Local News for Thursday 27th December 2018

ULTRAFAST BROADBAND COMING TO NEW WESTERN ISLES HOMES

New Housing developments the Western Isles will be among the best connected in Scotland, with access to reliable ultrafast broadband.
Openreach is working with local developers to build full fibre networks direct to dozens of new homes in Shetland, Orkney and Stornoway here on the Isle of Lewis.
Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) offers greater capacity, more reliability and is capable of broadband speeds of up to 1 giga bytes per second – around 22 times faster than the current UK average of 46.2Mbps.

Openreach is building on the core fibre infrastructure put in place by the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, led in the area by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Full-fibre for 50 new premises at Sandwick by Stornoway will follow soon, with 1,275 metres of core fibre spine already in place to serve the site.

Openreach has been working closely with local developers – including Calmax Construction here on Lewis – to make sure the future-proof, ultrafast infrastructure goes in with the bricks to enable smooth network delivery.


SCOTTISH WATER SUBMITS PLANS GOBHAIG AND HUSISINIS

Scottish Water has submitted plans for a new Water Treatment Works (WTW) and water storage tank to serve customers in Gobhaig and Huisinis, North Harris.

The plans are part of a £3.6 million investment in the area’s water supply, which also includes 3.7 miles of new water main and a new intake structure at the loch which currently supplies customers in Gobhaig.

Two information events took place in September to inform local residents of the plans which, subject to approval, are expected to start on site by the spring.

Project Manager Kathy Auld said: ‘We believe the proposed investment is the right option to meet the current and future needs of our customers; and to make best use of good quality water resources in the local area’.

Once the planning application has been validated, the plans and details of the statutory consultation period for representations to be made to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will be published on the Comhairle website and advertised via local press.


CROFTING CENSUS TO BE ISSUED 7th JANUARY 2019

The 2018 Crofting Census will be issued on 7 January 2019. The Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 stipulates all crofting tenants and owner-occupier crofters have a legal obligation to complete and return their census form to the Commission.

Rod Mackenzie, Convener, said: “last year saw a 14% decrease in the number of forms returned whereas in previous years the percentage was increasing. There may be various reasons why there was a dip in returns but even if folk don’t have any new information to put into the census form it must still be signed and returned to the Commission.”

Crofters have until 31 March 2019 to return their forms. If people don’t engage with us that could suggest they are not complying with their duties and the Commission may then start to take steps to investigate if there is a non-compliance which can result in either their tenancy being terminated, or for owner-occupier crofters, letting the tenancy of the croft.

In the last year, the Commission has contacted around 300 crofters who have not been complying with their duties, many of whom have now resolved their situation in one of the several ways that can be agreed with the Commission.