are being advised by The Highland Council that two streets in Wick will be temporary closed to allow KIER to safely carry out Iron work repairs. U3529 Grant Street, Wick, will be closed from its junction with the U3560 Huddart Street to its junction with C1073 Macarthur Street U3560 Huddart Street, Wick, will closed from its junction with the U3654 Smith Terrace to its junction with U3569 Kinnaird Street.