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Waterfront regeneration plans in Portree and Ullapool at forefront of funding bid by Highland Council

Portree harbour. Picture by Sandy McCook.
Portree harbour. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Highland Council is focusing on Ross, Skye and Lochaber in its next round of bids to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Last year, the council successfully won £19.8 million investment in a cultural regeneration bid for Inverness.

It was one of three bids to the first round of the Levelling Up Fund. The other two projects – an NC500 transport plan and Wick harbour regeneration – didn’t make the cut.

However, the council is working to fine tune the two failed bids and apply again.

At the same time, it will take forward a three-prong bid for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.

Eyes on the waterfront

Coastal regeneration is the main focus of the council’s second round bid.

In Portree, the council is seeking support for a masterplan that will transform the harbour.

Over in Ullapool, a proposed waterfront regeneration will improve access to the ferry terminal and provide enhanced tourist facilities.

The plans for Fort William and Lochaber are less advanced, and council officers say they’re working to find a common theme to unite the various local projects.

In addition to this new bid, the council is resurrecting its plans for the NC500 and Wick.

The UK Government has asked for more evidence of community support for both projects. They also need more evidence of the socio-economic benefits.

For the NC500, this should include active travel opportunities. In Wick, more information is required about the commercial opportunities presented by offshore wind.

Inverness projects moving forward

The successful Inverness bid is moving at pace, with a project board in place.

It focuses on three projects that will drive the environmental, cultural and economic regeneration of Inverness.

The projects centre on the river area and the heart of the city.

City region deal Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle. Picture by Sandy McCook

In the city centre, the council will continue the redevelopment of Inverness Castle as a major visitor attraction, as well as delivering outdoor events space and a waste-water energy centre.

The second project will enhance the appeal of the historic Northern Meeting Park, which has been home to the Highland Games since 1864.

The park is currently in a poor state, and the council plans to develop a pavilion and enhanced outdoor events and exhibition space.

Finally, significant investment will take place at Bught Park, including the creation of a shinty grandstand and museum.

Councillors are asked to approve the bids at the final meeting of the Highland Council on Thursday prior to May’s election.

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