A Sutherland village is to become a showcase for how communities on the NC500 could benefit from the popular tourist route.
Brora has launched its ‘Vision for Brora’, a pilot project to show how partners can work together across a community to cater for NC500 tourists, and benefit from it in terms of jobs, skills and training.
A steering group has been set up involving community groups such as Clyne Heritage Society, Brora and District Action Group, Fascally Development Group, Brighter Brora and Brora Community Council in partnership with businesses such as Brora Golf Club, Diageo and Pictii, along with Highland Council and NHS Highland.
The group has identified priorities and these have gone out to the community as a survey for comment and further ideas.
Current ideas include creating a new visitor service hub in Fascally Park, akin to the continental ‘aires’ to cater for tourists, including motorhomes; new village gateways north and south with public art to highlight the town’s history and heritage; enhancing Station Square, the village centre and harbour, and improving access to the beaches and coastal walks.
Local councillor Deirdre Mackay said: “ I am delighted to see the enthusiasm and ambition of the community here in Brora and in particular, the representatives of the many community groups who work hard to make Brora a great place to live.
“Brora has a colourful and rich past, and the community wants to make much more of it.
“Diageo are busy expanding the Clynelish Distillery and they are keen to be involved with the project in terms of access to their skills.
“NHS Highland is involved as lead partner in the Brora locality plan. One of the priorities and recurring theme in the plan is the economy and the will of the village to explore the opportunities presented by NC500 in terms of jobs, skills, training.”
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Funding totalling £18,000 for scoping the Vision for Brora has come from Gordonbush wind farm and the North Highland Initiative (NHI), set up with the help of the Duke of Rothesay and the charity behind the NC500, although the route now has its own trading company.
NHI chairman David Whiteford said: “This is a great example of community engagement and supporting local leadership.
“NHI is delighted to work with the Brora community to help realise the ambition for the village. I am sure that the combined efforts and resources of the community, NHI and other stakeholders with turn the vision into reality.”