Staffin community invited to Storr Project drop-in event

STAFFIN residents are invited to attend a drop-in community event this weekend about the Old Man of Storr.

Staffin Community Trust (SCT) secured funding earlier this year to carry out an Options Appraisal into Highland Council-owned land at the Storr. A consortium led by Hazel Allen of Dingwall-based Athena Solutions, Richard Heggie of Urban Animation and Sam Foster Architects, were awarded the contract to carry out the work and report back to SCT.

The consultant team held a rewarding community consultation event in Staffin Hall in July when attendees gave their thoughts on the hugely popular and busy location and suggested potential improvements. Since then significant work has been carried out by the project team and a preferred option and site layout will be outlined at the drop-in event this Saturday, November 5. The event will be held in the SCT office, next door to the Church of Scotland, between 10am and 1pm, so as not to clash with the Cancer Research UK Sale, which is being held in Staffin Hall on the same day from 2pm.

SCT representatives and the consultant team will be on hand to discuss the project and answer any questions. Anybody who is unable to attend the event can call in at the SCT office the following week, between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and the proposed site layout and further information will be on display. If local residents cannot make it during the day please contact SCT development officer Hugh Ross on 01470 562 464 and he will be happy to accommodate you in the evening.

The felled forest at the Storr.

The felled forest at the Storr.

Soaring numbers of visitors to the site in the last few years, thanks to the Storr’s international profile and heavy promotion via films, TV coverage and social media, have sparked significant concerns from local people about parking congestion, road safety and the absence of public toilets. These concerns were highlighted in a major community consultation SCT ran last winter.

The SCT views the Storr as a key gateway to Staffin and vital economic driver for shops, cafes, accommodation providers and other businesses. Council-led traffic surveys have estimated that approximately 70 per cent of Storr visitors continue north on the A855 road to Staffin. SCT views the Storr as an opportunity for the local community to be involved in enhancing the current visitor experience, potentially create employment and market Staffin and local businesses far more strongly than at present. The options include a proposed buy-out of all the land owned by the council at the Storr, a section of the ground or a lease/partnership arrangement.

SCT is grateful to have received funding from the Highland Council’s Eilean A’Cheo Ward Discretionary Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Land Fund for the Options Appraisal.