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Wick Wakes Up As Development Pace Quickens
A Snapshot - December 2005

Wick Developing On Many Fronts Now

14 December 05
Wick's Renaissance Continues
Two More Business units at the Business Park, Lochshell, Wick
Highlands And Islands Enterprise have applied for permission which has been granted to put up two more units each with two spaces that can be leased singly or together.  The unit already build at the business park has been leased to the Health Service for Dental Training Unit and work will begin shortly to make it ready for equipment to be used.  Pentarc in Thurso are the Architects and the contract for building the units has been awarded to Tullochs.

13 December 05

The contract for the construction of an All Weather Pitch at Wick High School Playing fields has been awarded to Malcolm Construction Services Ltd. The floodlit synthetic turf pitch is to be constructed on the playing field of the school at a cost of £584,000 met from The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service.  The pitch will be developed as a multi-sports use playing surface for use by the school and the community by arrangement through the school. The award of contract means that work will start within the next few weeks and completed by late summer 2006. Notes to Editor: Malcolm Construction Services Limited are part of the Malcolm Group - for more details about the company please see their website at: http://www.malcolmgroup.co.uk/construction/contracts.html

Homebase Shopping complex (7 shops)

Tesco - Site selected by the company out past the former Caithness Glass Factory

Telford Street - New Houses – Telford House (voluntary group)

Former Fountain Forestry Building acquired by Tullochs for redevelopment.

Caithness Glass factory acquired by New Park/Tullochs for redevelopment

78 New Houses at Old Wick
M M miller contractors are already well under way with this new development getting the roads, pipes etc down.



28 new houses at Harrowhill on the site of the earlier glass factory.
Another M M Miller contract for Pentland Housing.



Pulteneytown Family Centre
The voluntary group that runs a local nursery has raised over £300,00 to redevelop the building behind Telford Street to become a modern Family Centre offering high quality child care and creche facilities.  The development has taken longer than anticipated due to problems acquiring the property initially but that was resolved last year and the project has forged on to raise the necessary funding and building is being carried out by Pentland Construction.

New Waste Water Treatment works

Several new waste water schemes around Wick.

New pipe-work for water and waste water in Wick already in place.

Road being relaid at the entrance to Wick to Toft.

Bridge Street to be relaid.  A major upgrade of the road is coming soon.

Gas pipe-work to be relaid.

Blackstairs rebuilt. Pathway from Blackstairs to harbour being relaid.

Salt Cellars at Harbour to be refurbished as exhibition places for Wick Heritage Museum.

Dental Training Unit At New Business Park Now To Start In 2006.

CCTV for the centre of Wick is up and running and will have extensions added at later dates.

Maternity Downgrading Stopped and New Obstetricians To Be Employed.

Airport House - a new Addition For Education and Social Work in the former Pearl building at the airport opening shortly.  the building has been completely refurbished to a high standard and fitted with all the IT and communications equipment to deliver courses and much more.

Grant Street Care Home - A £350,000 refurbishment has been completed recently ensuring that this council run facility which was possibly to have closed has been given a new lease of life and ensured that 12 jobs are kept in Wick and that people with care needs can stay in the heart of the community in Pulteneytown.

Streets Of Wick
Widening Of Shore Lane now means that road is much safer and makes it easier for vehicles to get round the corner and safer for all concerned.

Wick Recycling Centre
Highland was at the bottom of the recycling areas in Scotland but will shortly be one of the top recycling areas due to investment in centres such as the one at Wick.  This one joins a list of such centre including recently Thurso.  Wick is getting getting greener in more ways than one.

Wick River & Wildlife
The Wick River area is shortly to have new platform to view birds.  It will be built to very high specifications near the reed beds and will allow more people to see the wide range of birds that use the Wick river throughout the year.  The Ranger service has been working on this project over the past year.
The islands in Wick river are now to be looked at with a view to making improvements and deal with erosion to some of them.  A new tree planting scheme may be undertaken in the area.

Wick Harbour - The Potential Jewel In The Crown
Undoubtedly there could be little more fitting way to see Wick in a few years than that the harbour once a huge part of Wick's reason for being is once again brought into a significant place in the areas fortunes.

As Wick harbour looks as if it may develop via Wick 21 and new shopping facilities there comes the possibility that the link span sitting at Wick harbour may be placed at the refurbished North Pier and a new ferry service begin to arrive from Orkney. Wick may well soon be transformed into the largest shopping town in the north once Tesco arrives. The Wick 21 group includes the possibility of new shopping developments to add to those that are already rapidly rising in front of us. Success tends to breed success and the momentum is certainly gathering pace. More is certainly in the pipeline but it is too early to go into print. Even the activities off North Action Group in recently achieving a turnaround to save the maternity unit has put Wick and Caithness into the media spotlight more often. For many reasons and not least the potential rundown caused by the decommissioning programme at Dounreay many eyes have been and are being trained on the north. It is not all gloom and doom. In all of this many people see opportunities that the changes will bring. Some of these are beginning to be seen and it will need to much more. But at least in Wick there are more signs of activity to halt the decline than seen in the past 20 years.

North Pier given a £3.5 million makeover ensuring it will be safe for another 100 years.
Shore Road has been protected with thousands of tonnes of rock and a new wall after being pounded by the waves for the past few years.  From a crumbling seafront it has now got more protection than it eve had.

Wick 21 - The Most Ambitious Redevelopment For Wick Harbour Since It Was Built
A new group from the local community with John Sutherland and Malcolm Caithness leading the venture. An ambitious outline of what the harbour could look like with redevelopment on all sides, a marina, new shopping malls, a gate to control water flow in and out of the harbour raising the water level back up the river and into the town giving the possibility for many new water related activities centred around boating. A new five star hotel with training facilities for staff. A new footbridge.
Land to be reclaimed in the river and at the harbour. Regeneration of buildings around the harbour opening up investment opportunities. Wick 21 outlined its plans at a public meeting in Wick High School on 9 December 2005 members of the public.  there are many parts to this ambitious scheme that will take many years to come to fruition.  Along the way it will open up many investment and development opportunities.  If even half of the plans are successful it will change the face of Wick harbour and could be the engine driving forward renewal in the East of Caithness.  The fact that this project is firmly rooted in the business community is likely to ensure it will be moved forward with business expertise.  They have however moved to ensure that the council and voluntary sector are involved from the beginning.

Growing Numbers Of Job Opportunities In the Area.

Pulteneytown People's Project - A Wick Community Rising
Pulteneytown People’s Project about to move to new larger premises across the road in Murchison Street. The group formed only a couple of years ago have outgrown their current premises - two downstairs flats. Now they will have a larger set of offices in completely refurbished offices with in a block of four council houses. The two upper flats will be made available to some clients in their Homelink project before they move on to other tenancies. PPP have built a bike track at Grizzly Park.
Amongst many projects now flowing from PPP is a very ambitious one to build a £2million community centre  See Planning Application – and they already have several applications in for funding to cover that amount. At the same time the group are looking to make an impact on the whole town with plans to makeover the Rosebank Park with new and upgraded facilities in yet another project. That project also has some basic funding already in place and the search is on for more to meet the costs of an ambitious plan to put in indoor bowling and a tennis court under cover to deal with the northerly weather.

Highland Council Preparing To Do Its Part In Redevelopment
The Highland Council is also about to add to the activity in Wick over the next few years by beginning to look for a development partner to build new council offices to rehouse staff and redevelop part of the centre of Wick now occupied by its antiquated offices.

The police have moved from the centre of Wick to anew police station and the old police station has been sold for redevelopment. Stevens the transport firm long known at Wick harbour and now based firmly in Scrabster means that a large building in the harbour area is awaiting redevelopment. More is likely to be heard on that in the near future.

Airport Improvements
Wick airport had a massive £800,000 spent on it and it is now a modern facility and gateway to Caithness and the north.

Wick Expanding In Other Directions
In addition although people often say nothing is happening in Wick in fact building of new houses never really stopped as can be seen by anyone heading out to Papigoe. In fact the houses between Wick and Papigoe are almost continuous all the way out and spaces rapidly filling in.

New houses at Old Wick will undoubtedly mean that an increasing number of families will be within the catchment area of South School that serves Pulteneytown. With two housing developments now underway an increase in the number of families moving in to the area will give that part of town a great shot in the arm. The new houses are in easy walking distance of the new shops and Lidl’s.

And Yet More For Wick
It seems that Wick’s fortunes are on the move and adding to the growing list of developments on the way are -
Caithness Heat And Power Company Ltd
A company set up by Highland Council to move forward the development of a wood Chip Heating scheme for up to 500 homes in the Pulteneytown area. Here again this is not pie in the sky as the money is already committed - £3.5 million. Staff are in place and the scheme is proceeding. Nothing much to see yet but plans are being drawn and in 2006 we will begin to see the first pipework being laid connecting to anew powerhouse near the Old Pulteney distillery. If successful it is hoped the scheme will be extended across Wick and later if it can be made viable to Thurso. This is to take advantage of the forests now maturing in the west of Caithness and North Sutherland. Despite the controversy and doubters the scheme is moving ahead and with the price of energy currently may prove to be more successful than originally thought. Time will tell but it is a hugely important development that will put Wick on the Alternative energy map in yet another way.  Wick also has a Solar Roof at the harbour generating power and providing the power to light the harbour area lowering the cost to the Wick Harbour Authority and generating some income.  Jobs have already been created by this project and several more will come about as the system is installed.  Running on wood chip there will be requirement to operate the boiler house.  A new energy centre is also to be opened to give information to prospective users of the sytem which hopefully will reduce heating costs.

Wick Tourist Businesses Get Winter Boost As Activity Levels Rise
And all this activity both in progress and yet to come has already begun to have marked affect on Wick. Wick has become busier lately with construction workers, road workers and a range of viziers including architects, engineers, consultants and so on who all have to stay somewhere giving more business to hotels and bed and breakfasts, shops and so on. Indeed the knock on effect is beginning to show with some places being booked up ever since the summer. An out of season mini boom has carried on past the summer and looks like carrying on well into 2006.

Heritage In Wick Also Pulling Investment In
And near to Wick quietly working away is the development at Girnigoe Castle. The biggest castle in the north of Scotland may well become one of the biggest visitor attractions over the next few years as the work carries on past the archaeological phase into a development phase and all that that involves.

Wick Heritage Museum Hoping For Heritage Award
The Wick Heritage Museum awaits the outcome of its bid for funding to do major makeover and become a fully fledged registered museum employing staff for the first timeThe Wick Society that runs the wick Heritage Museum continues to develop and taking over the old salt cellars as show cases will not only tidy up an eyesore but give them valuable places to put items that will be of interest to visitors.

Describing Wick In A Few Years Time
One of the busiest bustling towns in the north of Scotland sitting on a large busy harbour incorporating a complex of marina and leisure facilities.  Over the years wick has become a magnet for shopping from all over the north and attracts a growing number of people to work in the increasing number of firms moving to Caithness to take advantage of living in the far north of the Highlands.  Wick with its unique transport connections of rail, sea and air put in a strong position to attract firms that need to be able to get in and out quickly and the fact that Broadband has been in place for sometime means that communications are excellent for any hi-tech firm who wish to take advantage of a workforce keen to live and work in the area.

Photo Gallery of Changing Wick 11 December 2005