Thursday, 2 July 2009

Local businesses must be at centre of John O' Groat's future - Gibson

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has said that HIE has to listen to and act on local people's suggestions following the announcement of a further consultation on the future of the landmark.

The new consultation costing £40,000 will be the third so far and brings the total amount spent on studies by HIE into the tourist spot to over £77,000.

Mr Gibson said that this had to be the final study….

"Too many studies about the John O' Groats tourist area have yielded no sensible proposals. So this time it has to work and there is a simple solution. Put the derelict hotel and other assets into the hands of local businesses. This is a view which is shared by the Caithness Chambers of Commerce and the wider community."

"I have spent time talking to some businesses at John O' Groats and it is clear that they know what is best for that area so this consultation needs to not only listening to their ideas but actually act on them. Anything less will be a costly and pointless exercise as has been the case with the previous HIE funded research for John O' Groats."

One outcome which is vital is that the eye sore which is the derelict hotel be repatriated to local hands by compulsory purchase if necessary. It is time to say farewell to the company from a far which exploits the unique cultural heritage of John O' Groats. A vibrant use for the iconic hotel is a prerequisite to the rejuvenation of the site. Local ownership is the best way to make that happen."


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