Town health check data published for Highland centres
11th December 2018
The Highland Council has today (Tuesday 11 December 2018) announced significant progress in the quality of collection and reporting on the performance of it's town centres through the release of new Town Centre Health Check "Story Maps".
The maps contain a huge amount of data on many aspects.
Town Centre Health Checks are a means of assessing the strength, vitality and performance of town centres over time. The results of health check exercises are used to formulate strategies for improvements and inform policy documents.
Data was gathered in summer 2018 with fifteen town centres being assessed. Each town centre was scored against ten indicators of health including ease of movement and night time economy. Unit vacancies were recorded along with classifications of premises to allow analysis of long term trends and identify availability of services across different locations.
To make information easier to access a "Story Map" was created to better explain the circumstances for each town centre - and to allow comparisons between locations. Presentation in this form includes graphs, text and mapping and photographs of individual shop units. Additional collected details of bus stops and routes, parking, areas of green space and the location of key facilities are also made available.
The use of the Story Map format allows information on a single location or aggregated information across the whole of Highland to be easily inspected using flexible navigation and viewing tools and can be accessed through the following links.
Inverness has its own individual Story Map accessible here:
The other Highland Towns audited are included in a second Story Map:
Chair of the Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: "Checking the strength and vitality of our town centres is essential to enable better decision and policy making.
"These new health checks allow us all to base analysis on a snapshot in time. In future years, through identifying changes to this baseline, we will be able to better monitor the effectiveness of decisions made.
"Presenting detailed information and analysis of the data collected alongside a commentary on each location allows a range of users to access information relevant to them.
Highland Council is the first Local Authority in Scotland to present its Town Centre Health Check results using the Story Map format and it is intended that it will continue to do so in the years ahead."
Town Centres Studied - Alness; Beauly; Brora; Dingwall; Dornoch; Fort William; Golspie; Invergordon; Nairn; Portree; Tain; Thurso; Ullapool; Wick
Wick and East Caithness Councillor, Andrew Sinclair negotiates removal of proposed boundary changes from Community Council shake-up. Today (16th January 2019) at a Special Meeting of the Highland Council, controversial proposals which would have seen radical changes to the boundaries of two Caithness Community Councils were shelved following lobbying from Wick and East Caithness Councillor Andrew Sinclair.
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely for some slight changes to the location of some turbines to lessen the impact on certain views. The original permission and this one is not within the power of the committee but they have the ability to enter an objection.
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands. These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.
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