The Syrian Refugee Crisis

There was a large turnout of village residents for the public meeting explaining what efforts the council is undertaking to house Syrian refugee families, fleeing the conflict in their home country, as part of a British Government scheme. As there is spare housing in the village – flats repeatedly refused by other people on the…

Green light for earlier gritting

We’ve been blessed with some good weather as we enter the autumn months, and unlike previous years the council’s winter maintenance teams haven’t needed to swing into serious action yet. Last year Lochaber councillors rejected the winter plans presented by officers, as inadequate and inconsistent with our area’s needs. That caused an enormous row with…

Reassurance sought on fire stations

When the national Police and Fire services were created by the Scottish Government, councillors lost any real ability to scrutinise the work of these services in their area. Whereas before councillors set priorities based on the needs of their local communities, these decisions are effectively now made at a national level. There are opportunities to…

Council leader challenged on city/region deal

This morning the Press and Journal contains an article with the headline “Inverness is in the money,” about the likely signing of the contract between Highland Council and both the British and Scottish Governments, that will see money allocated to the City/Region Deal released. This £315 million package has been applauded by senior councillors and…

Inverness ignoring priorities in Lochaber

Two parallel universes must exist in the council chamber in Fort William, as the press department sanctioned version of proceedings at the local area committee meeting differs from my experience of the same meeting. An important item on the agenda was the agreement of a set of priorities for Lochaber. These include things like the…

Historic graveyard knocked apart by council

Some people could ask is a stone wall really that important. Others would suggest the council shouldn’t spend money on replacing like for like. That was pretty much the attitude of my councillor colleagues when I tried to persuade them to replace the wall at this historic graveyard with another stone wall. Yet, one councillor told…

E-newsletter – Issue 3

In my latest newsletter there’s an update about plans for what would be the largest community land purchase in Scottish history and news of how council officers tried to extend the commercial grass cutting contracts across the Highlands without approval from councillors. You can read it in detail here.

Demand for pupil support answers

In a significant u-turn the council has confirmed that it will reverse a cut in funding Additional Support Needs in primary and secondary schools across the Highlands. This follows a backlash from councillors, parents and teachers, as new funding allocations for individual schools were announced earlier this month. Whilst this is good news, as the…