A THREE-year 50-point action plan for regenerating the Caithness and North Sutherland economy has been agreed by key stakeholders.
The plan has been developed from the regeneration strategy which went out for consultation a year ago, and input from the Caithness Conference in September. As a result, the four main aims of the strategy have been developed into a more detailed set of actions, tailor-made for the region’s particular challenges.
The 50 actions are divided into five main categories: investing in infrastructure and services; developing business and industry assets; developing people; developing Dounreay assets and developing new opportunities through inward investment.
Each specific project, such as the creation of a new Centre for Energy and Environment; is briefly described and provided with information on its proposed key partners; estimated costs where known and key milestone dates in the project’s development.
The actions cover a comprehensive range of topics from developing an employment brokerage service to lobbying for public sector jobs dispersal.
The plan was agreed on Friday (December 14) by representatives of the four main partners in the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership: Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); The Highland Council; The Nuclear Decommissioning (NDA) and the Scottish Government.
Sandy Cumming, HIE chief executive, said: “Every successful campaign depends heavily on sound preparation and setting realistic objectives. This plan promises excellent value for Caithness and North Sutherland and I’m confident we’ll see some exciting results as we begin to deliver its objectives.”
The action plan is a working document. It will be published and updated regularly to show progress being made, and amended as new opportunities are identified and circumstances change.
Terry Selby, of the NDA, added: “There are some excellent opportunities outlined in this proposal. It recognises the most promising resources available in this area upon which to build economic regeneration and sets out clear projects which make best use of these to deliver a sustainable economy for decades to come.”
The Highland Council, said its chief executive Alistair Dodds, is committed to providing a positive environment for new and existing projects to flourish.
“There are a number of different ways that these objectives can be encouraged beyond direct investment,” he said. “Highland Council understands the importance of its role in this vital undertaking and we intend to devote our resources to supporting its success.”
A number of initiatives set out in the plan are already in hand and from January 2008 progress on these and on newly proposed projects can be measured against the published schedule.
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