Highland Council ; Tourism Committee Meeting 17 March 2021.

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Highland Council ; Tourism Committee Meeting 17 March 2021.

Post by pauls59@yahoo.co.uk »

Highland Council agenda item 5; Tourism Committee 17th March 2021:

Committee: Tourism Committee
Date: 17 March 2021
Report Title: Tourism Infrastructure
Report By: Executive Chief Officer Infrastructure and Environment
1. Purpose/Executive Summary
1.1 This report updates Members on recent work to produce a Tourism Infrastructure Plan
for the Highland area. It also provides an update on the position with a number of
tourism infrastructure projects currently under way, most notably those funded through
the Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
2. Recommendations
2.1 Members are asked to:
i. Note the current position with the production of a Highland Tourism Infrastructure
Plan, and
ii. Note the current situation with tourism infrastructure projects that are under way.
3. Implications
3.1 Resources - The Highland Council employs a Tourism Projects Coordinator who
liaises with project leads and submits all Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund applications
and supporting evidence including for projects not being run by The Highland Council.
The costs of this post and activity are met from the Service budget. Where projects are
led by The Highland Council, the resources required are met by the services
3.2 Legal - There are no legal implications arising directly from this report, but all projects
funded by the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund or other grants are the subject of a
legal agreement between the grant awarding body and The Highland Council. Similar
legal agreements are in place between The Highland Council and any third parties
delivering projects.
3.3 Community (Equality, Poverty and Rural) - There are no community (Equality,
Poverty and Rural) implications arising directly from this report. However, the delivery
of the projects described are expected to produce positive benefits for communities as
well as for visitors.
Item 5
No TC-03-21
3.4 Climate Change / Carbon Clever - There are no Climate Change / Carbon Clever
implications arising directly from this report. However, projects have been developed
with elements of sustainability in mind and these require to be detailed in the
applications for Round 3 Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund projects. Some elements of
the Tourism Infrastructure Plan will specifically focus on infrastructure that would help
reduce climate change impacts.
3.5 Risk - There are no risk implications arising directly from this report.
3.6 Gaelic - There are no Gaelic implications arising directly from this report. However, in
keeping with The Highland Council’s Gaelic policy there can be Gaelic elements to
some of the infrastructure projects described.
4. Tourism Infrastructure Plan
4.1 Members of The Highland Council’s Tourism Working Group previously tasked officers
with the production of a Tourism Infrastructure Plan that would help to identify gaps in
the provision of facilities and services for visitors to Highland. Work was well under way
to produce this plan with the audit stage largely completed by early March 2020 when,
due to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council tourism team paused this
work to take on delivery of the Covid-19 Small business grants to Highland businesses.
and this work is anticipated to continue until the end of July 2020.
4.2 Work on the plan recommenced in July and a draft plan was presented to The Highland
Council’s Tourism Committee on 14th October 2020. At this meeting, Members agreed
that a brief consultation exercise be carried out with local Members / Community
Councils and other partners and this was done with responses being invited by the end
of December 2020. Over 30 responses were received in addition to The Highland
Council’s tourism officers holding individual sessions with members through their ward
business meetings.
4.3 Due to the additional Coronavirus restrictions that came into place on Boxing day,
further grant schemes were announced, and staff again seconded to manage these as
this support for Highland businesses, including those in the tourism sector was agreed
to be the highest priority. This unfortunately has meant that no further work on the plan
has been possible since then. However, this plan is aimed at identifying the longer-term
infrastructure needs (which were therefore not yet budgeted for) and so it isn’t
expected that this delay will have any direct impact on the forthcoming season. Instead,
the complementary Visitor Management Plan that is also being presented to this
committee picks up on all the more immediate activities required for the 2021 season.
4.4 When forming the business grants team, The Highland Council’s Tourism Project
Officer was specifically excluded from the team so as to allow activity on projects
already under way to continue. A number of these projects were referenced in the draft
Tourism Infrastructure Plan and at this time all are considered to be progressing as
expected. Further details on those projects are given in sections 5 and 6 below.
5. Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund
5.1 On the 10th October 2017 the First Minister Announced a £6 million investment in a
new Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. The first round of awards was announced in
October 2019 with the second round following in June 2019. Following the successful
implementation of the first 2 rounds the Scottish Government announced in September
2019 that a further £3m of funding would be available for a third round in 2020/21. All
three rounds to date have funded over 3 million towards highland infrastructure

5.2 The first round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund saw 6 Highland projects
awarded funding with a total of £1.1m and a total project value of £1.5m;
RTIF - Round 1
Location Description Status
Bealach Na Ba,
Six Scenic Viewpoints on the Bealach
na Ba - led by The Highland Council.
Construction underway
and nearing completion.

Blabheinn, Skye,
Visitor Facilities
Composting Toilets and Car Parking
redesign to allow 30 vehicles
- led by the John Muir Trust.
Project completed.

Old Man of Storr
Visitor Facilities
Toilets and Motorhome Facilities at the
Old Man of Storr - led by The Highland
Construction underway
and nearing completion.

Viaduct Car Park
100 Space Car Park and 10
Motorhome spaces at the viaduct - led
by Glenfinnan Community Facilities
Project completed

Facilities –
Phase 1
Motorhome Chemical Waste Facilities
at Assynt Leisure Centre
- led by Assynt Development Trust.
Construction underway
nearing completion.

Mallaig Tourism
Facilities / Traigh
Beach Toilets
New Toilet build at Mallaig with added
Motorhome Facilities and two
Composting Toilets at Traigh Beach -
led by the Road to the Isles Facilities

Traigh Toilets – Project
Mallaig Toilets
Construction underway
and nearing completion

5.3 The second round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund saw another 6 successful
projects awarded funding. These applications include a total grant award of just over
£1.4m and a total project value of 2.3m;
RTIF - Round 2
Project Name Description Status
Isle of Eigg
Visitor Facilities
Creating new Toilets and Showers,
Interpretation and Signage at An
- led by Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust
Start Date w/c 8th March
(Delayed due to Covid19)

Glen Nevis
Visitor Facilities
Installing Public Transport Access
Facilities, Parking, Signage, Paths and
Toilet Facilities at Lower Falls Car Park
- led by Nevis Landscape Partnership
Finalising Lease

Portree Parking Expansion of the Bayfield Car Park and
provision of Motorhome Facilities for
waste and water.
Under Construction
nearing completion

Facilities and
Campervan Facilities including
Hardstanding, Waste Disposal and
Toilets, along with improved Slipways
for the Cromarty-Nigg Ferry - led by
Cromarty Community Development
Campervan Facilities –
finalising Community
Asset transfer
Slipways – project

Storr, Footpath
Creating an enhanced visitor access
while protecting iconic landscapes and
internationally important habitats
- led by The Highland Council
Project Completed

New Bridge to join the new car park to
the Viaduct, avoiding people having to
walk on the A830 Trunk Road - led by
Glenfinnan Community Facilities
Construction underway

Helmsdale Toilets
and Motorhome
Upgrading the current Highland
Council Toilets and add Motorhome
Facilities to a vacant land plot nearby.
In the planning process

Parking management and linking paths
– led by the Cairngorms National Park
Construction underway

5.4 RTIF - Round 3
On the 14th October 2020 The Highland Council submitted 15 applications to round 3 of
the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, this was down 3 from the original EOI stage
back in January 2020 and mainly due to the project not being ready to submit a full
application. The decision was announced on the 5th January 2021 with 5 Highland
projects awarded funding, subject to conditions. This was also followed by 5 waitlist
projects that would receive funding if any awarded projects could not meet their
conditions or if there was an underspend.
All approved and waitlisted projects are currently working toward meeting grant their
conditions. The approved projects make up a total funding bid of £820,688 with one
round 3 project funding still to be confirmed.
Approved Projects
Project Name Description Status

the popularity of
Development of an overarching plan for
improved visitor infrastructure and
management on the routes along the A82 in
Glencoe and in Glen Etive - led by the National
Trust for Scotland.
In process of
meeting grant

Tourist Facilities
Provision of new carbon neutral toilets and
shower facilities, parking bays with electric
hook up points and motorhome waste facility at
Kinlochewe - led by Community Out West
In process of
meeting grant

The project seeks to alleviate burgeoning guest
pressure, improve guest safety by improving
the one-way access, improve accessibility by
increasing visitor parking and better facilities
for cyclists, and making all paths wheelchair
friendly , and improving the guest experience
with interpretation and upgrades to paths at the
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse complex - led by
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust.
In process of
meeting grant

Knoll Footpath –
Old Man of Storr
496m of footpath at Old Man of Storr to
Photographer’s Knoll popular viewpoint and
photographic location at the site.
In process of
meeting grant

Facilities –
Phase 1
Installing a motorhome greywater disposal
facility connected to the public foul sewer.
Tarmac and porous paving resurfacing of the
Assynt Leisure Centre car park, with SUDS
surface water drainage into the public surface
water sewer.
In process of
meeting grant

Waitlist Projects:
Elgol Tourist facilities New public toilets, realigned parking bays, 480m path
linking the village to the parking and motorhome waste
disposal facility in a village which is popular with visitors
and an increasing number of boat trips - led by
Broadford and Strath Community Company.

Sleat Community
Campervan Facilities
8 bay campervan site service point with motorhome
waste point, toilet and shower - led by Sabhal Mor
Ostaig / Sleat Community Trust.

Kyle of Sutherland Visitor
Development of motorhomes facilities at South Bonar
Bridge with 5 electric hook-up points and a motorhome
waste facility, new toilets incorporating showers, a
covered eating area and E-bike charging point - led by
Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust.

Dornoch Parking Creation of a car and coach parking site which is 40m
from the main square with 40 car parking spaces and 6
coach spaces to cope with increasing numbers of
visitors and the increase in the cruise traffic from the
nearby Invergordon terminal - led by Dornoch Area
Community Interest Company.

Loch Ness Visitor Facilities Foyers
New toilet facilities that will replace a condemned toilet
block. A chemical waste disposal point and a public
electric charging point – Led by Fall of Foyers Toilet
Subgroup / Stratherrick & Foyers Community Council.
Provision of motorhome waste unit and upgraded public
toilets and with modernised environmentally friendly
facilities along with a new and enhanced waste system
capable of servicing the needs of the increasing tourism
number stopping at the village of Invermoriston.

6. North Coast 500 Signage
6.1 In addition to the projects being funded through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund,
The Highland Council’s tourism officers have also been working with NC500 Ltd,
Transport Scotland and Council roads colleagues on a project to signpost the NC500
route so as to enhance the visitor experience and improve road safety.
6.2 After a successful LEADER bid, all local authority signs have now been installed with
trunk road signs due to be installed in the upcoming weeks.
Designation: Executive Chief Officer Infrastructure and Environment
Date: 3 March 2020
Authors: Colin Simpson, Principal Officer – Europe, Tourism & Film
Leona Joiner, Tourism Projects Officer
P Simpson
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Re: Highland Council ; Tourism Committee Meeting 17 March 2021.

Post by LizM »

Brilliant to see all these developments but we need to remember that they are not ALL about motorhomes and campervans. Many of the facilities are general provisions for tourists in cars, and coaches. Great to see Scotland doing so well with installing extra facilities but we were completely swamped last year by tourists and these measures will be a drop in the ocean. Let's hope the work done so far will lead to even more expansion in the infrastructure next year and beyond.
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Re: Highland Council ; Tourism Committee Meeting 17 March 2021.

Post by Madwitch »

Agree totally LizM. Just wish Devon & Cornwall (who were also swamped last year) would take note!
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Re: Highland Council ; Tourism Committee Meeting 17 March 2021.

Post by Steve »

Tried to contact these when the project was and suggested motorcaravan service point and overnight parking.
As normal I did not get a reply .
I believe its daytime parking only?
Viaduct Car Park
100 Space Car Park and 10
Motorhome spaces at the viaduct - led
by Glenfinnan Community Facilities
Project completed
Steve - CAMpRA Leadership Team
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