Councillors on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar backed the development of a Community and Business Improvement Partnership for Stornoway at a meeting of the Sustainable Development Committee.

This "Stornoway Vision" includes the employment of a project manager and is part of a Scottish Government initiative.

The Scottish 'Business Improvement District' legislation and model is used by local businesses to bring about a strong local partnership that is able to address local issues and concerns.

There are now 29 BID towns, cities and city districts: Aberdeen, Alloa, Bathgate, Carluke, Clarkston, Crieff, Dunblane, Dunfermline, Dunoon and Cowal, Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Greater Grassmarket, Edinburgh West End, Elgin, Falkirk, Giffnock, Glasgow Byres Road and Lanes, Hamilton, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Kirkwall, Largs, Linlithgow, Lerwick, Milngavie, Oban, Paisley, Penicuik, South Queensferry and St Andrews.

The Boards of Directors in each area deliver projects and services colllectively and in collaboration with other bodies and agencies that benefit local businesses and the local community.

A further five towns and cities are developing a BID: Broughty Ferry, Carnoustie, Dundee City Centre, East Renfrewshire and Selkirk.

During 2017, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar drew together various studies which had been carried out into the regeneration of Stornoway.

Work being undertaken by Stornoway Port Authority on their Port Plan and Stornoway Trust on their ‘Parks for People’ project in Lews Castle Grounds "presented the opportunity to tie together all these Town Centre work streams into one cohesive Masterplan," CnES said after the committee met on Wednesday June 13th.

A Stornoway Vision Working Group has been established and has now met three times, most recently in May.  Participation is drawn from the following: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Development Department – Strategy Unit and Planning), Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Stornoway Business Group, The Stornoway Trust, Lews Castle College UHI, Stornoway Port Authority and the Hebridean Housing Partnership.
Councillor Donald Crichton, who chairs the Sustainable Development Committee Committee, said: “The creation of the Stornoway Vision has demonstrated that there remains an appetite among a number of Stornoway Businesses to look again at the Business Improvement District model which has had positive impact in other Scottish towns.

"The employment of a Project Manager will give the opportunity for further consultation and development of these proposals, allowing partners and businesses to assess whether they wish to commit to such an initiative for a longer period.
“We want to have a strategic and joined-up approach to developing the infrastructure and promotion of the town of Stornoway in order to create a vibrant, accessible, and connected place where people want to Visit, Live, Work, Study, Play and Invest.”