Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
27th December 2018
Weeks commencing 10th & 17th December 2018.
The UKVL team was in Tongue last week to hold another drop-in session to update local residents on progress with the project. It was good to hear that the team are producing a newsletter as part of the commitment to communicating, and that this is now available on the projects web page at http://www.hie.co.uk/regional-information/area-information/caithness-and-sutherland/uk-space-port/default.html .
Energy & Business Services:
Simec Atlantis Energy has ended 2018 with the successful redeployment of two tidal turbines in the inner sound of the Pentland Firth following maintenance at Nigg Energy park. The redeployment was carried out earlier this week from the vessel Seabed Stingray last weekend. For pictures of the installation see the company's twitter feed at https://twitter.com/simecatlantis
I joined Caithness Chamber CEO Trudy Morris and board members of Wick Harbour Authority this week to welcome representatives of an offshore wind company to Caithness. We outlined the advantages to doing business from the east coast of Caithness and Sutherland, particularly in the light of the area's strong supply chain capabilities, and the strategic geographic position of key ports such as Wick harbour, with its excellent combination of air, sea, road and rail connectivity. As most of the scaffolding has come down from the buildings on Wick's harbourfront that will house the Beatrice Offshore operations base, the transformational effect of offshore wind on the onshore infrastructure is becoming even clearer (see my online blog for photos).
Delighted to see innovative Thurso-based company Envision Engineering & Design moving into larger premises, as its client base grows. It's particularly good to note the recruitment of Gaius Bews, who originally came to the company through the ScotGrad graduate placement programme, which is part-funded by CNSRP partner HIE. http://news.hie.co.uk/all-news/new-staff-and-premises-for-expanding-caithness-company/
The latest developments in the rollout of fibre broadband include the Talmine area of north Sutherland, which is the closest community to the proposed Sutherland Spaceport development being taking forward by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Work is moving at a good pace with the first of three proposed "street cabinets" in position and almost ready to start taking orders from customers. A further two are expected to be completed in the coming months. These cabinets have come in through gainshare (clawback from BT through higher than expected take up of the services across the Highlands and Islands programme) and through extra funding made available through efficiencies made as the programme has rolled out. Whilst these cabinets may not cover everyone in the Talmine Exchange area, anyone not able to get a 30 Mbps broadband service will be included in the Scottish Government's R100 programme which is currently in procurement with work due to start late in 2019. Background on the H&I rollout is available at http://www.hie.co.uk/regional-information/digital-highlands-and-islands/can-i-get-it.html
As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP's partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:
The Executive Board of CNSRP came together last week under the Chair of Ian Ross to discuss its forward strategy, and I was delighted to be asked to take part as the recent holder of the CNSRP Manager post. The meeting was also the first opportunity to welcome Highland Council’s new Chief Executive Donna Manson, whose participation was particularly helpful. I have agreed to work with Ian Ross to produce a paper based on discussions, which can then go to both Executive Board and Advisory Board for discussion in the New Year.
I took part in the Highland Community Planning Partnership Board this week, where it was good to hear about the progress being made across the Highland Council area in addressing inequalities. The Sutherland Community Planning Partnership has made good progress over 2018, and I am delighted to have seen real enthusiasm at the meeting of the Caithness Community Planning Partnership that I chaired last month. We are looking forward to having three new postholders in place from January, through Caithness Voluntary Group, which will significantly enhance our work in the four Caithness localities. Find out more about Community Planning in Highland at http://www.highlandcpp.org.uk/