Thurso priority projects include harbour redevelopment and community hub
A sympathetic redevelopment at Thurso harbour and a town community hub are two of the projects being explored as part of plans to drive Thurso forward.
The initiatives are contained in Thurso Community Development Trust's newly launched five-year strategic plan and the much-anticipated Tourism Development Plan for Thurso.
Both documents are the result of the community-led development and consultation the trust has been carrying out in Thurso over the 20 months since its formation. Board members are confident that while the plans are ambitious they are not "impossible to deliver" if the community gets on board.
Trust chairperson Helen Allan said that “a significant body of work has been achieved here in Thurso".
She explained: "We started last year with widespread consultation which gained close to 1200 responses and have continued throughout the past year having a deeper look at issues in tourism and finding the quieter voices in the community to give us their views.
"The result is a setting of the direction for the trust for the next five years and onwards.”
Tourism has been the focus of Thurso tourism development officer Scott Maclean. The development plan is the result of his year-long contract with the trust and identifies wellness and slow tourism as key areas to develop in the town, along with identifying key sites such as Thurso harbour that are seen as assets for the town as a destination.
Carol Paterson, the trust’s treasurer and a board member, added: “We are very thankful to the members of the community and local tourism industry who have attended consultations and workshops and given their views to shape the plan, and even more thankful to Scott for pulling that altogether.
"The project has given us the bones to work from and it is up to us now as a community to flesh out the plan.”
Both the strategic plan and tourism development plan are ambitious for the future of Thurso but not impossible to deliver.
The strategic plan sets the direction of the schemes the trust aims to concentrate on for the next five years and contains priority projects such as continuing to develop the successful Climate Challenge Fund project Thurso Grows, investigating the feasibility for a community hub and, under tourism, exploring options for sympathetic redevelopment at Thurso harbour, as well as working in partnership to regenerate Thurso town centre and create events and activities that celebrate the area's culture and identity.
Ms Allan explained: “Both the strategic plan and tourism development plan are ambitious for the future of Thurso but not impossible to deliver with dedication, skills and hard work for the Thurso community.
"In the 20 months since forming we have already achieved a huge amount of work for the town and that work is beginning to pay dividends. We are determined to remain this ambitious for Thurso and do the work needed to see it thrive.
"If we can do this much in just over one year, what can we achieve in five years? The future for Thurso as determined and developed for the people of Thurso is within reach.”
Copies of both plans can be viewed on Thurso Community Development Trust website – http://www.thursocdt.co.uk – and members of the public are welcome to submit comments directly to the trust which will be incorporated into future versions.