Plans afoot to develop centres of excellence

19th September 2012 from Caithness Courier

Two new centres of excellence are being planned in Caithness.

That was what members of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group heard at their latest meeting in Thurso.

Roy Kirk, Highlands and Islands Enterprise area manager for Caithness and Sutherland, said one of the centres would be based in the Scrabster area and focus on marine development.

The other one will be located in Wick and be an operational and maintenance base for offshore wind.

After the meeting Mr Kirk said he could not give further details at the moment as the developments are at “an early stage”. He pointed out the centre at Scrabster would incorporate Thurso and the Wick centre would take advantage of the planned harbour developments.

“I’d expect progress on both within the next 12 months,” added Mr Kirk.

Meanwhile, members heard that the £6 million redevelopment of John O’Groats is already benefiting the area. The chalet complex has been completed and some accommodation let while work continues at the apartments and the former hotel.

DSG vice-chairman David Flear said it is good to see people staying in the accommodation. “It is beginning to look very smart,” he added.

Mr Kirk said the apartments are due to be finished next spring. He stressed the redevelopment - undertaken by Natural Retreats and Heritage Great Britain - is being carried out in stages and added: “The work is going very well and really enhancing the area. There is still much to be done but it is a good start.”

Caithness Courier:

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