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Planning committee will be asked to approve alterations at Caithness Klics' new base

By Alan Hendry

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Councillors are being asked to give the go-ahead for work to be carried out at Caithness Klics' new base in Wick.

The young carers' charity is seeking planning permission to alter the entrance and boundary, erect an office building and site a storage container at the former Playbox Playgroup in Macleod Road.

Members of Highland Council's north planning applications committee will be asked to grant the application at a meeting next Tuesday.

There have been six objections, all highlighting the loss or reduction of turning space at the location near the former Hillhead Primary School.

A planning report states: “It is considered that the proposal accords with the principles and policies contained within the development plan and is acceptable in terms of all other applicable material considerations.”

Regarding the objections, the report says: “The site is accessed via existing arrangements on Macleod Road. However, the application proposes to relocate the existing steel gate further towards the northern (roadside) boundary so that it aligns with the pedestrian gate, creating further space within the site itself; the agent has clarified that this is to more comfortably accommodate the Klics minibus.

"It is understood that this area has historically been informally used for turning of vehicles, therefore the relocated gate, when closed, will reduce the space available for turning. The issue is somewhat exacerbated by the adjacent former Hillhead school site now being under private ownership which has also resulted in a loss of a historic informal turning area... The objections received in relation to the application relate solely to this loss of turning space. The ground referred to is now privately owned and within the grounds of the Caithness Klics site.”

The report notes that the proposed office building would be placed centrally within the site and would be timber clad with a black rubber roof covering 6m x 3.2m with a height of 2.3m.

It also points out that the storage container is already on site, having been required for additional space during the pandemic.

The report concludes: "The application is a relatively straightforward proposal to allow additional floorspace to be provided for an existing charity and raises no concern in terms of overall local or residential amenity impact."

It says the objections "are understood" but that they "cannot be addressed as part of this planning application".

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