Is there a school of though in Highland Council that might agree with him however? At the Suburban Community Council meeting earlier this week there was some conversation about the town centre that centred around the provision of a bus stop (capable of taking two buses) on the west bound side of the road in front of where a particular former Free Kirk used to stand. This was a chance to ask Colin about the situation with the lease(s) for both the library and the car park. Regular readers and veterans of the many NICE meetings will know that that car park is the joker in the pack when it comes to town centre redevelopment because the property is not owned by the local authority.
Colin explained that there are two distinct leases with the library formerly leased by the Education Department but now under the control of Highland High Life and the car park leased by the TECS department. Colin said on the subject of the car park that: “It is one of those ones that is actively under consideration is the easiest way to describe it.” He went on to say: “The library is in a good site for public use, it is one of the most ideally located libraries in
. It’s so
central, so handy. The downside of that is that we are paying a rental on it
and you have to think is that wise to keep that going. So we’re having these
kind of discussions but there is no decision just now.” Highland
When pressed on whether we might lose the Library parking area he replied: “I would hope not.”
It seems we are still in the same situation that we were at the time of the hustings with all options back on the table. You can see the debate from last April on this video here. If the library were to leave the High Street to go to either a property the Council owned or one purpose built then it would leave a hole that is for certain. The footfall loss would impact on other business. But, on the other hand, the Council would save money. The same goes for the car park, with the creation of the additional parking areas from demolitions we know have the opportunity to attract more residents and visitors into the town centre. To lose the library spaces would be a big step backwards. But if the lease were to go, then again, the Council would save money and as Oor Graham suggests, perhaps shops and homes could be built. The P&J states this morning that the Highland Council is to discuss cuts of £20 million next week. The cuts haven’t gone away, we are looking into the unknown and that may impact on both the library in its current location and parking capacity in the town centre. Our local council members might have to make some uncomfortable decisions soon.