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Crown Estates funding set to boost coastal communities across Ross-shire and Highlands

By Hector MacKenzie

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APPLICATIONS for a share of a £3million fund to benefit coastal communities in Ross-shire and the wider Highlands will open before the end of the year.

Communities in the Highland Council area are to benefit from Crown Estates funding, which will be disbursed by the local authority.

Councillors have agreed a funding distribution model to enable the sharing of over £3million of Crown Estates funds across the region.

Council leader Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “I very much welcome that councillors have agreed a process to distribute the profits from the marine assets of the Crown Estate in Highland. These significant funds will now provide a major opportunity for and be distributed to the benefit of our coastal communities.”

Councillors debated a funding distribution process of net revenues generated from the Crown Estate marine assets out to 12 nautical miles amounting to a total fund available for Highland of £3,034,704, which has been allocated from the Scottish Government.

Members agreed:

* the vast majority of the funding (£2.6m) being devolved to area committees with a strategic fund of 15 per cent being retained for Highland-wide projects and for bids from individual areas that are over-subscribed, with funding for the administration of the scheme to be a maximum of £100k;

* a governance structure for the scheme with details of eligibility covering broad principles; eligible applicants and geography and rates available;

* the administration resource requirements to support communities and members in preparing, administering and managing the fund for the initial tranche of funding available to the council; and

* that the scheme be advertised and applications sought as soon as practicable to support the economic recovery and the development of projects that support the coastal and marine communities throughout Highland.

The council aims to open up a first round of applications before the end of the year.

It says full details on how to apply will be published and promoted "in due course".

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