Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where was I?

I promised a few topics in the last post but failed to deliver... until now!

Kirkwall Masterplan

The Masterplan has now hit the streets, and is available for inspection and comment- please take this opportunity. There is a lot in it, but remember these are the opinions of the consultants and not definitive statements of what is good or bad. Certainly there are things in it I don't agree with, and things not addressed that I would have expected to see. For example, coastal protection at Weyland, and questioning why Kirkwall should grow, when the movement to Kirkwall is from the country and isles.

The consultants presenting the Kirkwall Masterplan did so at the same meeting as different consultants presenting the Stromness Masterplan. I asked if the different groups agreed with each other's findings, but got no takers for a straight reply.

Business Improvement Districts

This is a scheme where an area can be designated as a Business Improvement District following a vote of business ratepayers in the area, and if the vote agrees this a mandatory levy can be imposed on all the business ratepayers in that area to be used by the group set up to manage the BID, generally with match funding from the local authority. I'm not sure about this, as the voting mechanism suggests to me that it could be forced through with only about 30% of businesses actually supporting it- but the nature of the proposed improvements will determine whether it is worth going for.

New Arts Theatre

This seems likely to happen as part of the new KGS. I think this is great, as it is more community facilities in the Papdale area of the town, and will get a lot of use from the school as apparently loads of KGS expressive arts groups are using the Mill Street Arts Theatre at present.

I share misgivings as to how the money for this can be found when it is not a priority, but accept the arguments that this has been spoken about for 30 years and there is no way we'll ever have such an opportunity like this again for generations- savings accrue from the fact that part of the rationale for KGS is greatly improved expressive arts facilities, which can share elements of a new Arts Theatre.

New Tesco

It's here and it's getting bigger. But it could be worse for local retailers as it could have been in addition to Somerfield (although that would have become a bigger Co-op, following further supermarket takeovers). What we must do is ensure planning gain from the new development, so that AT LEAST we get a much better looking store, and road improvements.

Fuel Prices, Councillor's Surgery at KGS, Steven Slags Off The Stromness Pierhead Proposals coming up next. Heard that before?