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Strengthening town centres in Caithness and Sutherland


By David G Scott


Highland Council is asking communities and other stakeholders for their thoughts and opinion on a draft strategy to improve five town and village centres in Caithness and east Sutherland.

This slide from the regeneration meeting in Wick on Monday shows how derelict buildings could be spruced up.
This slide from the regeneration meeting in Wick on Monday shows how derelict buildings could be spruced up.

The draft Caithness and Sutherland Town Centre Strategy presents several potential actions for Thurso, Wick, Brora, Dornoch and Golspie. These actions came from the findings of the 2018 Town Centre Health Check undertaken by the council and are aimed at making the centres more attractive, active or accessible.

This can benefit those who use the town centres – residents, workers or visitors – and strengthen the businesses and services based there.

Councillor Matthew Reiss, chairman of the Caithness Committee, said: “With the challenges we are facing in Caithness we need to ensure that the town centres are thriving and attractive places.

"The town centre health checks provided us with valuable data about the current situation in our main town centres and this strategy document now provides an excellent opportunity to set out what needs to happen to deliver the change that’s needed.

"It’s also a timely piece of work, particularly given the momentum currently being generated by local people to transform Wick town centre.”

Town centre health checks are seen as a means of assessing the strength, vitality and performance of town centres over time. To make the information easier to access, a Story Map is available on the council’s website which illustrates the circumstances and findings for each town centre.

Councillor Richard Gale, chairman of the Sutherland County Committee, said: “Town centres in Sutherland are at the heart of our communities and we must help to find ways to make the most of them.

"I’m very pleased to see the town centre strategy being prepared as it will set out a plan for addressing the issues which were found as part of last year’s town centre health checks.”

The consultation on the draft strategy starts on Friday, June 14, and runs until August 23. View and comment on the draft strategy online at consult.highland.gov.uk

Anyone without internet access can view the document online at Highland Council public libraries, service points and access points. A paper copy of the documentation is available to view in mobile libraries operating in the Caithness and Sutherland area and at the Highland Council headquarters – Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX. This documentation is available for inspection free of charge and during normal opening hours. Anyone requiring a large print copy or needing more information can email: devplans@highland.gov.uk or phone: 01349 886608.



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