Caithness buildings to be redeveloped following community transfer

Caithness buildings to be redeveloped following community transfer

Members of the Highland Council’s Caithness Committee have agreed to transfer two community assets – one in Wick and one in Thrumster - to allow local groups to press ahead with exciting redevelopment plans.

At the meeting held yesterday, councillors approved to pass ownership of Loch Street garages and land in Wick to the St Fergus Bowling Club for £1. The Club’s proposal is to demolish the garages and construct an indoor bowling facility for members of the club and wider community to use.

The Loch Street garages are currently in poor condition and fly tipping has become a problem in the area. The bowling club has been in existence for 125 years and has strong ties to the local and wider community. A consultation with council tenants in Loch Street has taken place and overall, the majority of tenants are in favour of the proposal.

The second community asset transfer approved by the committee is for the sale of land located opposite Thrumster Primary School for £1 to Thrumster Community Development Company.

Their plans for the 5-acre site that is currently largely unused grassland and includes a playpark and tennis court, is to build a new, energy efficient hall which would act as a community hub, café and tourist information point. As part of the project they also plan to upgrade the existing play park and tennis court and improve the general amenity by planting trees and establishing a wildlife trail in the eastern area known locally as the Whins’.

Thrumster Community Development Company has over 50 members, with significant volunteer support and have developed their proposals with support from the wider community. The group, formed in 2019 has experience of project planning and already cuts grass at the north of the park and maintains village green area on behalf of the Council’s amenities team, as well as other areas of land.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Ron Gunn wishes both community groups well with their plans. He said: “The St Fergus Bowling Club has a track record of fund raising and delivering development projects so I am sure their plans to create a new indoor bowling facility will progress well. I am particularly pleased that the wider community will be able to benefit from having this new year-round bowling facility.

“As for the ambitious plans of the Thrumster Community Development Company, having a new energy efficient hall that will act as a community hub is going to be a huge asset to the local community and to all the visitors to the area. There is a lot of work to do so I wish the group every success as they now press on with their plans.”

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