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Camps Bar gets go-ahead to transform former Sloans site in Wick

By Nicola Sinclair, Local Democracy Reporter

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The Camps Bar in Wick has received permission to develop the former Sloans site next door. Picture: Alan Hendry
The Camps Bar in Wick has received permission to develop the former Sloans site next door. Picture: Alan Hendry

Highland Council has granted planning permission for a new outdoor seating area next to the Camps Bar in Wick town centre.

The site is well known locally, as home to the former Sloans building. Highland Council demolished the building as part of the Wick town centre regeneration project.

The town’s popular Camps Bar now owns the land, and proprietor Calum Reid got the green light for his expansion plans on Wednesday.

Mr Reid’s planning application includes a raised seating area beside the existing pub, finished with local Caithness stone. This will increase capacity of the pub by 70 patrons. Mr Reid also intends to improve and repair the existing walls and add a disabled access ramp to the new seating area.

Local councillors said the plans will greatly enhance the derelict site, one of the most prominent targets of the town centre regeneration.

Concerns over noise and disabled access

However, the application attracted five objections from local residents. They expressed concerns about noise and overlooking, and also want the Camps to do more to improve the existing walls around the steep site.

But the biggest issue for the application is the lack of accessible toilets. While the Camps has toilet facilities inside, these are not fully accessible for disabled people.

Members of the north planning committee expressed regret about the toilets, but overall welcomed the development.

Council officers said the development would reuse a vacant brownfield site and deliver social and economic benefits to the town.

Speaking after the meeting, Wick councillor Raymond Bremner, who led the wider regeneration project, said: “I’m delighted that the council has agreed to support the application to develop the area of the former Sloans building.

“We managed to get rid of the eyesore. Now that planning permission has been granted, I’m really hopeful that we will see a space that will be used, that will enhance the amenity and will improve that area of the town.”

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