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Monday, February 6, 2023

Disappointment as Highland Misses Out on Levelling Up Funding  

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Disappointment has been expressed by senior councillors following the announcement that two bids submitted to the Levelling Up Fund by the Highland Council were unsuccessful.

Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans said:

“We are very disappointed with the news that the bids we submitted for the redevelopment of Portree Harbour and the improvements to the NC500 route have been unsuccessful.

“Both projects are important for supporting the local economy and delivering a quality infrastructure and environment that not only benefits the local communities but the wider Highlands as well.

“The UK Government have confirmed that they will provide us with written feedback on the unsuccessful applications.

“Once we receive this feedback, we will need to consider our position before deciding whether to resubmit the bids for the next round of Levelling Up Funding.”

The North Coast 500 bid concentrating on the following three elements:

•Achnasheen to Kishorn: NC500 tourist route and Kishorn Port Access.

•Ullapool to Bettyhill: NC500 tourist route & key North Sutherland vehicle access.

•North Coast 500 Green Tourism Project

The second stand-alone bid under the Heritage and Culture strand was for Portree Harbour and Village regeneration. 

The key elements of the bid included:-

•harbour upgrade

•new access arrangements

•new berthing and mooring options

•new quayside facilities

•relocation of fuel tanks

Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee also expressed his disappointment.

He said:

“This is very, very disappointing news and looking through all the successful bids it is even more disappointing to see the lack of support for rural authorities like Highland and of course island communities.

“A huge amount of work was done locally on Skye and also at council level to submit what looked like a very strong and very comprehensive bid that would have transformed Portree Harbour and also supported the wider Skye economy and of course, the community groups who were an integral part of putting the bid together are also really disappointed by the news.

“The council will carefully go through the feedback about the bid and then discussions can take place to look at how the work done to submit the strong bid can still be used to improve things going forward.”

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