Better broadband, improved transportation links and the impact of tourism on Skye are just some of the issues identified by Highland Council and are now part of a draft list of local strategic priorities
At the Isle of Skye and Raasay Area Committee held today (Oct 3) local Councillors, who identified the priorities met to discuss the issues. They include:
• Strengthening local democracy and community engagement
• Working with partners to support tourism
• Improving road, air and ferry links and broadband/mobile connectivity
• Improving school estate and developing further and higher education opportunities
• Affordable homes
• Community transport solutions
• Improved local healthcare and social care access
• Community works to meet local needs
Councillor Drew Millar said: “The fundamental issues for Skye and Raasay are connectivity - access to good broadband and mobile coverage and improving our road, ferry and particularly air links with, not just the rest of the region, but with the UK and beyond. Skye is world renowned as a tourist destination and the Council has done a huge amount to support local tourist infrastructure. However, these links with the outside world are essential in growing our whole economy and realising the full potential for our communities. We will also continue to work with partners to develop a tourism strategy and drive improvements.”
The Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson visited the Area Committee to hear about the local priorities and what the Council can do to help progress these.
She said: “Broadband connectivity is very high on our council agenda and this issue appears on the lists of all the areas’ priorities. The BT broadband contract is nearly completed and there are ongoing improvements with new and upgraded mobile phone masts underway. However there are still many areas with very poor connectivity and we now need to know what the Scottish Government’s plan is for 100% coverage. It is too important for business and leisure and our way of life. I am also very keen that we should work with partners, in particular Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to support tourism on Skye. ”
She added: “I am pleased to see local priorities being developed. This is the biggest Council in the UK, in geographical size and members. We cover diverse and widespread communities, each with their own unique challenges and needs. The Council is committed to a localism agenda, which means we really want to hear want matters to local people so that we can target our efforts and design our services accordingly.
“We have our Highland First Programme and each Area is now identifying their local priorities, which is a good start in actually empowering people to work in partnership with the Council to make real improvements and reduce inequalities across the Highlands. I want Area Committees to be really specific in identifying areas for local economic development and to create an action plan. We have a short time available in the term of this Council, but I am convinced that we can make some real inroads.”
Members debated the draft priorities which will be further defined and agreed at the next area committee meeting.