A meeting of the Uist Economic Taskforce Working Group took place in Benbecula on Friday 24 August 2018. Issues under discussion included the future provision of affordable housing, the development of economic links with the Faroe Islands and the on-going prospects of a Uist Spaceport. The main topic however, was a presentation by Threesixty Architecture into the draft proposals for a Balivanich Regeneration Vision.
Speaking after the meeting, Chairman of the Working Group, Cllr Iain A. MacNeil said: “The presentation by Threesixty Architecture provided an excellent overview of what can be achieved in Balivanich over the next number of years. The proposals presented to the Working Group were ambitious but realistic with a good mix of reinforcing strategies. I was particularly pleased that the proposals were presented in a series of small, medium and large investments projects. This approach offers the potential for undertaking investments at a speed the community is comfortable with, while allowing appropriate phasing to take account of the availability of funding.”
It was agreed that the Working Group would host a community meeting in due course to present the proposals, and beyond that, will be looking to prioritise some initial “quick win” investments.
Mr MacNeil said, “I think it is now appropriate to present the proposals to the community and we will be looking to host a meeting on the 20th of September to do that. I look forward to feedback from the community and for the initial prioritisation being completed. I also look forward to a rapid move into the implementation phase of the work.”
Threesixty Architecture were funded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to assist the development of a Balivanich Strategy that aimed to:
- set out an achievable, clear vision for the development of Balivanich, which has the support of the community and key stakeholders and has the potential to impact positively on the whole area;
- set out proposals for projects which will address the key strategic challenges and opportunities facing Balivanich;
- outline a realistic plan for phasing and delivery of the proposals contained within the Strategy.