The Highland Council has awarded a contract to a world leading engineering design firm to carry out comprehensive flood protection studies for two Highland coastal towns. Thurso on the north coast and Golspie on the east coast have both suffered from flooding incidents over the years that has affected domestic and business properties and resulted in both towns being identified as Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) in the Highland and Argyll Local Flood Risk Management Plan.
The elections for the 74 seats on The Highland Council, being held on Thursday 4 May, will involve 165 candidates contesting all of the 21 multi-member wards. The breakdown of candidates is as follows: - Independent - 59 Labour and Co-operative party - 3 Liberal Democrat Focus Team - 1 Scottish Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship" - 1 Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 21 Scottish Green Party – 8 Scottish Labour Party – 15 Scottish Liberal Democrats – 19 Scottish Liberal Democrat Focus Team - 1 Scottish Libertarian Party – 1 Scottish National Party (SNP) – 31 Scottish Socialist Party – 2 UKIP – 1 No description – 2 Councillors are elected using the single transferable vote system so electors will be asked to mark their ballot paper, ranking candidates in preferential order.
The Highland Council has agreed all the recommendations made by the Redesign Board. The Board proposes a significant shift to localism.
Wipro has opened a new delivery centre in Inverness as part of our growth plan and service delivery for the Highland Council. 40 to 50 staff will be based at Moray House in the city centre.
On Thursday 9 March 2017, The Highland Council resolved to discontinue the provision of education at Kinbrace Primary School, which has been mothballed since the summer of 2013. The school's catchment area will be divided between those of Helmsdale and Melvich Primary Schools.
The Highland Council has agreed to extend funding to two CAB projects of up to £50,000. The Mental Health and Midwifery projects provide money and welfare advice to pregnant mums and those experiencing mental ill health.
On Thursday 9th March, the Council approved £1million additional capital monies to be spent on Highland roads. The Scottish Government, announced on 2 February 2017, an additional Capital Grant for Highland Council of £2.046m for 2017/18 and members have agreed to allocate £1million of this to roads.
A paper going to the Council meeting on 9 March will propose a £1 million spend of additional capital monies on roads infrastructure. The Scottish Government, announced on 2 February 2017, an additional Capital Grant for Highland Council of £2.046 million for 2017/18 and a paper to council will ask members to consider whether to allocate £1 million of this to roads.
Members of The Highland Council's Education, Children and Adult Services Committee have approved a management proposal for the Farr (Sutherland) associated school group. The new management entitlement covering Farr High and its associated Primaries of Farr, Altnaharra, Melvich and Tongue will include 1 Head Teacher (3 ‐18), 2 Depute Head Teachers (3 ‐18), and 5 Principal Teachers.
High speed fibre broadband is now available to order in Ardgay. Fibre services are completely different to existing broadband services, and download speeds in the village will see a boost from a previous maximum of 8Mbps, to up to 76Mbps.
Highland Council has launched the 1st step in automated telephone payments for customers. From 22/02/2017 customers will be able to contact the Service Centre on the payments line 01349 886605 to make a rent payment and get a rent balance.
In another challenging financial year, the Highland Council Administration has pledged to protect education services in the 2017/18 budget. The Highland Council will consider next year's budget at its meeting on Thursday 16 February.
The Council's budget gap for 2017/18, the difference between required expenditure and income, is £20.344m. Budget proposals include increasing the rates of Council Tax by the maximum allowed 3%.
From 1 April 2017, all non-domestic properties will be revalued by the Assessor, with rateable values recalculated. This will impact on the level of Non-Domestic rates paid by businesses.
Highland Council has published its Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process to help guide communities that wish to request community asset transfers of publicly owned buildings or land. The Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 gives community bodies the right to make requests for ownership, lease, management or use of public owned buildings or land whether or not they are available for sale or are deemed surplus to requirements by the owning body.
Budget Leader Cllr Bill Fernie welcomed the news that as a result of the budget deal agreed by Scottish Government, there will be a reduced cut to local authorities: "The deal effectively reduces our budget gap from £26 million to £20 million. This has meant that we have been able to reconsider some of the severe cuts to services and third sector groups which were necessary before.
The Administration of The Highland Council is hoping to balance the council's budget with far fewer job losses and cuts to services than previously feared. Following considerable analysis of potential savings and consultation with staff and opposition groups, the Administration have developed a package of proposals to take to the Council meeting on 16 February for approval.
Motorists are being advised that pay and display parking at Highland Council's headquarters car park comes into force on Monday 13 February. The pay and display scheme is part of the Council's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement across the Highlands.
A recommendation to discontinue education provision at the currently mothballed Kinbrace Primary School will be presented to the meeting of The Highland Council on 9 March 2017 for Members' consideration. Members of the Council's Education, Children's and Adult Services Committee have agreed to recommend to the Council that the Authority discontinues education provision at Kinbrace and re-assign its catchment area to Helmsdale Primary school with a small area around Forsinard being reassigned to Melvich Primary.
The Highland Council welcomes the confirmation from the Scottish Government that the Council's decision to close Achfary Primary School has not been called in by Ministers. The school has been mothballed since the end of session 2011/12, with pupils attending either Scourie or Kinlochbervie Primary Schools.