Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Community, Sports And Leisure Facility Strategy For Highland

20th November 2023

The Education Committee of Highland Council will on Thursday 23 November 2023 discuss an updated strategy on Community, Sports And Leisure Facilities.

This report proposes a two-stage approach to the development of vibrant community hubs in Highland communities incorporating community, sports, leisure, library, and other services as follows:
i. Stage 1 - the development of a Highland Council strategic framework for the development of community hubs as proposed in this report.
ii. Stage 2 - the development of local plans at associated school group (ASG) area level which creates 29 plans for community, sport, leisure, library, and other facilities important to communities.

The proposed strategy recognises current constraints on capital investment and the challenging financial outlook. The strategy provides the opportunity to:
i. ensure that best use of available capital investment is made, and opportunities to develop hubs within existing capital plans are recognised at an early stage in project planning,
ii. supports the Council's asset rationalisation plan by looking to co-location of provision within communities,
iii. supports the levering in of external funding, including from agencies such as sportscotland, through clear and articulated vision and strategy for facilities.

While the discussion started with sportscotland wishing to partner with the Council on sports facilities, it is clear that Highland communities and the people living in them engage in a range of services and the highest increases in participation having been achieved in the past through the provision of multi-use facilities where, for example, libraries, sports facilities, community meeting spaces and service points have been co-located. There are many services which are trying to reach the same customers and co-location make this easier, more cost effective and is better for customers.

To ensure that there is a long-term plan for our communities, this strategy seeks to ensure that key links are made, particularly with the future of the school estate (which often forms natural focus points for communities) and local development plans. This document sets out the principles for investment over the long-term and the next step towards ensuring the area is well served by appropriate facilities will be the development of individual plans for each of the Council's 29 associated school group areas.

There are a number of examples of where the Council has built facilities which have improved community life over past capital programmes. These Include:

• Aviemore Community Facility - this combined a primary school, library, leisure centre, service point and village hall facility. A community owned village hall and library were closed to build the new centre and the combination of the facilities has saved staff costs (by combining the reception role with the library one) and resulted in increased use. The centre is incredibly busy after the end of the school day and the library acts as an informal community meeting space particularly for parents of primary school aged children.

• The Fingal Centre, Portree - when a new secondary school was being built the Council took the opportunity to incorporate: a joint school and community library; leisure centre; and archive centre into the facility. This allowed the former swimming pool and library, which were separate buildings, to be closed with the associated property cost savings. Community use of the facilities increased.

• Sunart Centre - When the new Ardnamurchan High School was built, library, leisure and community space was included, partly through designing the school facilities in a way which allows community access. This approach allows provision to be made for school and community use without significantly increasing the footprint of the building compared with it being a standalone school and is a proportionate way of ensuring that there is provision for smaller communities.

• East Caithness Community Facility - the creation of the new school allowed the Council to close the old town pool and library, generating property efficiencies while significantly improving services and increasing footfall to the library and leisure centre.

• Grantown Service Point - the library and service point in Grantown were combined and even a modest example like this has led to increased visitors in both the service point and library.

Should the Council adopt this strategic approach of developing integrated school and community leisure and library facilities this could (from a capital resource perspective) be linked to the schools capital programme on a case-by-case basis in communities, taking account of existing facilities, their suitability and condition, leading to asset rationalisation opportunities. This will allow a planned approach which can also take advantage of external funding opportunities.

It is recommended that this report be adopted as the Council's strategic approach to community facility provision and that the next step be to carry out the detailed work on an ASG-by-ASG basis which will inform future Council capital planning work as well as supporting the work which it is doing on asset rationalisation, net zero, etc. through its thematic groups.

Read the full paper HERE

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

19/6/2024
Council Tax Reduction Supports Over 450,000 Households
Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest annual Council Tax Reduction statistics.  In March 2024, Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction scheme supported 461,550 households (an increase of 1.6 per cent from 454,350 in March 2023) and the total weekly income forgone by local authorities was £7.543 million (an increase of 2.4 per cent from £7.364 million in March 2023).  
18/6/2024
Local Feedback Sought For The Highland Local Living ToolThumbnail for article : Local Feedback Sought For The Highland Local Living Tool
Communities and businesses are being called on to help inform an interactive tool which assesses how well Highland places meet the principles of local living.   ‘Local living' aims to provide people the ability to meet the majority of their daily needs within a reasonable distance to their home.  
13/6/2024
Applications Open For Education Maintenance Allowance 2024/25 - 4th-6th Year Pupils - allowance of £30 per week
All eligible young people are being encouraged to apply for a weekly, term time allowance of £30 per week from August 2024.   The Highland Council administers Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in respect of eligible young people from across its 29 secondary schools.  
12/6/2024
Final Business Case For Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport Endorsed
Members of the Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee have endorsed the Final Business Case (FBC) for the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, signifying another major step forward in the development of Highland as a global centre for Green Energy and inward investment.   Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans welcomed the report.  
8/6/2024
Candidates Confirmed By Highland Council For UK Parliamentary General Election 2024
14 candidates are seeking election on Thursday 4 July 2024 for the two Highland UK Parliamentary constituencies:.   7 candidates are standing in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency 7 candidates in the Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire constituency.  
6/6/2024
Highland Voters Urged To Prepare For Upcoming UK General ElectionThumbnail for article : Highland Voters Urged To Prepare For Upcoming UK General Election
Residents in the two Highland Constituencies - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire are being urged to prepare ahead of the UK parliamentary general election taking place on Thursday 4 July.   Anyone who wants to have their say in the UK general election must be registered to vote by Tuesday 18 June.  
31/5/2024
Parents And Carers As Partners In Their Children's Education
The Parental Engagement Strategy aims to build on good practice and create further opportunities for partnership working between schools and parents/carers; supporting parents and carers as partners in their children's education and welcoming their involvement in school life.   Cllr John Finlayson, Education Chair said: "There are great benefits to parents/carers being involved in their children’s learning from helping them with homework and forming stronger connections with the school through events and volunteering opportunities.  
31/5/2024
Young Carers Statement - Help From Highland Council
A simple and digitally accessible plan is available to any child or young person in Highland who cares for another person.   Cllr John Finlayson, Education Chair said: "Young Carers do an incredible job to help look after those closest to them, and it can be a challenge to find time or the words for conversations around their own wellbeing and future.  
30/5/2024
Visitor Levy Bill Passed By Scottish Parliament And Highland Council Welcomes It
MSPs have backed legislation giving councils a new power to introduce a visitor levy that would raise funding for local visitor facilities and services.   The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill will enable local authorities to apply a levy on overnight stays with all money raised to be reinvested in services and facilities largely used by tourists and business visitors.  
30/5/2024
Draft Community Wealth Building Strategy - Your Chance To Have Your SayThumbnail for article : Draft Community Wealth Building Strategy - Your Chance To Have Your Say
The Highland Council has today (Wednesday 29 May 2024) launched a survey to capture comments on its' draft strategy on Community Wealth Building.   Community Wealth Building provides an alternative approach to economic development and a practical response that aims to keep wealth within a local area.