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Weekly update, 9th March

Tourism, Food & Drink

A last reminder that tonight (Friday) CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise will be supporting a public meeting in John O’Groats to present ideas for a further part of the redevelopment of John O’Groats. The public art project has been in development for some time, having been the subject of a competition to identify designs for a piece of public art. Noted arts company Dalziel & Scullion will present their proposal, entitled “Nomadic Boulders” at the meeting at 7pm in the Village Hall, John O’Groats.–groats-sculpture.html#sthash.rls4TF0X.dpbs

Good to hear that Aurora Leisure, the company run by The Thurso Cinema owner Rob Arthur, has been made preferred bidder for a recently-closed cinema in north Wales. Aurora Ltd will take on the operation of Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema for Denbighshire Council, and Rob tells me that the offer was based largely on the work done at Thurso Cinema since its reopening. Administration for the Scala Cinema will be done from Thurso, further supporting employment at Thurso Cinema.

This week saw the opening of applications for the Highlands and Islands Food & drink Awards. There has been considerable activity in the food and drink industry in the north this year, so it would be good to see nominations for local companies and individuals appearing in one of the range of categories for this year’s awards. More information on the awards at

Enabling activities:

CNSRP partner the Highland Council has begun a 6 week extension to its consultation on the next Caithness & Sutherland Local Development Plan, following a number of additional suggested sites received during its recent consultation. Photos of the sites (including Georgemas Junction near Halkirk and Viewfirth in Thurso) and information on them can be accessed at

Highland Council is also undertaking a consultation on the future of school, public and dial-a-bus transport services in Sutherland, as it carries out an examination of expenditure across its entire operation to balance its finances over the next four years. Short questionnaires can be found for the general public at Transport Programme – Sutherland Public Questionnaire Survey; for community and representative groups and community councils at Transport Programme – Sutherland Community Questionnaire Survey; and for current and prospective suppliers at Transport Programme – Sutherland Supplier Questionnaire Survey.


As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • I took part this week in a meeting on current and future activity on the Far North railway line. The meeting was organised by the North Line Action Group, and had representatives from Network Rail and Scotrail in attendance to discuss concerns about current performance of the passenger service in particular.