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Highland Council gives green light for multimillion-pound plan to transform Ullapool seafront

By Scott Maclennan

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An artist's impression of how the promenade might look.
An artist's impression of how the promenade might look.

Members of Highland Council’s north planning committee unanimously agreed to proposals to reclaim part of the seafront in a bid to ease traffic congestion and improve safety.

The plans by the Ullapool Harbour Trust, in collaboration with Transport Scotland and the Ullapool Promenade Group, will see the widening of Shore Street to create a new promenade alongside a small boat harbour with pontoons.

The improvements were first mooted several years ago amid concerns about growing congestion in the busy ferry port.

Shore Street, a trunk road, has struggled to cope with ever-increasing tourist traffic, with coaches as well as HGVs frequently forced to mount kerbs to pass.

Parked cars along one side of the street also make it difficult for larger vehicles to negotiate the route.

How Shore Street currently looks.
How Shore Street currently looks.

By reclaiming close to 10 metres from the sea, the thoroughfare can be widened by 6.6 metres.

The plans were labelled a “tremendous proposal” by councillors.

Local member Biz Campbell said there was broad local support for the changes and added: “This is within the Ullapool Settlement Development Area, and none of the local statutory bodies are objecting, and I actually think that, with rising tides and flooding, this would protect the shoreline there.

“With the widening of the road by Transport Scotland, this would alleviate the traffic issues, as you can see the cars that are parked right along the shoreline and seafront there.”

Fellow ward member Derek Macleod said: “It is a good proposition due to the various benefits spinning off from it – reduce congestion on the main road, provide wider access and additional space for operators.

“Ullapool Harbour Trust have been very proactive, and I can only recommend it.”

East Sutherland member Richard Gale said: “I think this is a tremendous proposal.

“I think it will enhance the frontage of the harbour area, the pontoons will attract boats, enhancing the local economy, and it is really going to enhance the local area.”

And Dingwall and Seaforth councillor Angela Maclean liked how the measures would create new space for outdoor seating for local businesses.

“As someone who visits Ullapool on a regular basis, especially for a fish wrap from a local establishment, there are a lot of businesses along the shore front and they do not have a lot of space,” she said.

“Hopefully once this has been done, the widening of the road will help local businesses and improve the experience for visitors.

“It is so close for many of us, but because it is on the NC500 it does get a lot of traffic.”

While developers have now been given planning permission by the council, they still require a Marine License, granted by Marine Scotland, before work can begin.

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