John O’ Groat Journal headlines for March 1

FIFTEEN jobs are set to be created in the next 18 months in Wick as a result of the launch of a new beer, wines and spirits division at an award-winning wholesaler. Sutherland Brothers announced this week it will be looking to hire new staff after the launch of Strathnaver Wines. The new arm of the company aims to supply drinks to the hotel and restaurant industry across the country and has already established a sales team in Inverness.

THIRTY-ONE police civilian workers in the Highlands will lose their jobs by the end of next month, when Northern Constabulary is scrapped, it has been confirmed. The support staff, who are employed in various departments, like finance, administration and personnel, have agreed redundancies with the force as it enters its final throes before the controversial national police service is formed on April 1.

AN agreement between two UK marine energy parks at opposite ends of the mainland, will be of massive benefit to the development of renewable energy in Caithness, it was claimed yesterday. The UK and Scottish Governments have signed a memorandum of understanding involving the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters park and its south west counterpart, which covers the coast from Bristol to Cornwall. The agreement was signed at the Renewable UK Wave and Tidal Conference in London and witnessed by Minister of State for Climate Change, Greg Barker and Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, yesterday.

THE managing director of Dounreay is to resign only a year after being appointed to the position. Roger Hardy has confirmed he is to step down at the end of the month when Mark Rouse will take over. Mr Hardy was installed in the site’s hotseat at the start of April last year, when Babcock Dounreay Partnership was awarded the contract to decommission the former nuclear site. He insists he will continue to have an interest in the 150 million a year clean-up of the former fast reactor complex.

THOSE behind a novel approach to consulting people in Thurso and Wick over the future development of the towns, yesterday defended the 45,000-plus cost of the exercises. They insist they were value for money for the taxpayer and that the more hands-on involvement will streamline the planning process.

WICK has never made the best use of its riverside in the past, but the key to a successful future could be along its banks. That was the view of the organisers of a five-day event which encouraged residents to help design what their town will look like in years to come. The Wick charette drew to a close on Tuesday evening after discussing how to regenerate the town centre, invest in the harbour and boost the number of tourist who visit the royal burgh.

WORK is due to begin next week on an ambitious project to restore the historic corn mill at John O’ Groats. A team from AOC Archaeology will be surveying the mill to discover more about the early history of the site and to make an accurate record of the mill buildings and its objects.