What next for Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal?
19th December 2018
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.".
At the meeting of The Highland Council (on 13 December) Councillors approved the publication of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal Annual Report on the Council's website at https://www.highland.gov.uk/cityregiondeal
The report details the region-wide geographic spread and additionality created by projects in the Inverness and Highland City-Region showing the spread of projects across the region.
Stuart Black, Director of Development and Infrastructure explained: "The expenditure in the report is shown up to March 2018 and I am pleased to say that spending has increased over the period since then and we have now spent in the order of £5m across the City-Region deal."
He added: “In addition to the digital project in the City-Region Deal we have also gained £4.2m of local full fibre network funding for Inverness, Fort William, Wick and Thurso for ultra-fast network in those communities which is in addition to the City-Region Deal. This is a very good example of a project that has been built out of this partnership for the City-Region Deal.”
Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson thanked the Programme Manager for the City-Region Deal, John Robertson for his work on the programme and said:
“We are doing a very good job here in Highland on the City-Region Deal; we are achieving and making excellent progress indeed. We are building on the Wi-Fi project that we have been putting in to 14 towns and villages right across the Highlands. We are the only Council in Scotland that was awarded funding for ultra-fast broadband and we'll have it in Inverness, Fort William, Wick and Thurso. This is going to provide astonishing benefits to our University, colleges and our businesses. It really is a potential economic booster. In addition the City-region deal is funding affordable housing right across the Highlands including sites in Inverness, Drumnadrochit and Ullapool.”
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.
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.
The Highland Council is to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of a transient visitor levy in the New Year. During the Council's public engagement activity during November, a strong theme was support for raising income from tourism, including a tourist levy, which could support local infrastructure, as well as the tourism sector itself.
[Printer Friendly Version]