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Wick councillor seeks completion of car park redesign as Covid test centre moves out


By Alan Hendry

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Councillor Raymond Bremner outside the Covid testing centre in Wick in May 2021. Picture: Alan Hendry
Councillor Raymond Bremner outside the Covid testing centre in Wick in May 2021. Picture: Alan Hendry

Highland Council leader Raymond Bremner is pushing for improvements to be finished off at Wick's main car park now that the Covid testing centre has been removed.

The centre, which occupied a large section at the western end of the riverside car park, was expected to be dismantled and taken away in early August but the site has been cleared this week.

Councillor Bremner now wants to see the completion of a £125,000 package of redesign works in the area that had been well under way when the testing facility was installed a year and a half ago.

The SNP member for Wick and East Caithness pointed out that the car park was one of the first issues he wanted to tackle in 2018 after the local authority committed to improving the town centre, but it had taken time to secure the capital funding.

The scheme involved removal of the old trolley bunds and extension of the car park to accommodate motorhomes and campervans. Work started towards the end of 2019 and had to be balanced with the winter gritting programme.

Councillor Bremner pointed out that the project had been nearing completion when the pandemic hit in March 2020.

He said a number of actions remained outstanding at that point – notably the lining of the car park, including delineation of the area for motorhomes and campervans, and surveying for new locational and directional signage as well as landscaping.

Wick Development Trust will be taking forward the redesign of the bus stance area, he added.

“It’s good that the testing centre has been removed ahead of schedule and I’m really hoping that we can now get on and finish the redesign works of the car park area," Councillor Bremner said.

The walk-through Covid testing centre had occupied one end of Wick's riverside car park since January 2021. Picture: Alan Hendry
The walk-through Covid testing centre had occupied one end of Wick's riverside car park since January 2021. Picture: Alan Hendry

"A lot of work went into getting the funding in place and it was unfortunate that Covid delayed the redesign works being completed.

"I’ll be looking to speak to the lead officers of the project to see how quickly we can complete the outstanding tasks. It’s an essential focus for the improvement of the riverside area as part of our commitment to regenerating the town centre and making it more welcoming to locals and visitors alike.”

The walk-through Covid testing centre opened in January 2021. It was part of a network of local and regional testing sites across Scotland operated on behalf of the UK government by private firm Mitie.

The Wick centre took up 12 parking bays intended for campervans and motorhomes.

Free testing for Covid has now ended for most people in Scotland.

Scottish Government advice states: "If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should stay at home and avoid contact with others until you feel better. Testing remains for specific groups in order to protect highest risk settings and support clinical care."


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