At the Highland Council meeting held on, 30 June 2022, elected Members agreed to progress the submission of two separate bids for round two of the UK Levelling Up Fund, these include the North Coast 500 (Transport Bid) and Portree Harbour (standalone Heritage bid).
Economy and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Cllr Ken Gowans said:
“The Levelling Up Fund offers Highland an opportunity to bid for funds that will make a transformational impact across our communities.
“Officers and community groups have collaborated to build two strong bid applications for round two of the fund and we are confident that they demonstrate community partnership, place making and significant economic and infrastructure improvements to both the North Coast 500 and Isle of Skye communities.
“Improved transport connectivity and active travel across parts of the North Coast 500 area, Green Tourism Project and the upgrade to Portree Harbour to a quality we all aspire to achieve across Highland is ambitious but one that offers resilience and economic strengthening in rural communities.”
Members agreed to the proposed resubmission of a transport bid based on the North Coast 500.
Concentrating the funding into three elements which are costed at £44m and outlined below:
•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
Members also agreed, to make a second stand-alone bid under the Heritage and Culture strand for Portree Harbour and Village regeneration.
The harbour area in Portree is an important cultural and heritage asset for the Isle of Skye and acts as an important gateway to the island.
This project aligns with the Skye and Raasay Future (SARF) ambitions and offers the potential to transform Portree harbour and waterfront area, supporting the local economy and delivering a quality infrastructure and environment which will deliver key benefits for the area.
The key elements of the bid include:-
•new access arrangements
•new berthing and mooring options
•new quayside facilities
•relocation of fuel tanks
There will be two further rounds of the UK Levelling Up Funds and it is hoped to resubmit the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency bid, similarly Ross, Skye and Lochaber Constituency in Round 3.
Local Members will be fully involved in the process, and it is anticipated that Round 3 will be open for submission around summer 2023.
The Levelling Up Fund bid report can be found here