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Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update

29th March 2019

Week Commencing 25th March 2019

SpaceHub Sutherland:

The team's weekly presence in Tongue continued this week, and June Love from the team also delivered a presentation on the project to members of the Thurso & Wick Trades Union Council at its meeting this week. I attend all of the Trades Council's meetings, so it was good to hear the unanimously positive reaction to June's update from members (see Communications below for feedback on my discussion with members).

Also this week Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) announced the award of a contract for the design of the facility to be built on the Moine. HIE has appointed architectural firm, NORR Consultants, to lead on producing designs for the facility to be submitted for planning consent later this year. Along with sub-contractors Arup Engineers and ERZ landscape architects, the architects will work alongside the project management team. The design contract covers architectural services, mechanical and electrical engineering, civil engineering and a landscape architect. The team will be responsible for obtaining all necessary consents to enable construction to begin in 2020. HIE is also working to secure a commercial operator for the space hub, with an announcement of a preferred bidder expected in the next few months.

Energy & Business Services:

Last week's news that Restore Digital have announced the creation of 42 new job opportunities in Wick has been warmly welcomed by many. The Restore UK group will already be familiar in Caithness as the operator of the Nucleus facility in Wick, where around 30 people already work in the nuclear and Caithness archive. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/new-jobs-at-wick-nuclear-archive-fantastic-news-for-the-area-176163/

Enabling activities:

I was delighted to be present this week at the official opening of the UK's first Newton Room in North Highland College, Thurso. The opening was performed by Richard Lochhead MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, and had a number of guests from local schools, businesses and other organisations. The opening was followed by a public drop-in session to allow members of the public to see the space, and to find out about how it will work. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/newton-room-in-thurso-is-first-of-its-kind-in-uk-176144/ and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-47673298 The opening of the facility comes as Caithness Science Festival completed another very successful programme of events with a Science Fair in Wick that attracted several thousand visitors. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/a-day-of-fun-and-science-as-successful-festival-draws-to-a-close-176168/

Communications:

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:

I was in Golspie this week to take part in discussions on the potential for the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland to be put forward as a UNESCO World Heritage Area. The work is being led by the Peatlands Partnership, and will include a community consultation programme of events. To keep up to date with progress see http://www.theflowcountry.org.uk/world-heritage-site/

I attended the latest meeting of the Thurso & Wick Trades Union Council, where I gave my regular update on activities and issues from CNSRP and HIE perspectives. As highlighted above, June Love delivered a well-received update presentation on SpaceHub Sutherland, and I was able to update members on progress with some of the other key sectoral opportunities that are being taken forward in the area (including oil & gas and cruise ship development at Scrabster harbour and offshore wind at Wick). New T&WTUC Chair Davie Alexander attended his first CNSRP Advisory Board meeting last week, and this week he had a first meeting with CNSRP’s Independent Chair Ian Ross, so I’m delighted to see this important ongoing support from Unions.



Eann Sinclair

Area Manager, Caithness & Sutherland

 

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