Progress with the Kilbeg Development
Much has changed in the landscape around Ostaig in the past three months since Robertson began construction on the first phase of the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig development at Kilbeg. The work has a total value of £6m and is progressing on two fronts – the installation of essential services including drainage, sewage, water, electricity and telephone together with the construction of an access road up to the new College building; and the construction of the building itself. The installation of the infrastructure and services will be complete at the end of July with the new building due for completion by the end of January 2015. This will provide new teaching spaces, staff offices, premises for new enterprises and a café together with a biomass heating plant with woodchip supplied through Sleat Community Trust and sourced from Tormore forest.
The College is aware of concerns in the community about the extent of tree removal which took place along the main road at the outset of the works. This was in compliance with the findings of an independent arboroligical survey conducted as part of the planning conditions imposed by The Highland Council and with the visibility splay requirements to ensure safe vehicular entry and exit at the junction of the new access road. The College, its architects and the other firms in the Design Team had no part in the research on the trees. Robertson only removed those trees that had been identified by the report several of which were noted as being in poor condition and in danger of falling. A tree re-planting programme is an important part of the current works ahead of the new building opening next year.
The College Board of Directors is currently considering suggestions for a suitable Gaelic name for the new building and would be happy to hear from anyone in the community wishing to add to the debate.
In addition to the first phase of work at Kilbeg, discussions are ongoing with Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association and The Highland Council with a view to providing new homes on the ground currently being prepared. This element of the development will be guided by the findings of the Local Housing Needs Survey now ongoing in Sleat. It is anticipated that the first new houses will be completed within two or three years.
A funding application was recently submitted by the College to the Government’s Legacy 2014 scheme for assistance towards providing new college and community sports and recreational facilities at Kilbeg. A decision is expected by the end of the summer. The College regards the provision of new sports facilities at Kilbeg as a priority and will undertake a programme of consultation with the community about the nature of the facilities.