Highland Council Grants Public Money to Private Commercial Venture, Letting fees for Community Groups Increased

The John o’Groat Journal recently reported on substantial increases in letting fees at municipal venues with the Highland region.

This would include Thurso High School in which community groups such as Caithness Disability Multi-Sport, which previously had not been billed for using the playing fields on Saturday during spring and summer despite not requiring access to the buildings.  They now face letting fees of up to £17.25 per hour.

In other Council matters, an additional £60,000 of funding (from the Inverness Common Good Fund) has been agreed by officials for the upcoming Scotland Housing Expo in Inverness over the month of August.

This privately run commercial venture already has received some £3 millions of public money, despite having declined to offer free admission for children (hence the latest grant).  Adult tickets will cost up to £9.

Assuming Councillors have not be so short-sighted that they did not allow themselves to reclaim at least some of the money from ticket sales, this could be a perfect way of offsetting the letting fees for organizations such as CDMS.

UPDATE – Proof, if proof were needed that Invernessians are revolting.

UPDATE II –
In shameless band-wagonning, I’ve created a Facebook group and would give Admin control to any local activist.

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15 Responses to “Highland Council Grants Public Money to Private Commercial Venture, Letting fees for Community Groups Increased”

  1. Cathy Stafford Says:

    See ‘Expo for the Common Good’ on the APT blog. You can link to this via the Gurn

  2. Gràisg Says:

    There seems to be real anger in Inverness on this issue, it’s worth also reading an earlier article in the Courier that has attracted 44 comments up to now.
    http://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/12517/Housing_expo_project_boss_in_quit_shock.html

    • efrafandays Says:

      It’s a surprise to see Jean Urquhart involved; as I’d pegged her as a decent sort when she was the SNP PPC for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. Up in Ward 2, John Rosie and Marion Thurso are on related committees and both are generally well regarded – it’d be interesting to know where they stand.

      I’m completely baffled as to what they think we can gain from this, beyond vacuous stuff about “renewables” just as Alex Salmond refers to the Pentland Firth as the “Saudi of renewable energy”, without further thought to the difficulties patching it into the National Grid.

      I admit I’m unsure about the CGF (I assume it’s some sort of trust/investment fund set up in years past for certain areas), but the whole point of regionalization was that we act together… not for Inverness to hang onto its goodies in the knowledge the rest of the region is there for the heavy work.

  3. Cathy Stafford Says:

    Having read some of the comments on the Inverness Courier item here are some links to background information which follow on from a quote from that Courier item – 01/06/2010 – re on Ms Porteous’ resignation -where they mentioned the extra 60K from the CGF

    “…confusion over whether it will discussed in secret.”

    I have looked at the agenda for the Inverness City Committee Monday meeting and it looks likely that the only space on the agenda for this request for 60K would be under the last item, 9.2, which comes under section 50a of the LGA 1973.

    However, whilst most of the supporting info for funding requests covered under agenda item 9.2 is for members eyes only (as ‘booklet B’) the expo information is in report ICC-26-10 and is accessible and the details supporting the 60K request are to be found there:

    For the Ag

    http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/committees/invernessnairnbadenochandstrathspeymeetings/invernesscitycommittee/2010-06-07-icc-ag.htm

    On clicking through for the ICC-26-10

    http://www.highland.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/3761E356-50B5-40E0-A33D-8059D7AD3232/0/Item92ICC2610.pdf

    Details of the budget are suppliedand as well as project details given on the financial assistance application form.

  4. Gràisg Says:

    Thanks Cathy that document is an interesting read.

    ‘Some 75% of these visitors are expected to attend the event (22,000 visitors) will come from a one hour drive-time catchment area with the other 8,000 visitors from further afield.’

    That to this observer seems to be a gamble now in these credit crunched times, at the time the Expo was conceived of course things were different.

  5. efrafandays Says:

    The Gurnster makes a good point there; and, interesting indeed, Cathy.

  6. Highland Council Launches Citzens Panel « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] I discussed recently, anger is brewing in Inverness at plans to dip into the local Common Good Fund (derived […]

  7. Cathy Stafford Says:

    I have posted a little bit of ‘expo’ history’ for those who may have a few more unanswered questions

  8. Cathy Stafford Says:

    http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/committees/invernessnairnbadenochandstrathspeymeetings/invernesscitycommittee/2010-06-07-icc-min.htm

    Minutes of ICC published. See ag item 9.2 for detailsyou requested on APT blog

  9. Gràisg Says:

    Hi there,
    Re the housing Expo. Yesterday at the meeting of the full Highland Council there was a wee talk before they got down to the serious business of breaking the care homes promise.

    ‘Members are advised that Mr W Roe, Chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, will undertake the Annual Presentation entitled “Ambitious for Highland” at the meeting.’

    Well during that talk he had lots of praise for the Expo – worth checking the webcast of the meeting once it goes online for his exact words. but he did indicate it would be historic for the Highlands and Islands. There’s cynicism being expressed through the comments pages of the Inverness Courier yet the high heid yins remain bullish. I can’t help thinking perhaps they could have done a bit more to get a few more folk onside from the beginning?

    • efrafandays Says:

      Ta’ for that. I’m on a slow Internet connexion just now, so’ll check the webcast later.

      I’m unsure how much right I have to pursue this as I’m not in an Inversneckian ward, but I’ll write back anyway. I wonder if I could slip this into next week’s forum meeting.

      I’ll be putting up a fresh blog-post some point this evening, after I’ve muttered over my Mandarin sounds (started only this week).

      D’you have the link for the latest Courier online article?

  10. Gràisg Says:

    was just referring to the existing courier stuff :-)

  11. Scottish Homes Expo – a Response from Highland Council « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] Homes Expo – a Response from Highland Council By efrafandays I previously wrote on financial assistance given to the Scottish Homes Expo in Inverness from the Inverness Common […]

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