MORE than £240m has been earmarked for construction projects including schools, roads and harbours in the Highlands over the next three years.
Drew Hendry, the Highland Council leader, described the capital programme as “a huge boost” for the industry.
The council has a capital budget of nearly £74m in 2013/14 and in the next two financial years of £87m and £80. That’s in addition to the revenue spending of £548m in 2013/14 and a further spending of £43m on building, improving and maintaining council houses.
Councillor Hendry said: “Despite real pressures on public spending I am delighted that we are able provide such a significant programme of spending on building projects over the coming three years. This is great news for the construction industry and will help the economies of many of our Highland communities.”
Eight projects will benefit from the extra spending allocation from the Scottish Government as they are ‘shovel ready’ and can be completed by April 2014. The schemes range from 24 starter business units to slope stabilisation works to reduce the risk of rock falls on the A890 Stromeferry Bypass.
Councillor Hendry also reaffirmed the council’s “total support” for the route unanimously chosen for the £27.2m Inverness West Link Road. Since the decision was taken in March last year to go ahead with the scheme, the council has made progress in the design of the route and a planning application is expected in late summer.
Hendry added: “I am very pleased with the hugely positive response we are getting to the future development of the lands made available as a result of the route chosen for the road. This ranges from sporting groups and tourism businesses to house builders and local businesses, who see the potential for the right mix of development in this iconic area of the city.”