Public Invited To View Plans For Wick High Street
23rd March 2023
The Highland Council will hold a drop-in session at the end of the month to share the design for the pedestrian zone in the High Street and the Bridge Street/High Street junction, part of the wider regeneration of Wick town centre.
The purpose of the session is to share more detail so the Council can finalise the design, secure a funding stream and move on to preparing tender documents and the construction phase. Subject to a positive response and successful funding bid, it is intended that construction works could start before the end of the year.
Leader of The Highland Council and Wick ward member, Councillor Raymond Bremner said: "I want to thank everyone who has come along to the various consultation events and provided feedback to help us get to this stage.
“The designs capture the aspirations of the community and what is proposed will really give the town centre a lift and make it a more welcoming and attractive place for people to spend time in.
“The drop-in session next Friday is a great chance for folk to come along to look at the drawings and ask questions of the project team who will be in attendance as I hope as many people as possible come along."
The project began in 2019 when The Highland Council in partnership with The Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and Caithness Community Partnership applied to Sustrans Scotland for funding for a collaborative design process through the Street Design Programme. The project team was led by Sustrans' Street Design team, in partnership with The Highland Council. The project team worked collaboratively with the local community of Wick between September 2019 and October 2020 to develop a concept design which aimed to create:
• Warm, welcoming and more attractive public spaces;
• A comfortable and safe environment to walk, wheel and cycle;
• Better travel experiences through Wick town centre - particularly when accessing local facilities;
• A sense of identity for the town centre in Wick, drawing on local culture and heritage.
Following completion of the concept stage, a further successful bid for funding was made to the Sustrans Places for Everyone programme. This has allowed The Highland Council to take the ideas from the concept phase and work them into a detailed design which can be used to tender for construction works.
Design details will be on display in the foyer of Caithness House on Friday 31 March from 11am to 4pm and staff will be on hand to discuss the project.
Highland councillors will meet on 29th February 2024 to agree the proposals set out in the papers published today. There has been a long period of public consultation on the proposals and although there are unpalatable suggestions they will balance the books.
Over £100m investment programme proposed as part of 3-year budget Highland council are about to use significant amounts of reserves to cover shortfalls in the budget for 24/25 and possibly 25/26. Despite pushing out big figures it disguises the cuts about to fall on Highland services.
A collaborative network of Head Teachers and Education Officers are working closely together with the goal of improving attainment and achievement in Highland primary schools. Cllr John Finlayson, Education Chair said: "It is essential that we have strong, consultation and communication strategies in place and there is effective and ongoing collaboration between our schools and our central education service.
The Highland Council is currently unable to confirm whether funding will be available to support the Wick-Aberdeen Public Service Obligation (PSO) after 31st March 2024. The funding for the PSO is currently provided on the basis of £1.3m annually, with £1m committed by the Scottish Government and £0.3m committed by The Highland Council.
The Chair of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee has announced that a 3-week trial of a thermal process for pothole repairs will be taking place. An external contractor, Thermal Road Repairs, has been appointed to undertake the trial before the end of the 2023/24 financial year.
Caithness Committee Members today (Monday 29 January 2024) considered and assessed applications submitted to the area's Community Regeneration Fund. Community Regeneration Funding is an umbrella term for a number of funds that are available for communities/organisations to access in Highland.
The Council at the Caithness Area Committee agree the roads budget for 2024/25 with exactly the same amount as for 2023/24. Clearly with rapidly increasing costs this will come nowhere near to maintaining the roads to even the poor condition they are now in.
A briefing has been provided to all members of the Council on an accounting flexibility introduced by Scottish Government and available to Councils to utilise in 2022/23 or 2023/24. A number of reports to Council in recent months have covered this topic, and a number of other Councils have utilised the flexibility in 2022/23 or are considering doing so in 2023/24.
The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time. It is not intended to imply that any individual route is entirely snow and ice free and drivers must be aware that conditions can change rapidly and make their own assessment of conditions for travelling.
Weather is still hitting school transport services around the county. Wick Unfortunately we have made the decision to close the school tomorrow, Friday 19th January, due to the ongoing snowfall and hazardous road conditions.