New lease of life for Newton

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New life could be injected into the Newton area of Stornoway with plans for improved parking and signage to kick-start a regeneration effort.

With over 70 businesses, both industrial and retail, operating in this area, there is an ‘appetite for development’, according to the findings of a recent report.

The report, conducted by students on summer placement for the Stornoway Regeneration Group, highlights the issue of vacant or derelict sites in this area stating that ‘privately owned derelict land has a stranglehold on the area’.

There is also reference to the widely held view that there are huge development constraints here due to the proximity of the gas works.

Although there are some environmental considerations for developers, the report found these would not hinder most plans.

The report was presented to councillors at their committee meetings last week and it was agreed that it will now be utilised as a baseline for the development of a costed and prioritised Newton Regeneration Plan and that parking and signage will be the initial focus of the regeneration effort.

Half of all business owners consulted highlighted parking as a major problem. The report states: “Fifty per cent highlighted the extensive problem of on-street parking, pavement parking, garages parking their cars and buses on the street and the lack of car parks.”

A sign is to be erected at Sandwick Road roundabout listing all businesses in the Newton Industrial Estate.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are also undertaking a feasibility study of potential use for derelict buildings and seeking to support private developers who are interested in developing their proposals.