Wick regeneration project to benefit from additional funding

Wick regeneration project to benefit from additional funding

Members of the Highland Council’s Caithness Committee have approved additional funding for a project to bring new life to the site of a former derelict building on Wick High Street.

In September last year, the Scottish Government announced extra funding through the Town Centre Fund as part of its national economic recovery stimulus package, particularly aimed at supporting construction activity across Scotland.

The Highland Council has received an additional £1,066,000, providing an extra £56,104 for investing into Thurso and Wick.

Last week members agreed that £12,000 of this money will go towards additional works to complete a key project in Wick town centre.

Last year, the Highland Council successfully accessed grant funding from the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Fund and Town Centre Fund which provided funding for the Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) to acquire a derelict property with land at 126 High Street. HHA have been managing the demolition of the property before transferred the land to the Wick Development Trust for redevelopment.

The demolition and site clearance work undertaken by HHA has progressed well and is nearing completion. However, on completion of the demolition works it became apparent that the original scope of the works proposed to make good the exposed gable end of the adjacent property, was considered by the property owner as inappropriate and unsatisfactory.

Consequently, a more permanent solution involving stonework repairs was devised and agreed. This has left the project with a projected overspend of £12,000.

The decision by councillors means £12,000 of the extra Town Centre Fund will go to HHA to absorb this unforeseen package of additional works.

Councillor Nicola Sinclair, Caithness Committee chair, said: “The decision today means the project can be completed and the site passed to the community. At a time when communities have pulled together more than ever before during the coronavirus pandemic, I am sure that local people will have new and creative ideas for the sites that could benefit the people of Wick in the long term.”

All Town Centre Fund money needs to be committed by March this year and projects completed by September 2021.

Members have agreed that a special Committee Meeting be arranged next month to consider Council led projects which could benefit from the remaining £44,104 Town Centre Fund investment.

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