Views sought on Shopfront Design Guide
13th February 2018
The Highland Council is asking stakeholders and members of the public for feedback on new draft guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts.
Not only does the draft Shopfront Design Guide: Planning Guidance provide advice to help promote good quality applications but it encourages developers and applicants to consider design at the earliest stage in their proposals. Once adopted, the Guidance will help provide transparency and clarity in the planning process by assisting Councillors and officers to make consistent decisions in line with best practice.
The document, which is out for consultation until Friday 23 March, sets out general principles for repair, reinstatement and replacement of shopfronts, as well as general principles for new shopfronts in new development. It also considers signage and how good advertising can be accommodated in both traditional and modern shopfronts.
Launching the consultation, Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "Shopfronts are highly visible features of our built environment and the image they project has a significant impact on the way people experience an area, and the overall quality of the built environment.
"Well designed and attractive shopfronts can increase economic activity in an area by helping to provide attractive streets and encouraging people to visit or spend more time which in turn increases footfall and business for traders. However, the opposite is also true as rundown, unattractive and out of character shopfronts can have a negative impact, detracting from the area and discouraging shoppers.
“I would encourage retailers, local businesses, community groups, shoppers and the public to take part in the consultation and let us know their thoughts and ideas."
The Townscape Heritage scheme for Academy Street in Inverness is currently awarding grant aid for building improvements including reinstating and repairing traditional shopfronts.
The Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael joins Cllr Henderson in encouraging people to take part. She said: “Maintaining attractive town centres and a vibrant and interesting shopping experience is increasingly important when faced with competition from out-of-town shopping centres and the internet. Local shopping centres need to offer a different and diverse experience, such as an attractive environment to spend time in - shopfronts are an essential component that directly contributes to their success."
To take part in the consultation visit - http://consult.highland.gov.uk/portal/
Following consultation members of the Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee will have an opportunity to review the draft Guidance and once it has their approval, it will be formally adopted.
Highland Councillors agreed a council tax increase of 3% which will mean an increase of £35.93 per annum on a Band D property. Overall, the budget gap of £15,146 million has been met by a package of savings which includes increasing Council Tax income by £3.448 million, increasing income by £3,059 million, setting a target of £2,250 million to be saved through Redesign and reducing expenditure by £5.1 million.
Redesign is about the Council being more open-minded to new ways of delivering services, more commercially-minded to raise income to support services and jobs across the region and being more community-minded, listening locally and supporting more community-run services. The Highland Council is seeking to release over £2.2 million in savings this year through redesign projects.
An election will take place for Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council on Wednesday 21 February 2018. The maximum permitted membership for the Community Council is 7 and as 8 nominations have been received, the 1349 electors in the community council area are being invited to cast their vote via a postal ballot.
Over three thousand people visited Inverness Town House last weekend to see for themselves the completion of interior works on the public historic Grade A listed building following recent renovations. Around 2,000 visitors passed through the Town House doors on Saturday 10th and another 1,200 people on Sunday 11th February.
Nomination packs for prospective candidates for the Caol and Mallaig Ward by-election are now available from The Highland Council's website. The by-election is being held following the sad death of Councillor Billy MacLachlan who was one of three Councillors representing Ward 11.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting 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.
In recognition that roads are a high priority for communities in Highland the Administration at The Highland Council will be putting forward a budget on Thursday (15 February) that protects the budget for local roads. Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: "We have nearly 7,000 kilometres of roads in the Highlands and this network is vital to our rural communities and lifeline services.
The Highland Council Budget team have agreed their final budget proposals which will go to Council for agreement on 15 February 2018. Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "We have done everything we can to protect frontline services and jobs in a good budget.
The timetable for the election for the return of a councillor for the Caol and Mallaig ward of The Highland Council has been announced today (Monday 5 February) The by-election is being held following the sad death of Councillor Billy MacLachlan who was one of three Councillors representing Ward 11. The other Ward members are Councillors Allan Henderson (Independent) and Ben Thompson (Independent) The Notice of Election and Nomination Form will be published on the Council's website www.highland.gov.uk (external link) on Tuesday 13 February.
Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, has expressed his disappointment in the lack of promised support for local authorities struggling to fund the extra pressures caused by the winter weather. He said: "The Highland Council has the largest roadwork of any local authority in the UK, with nearly 7,000km of regional roads and over 1,700km of footways.
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