Ambitious plans which will transform the face of Ullapool for generations to come will be unveiled at a meeting tonight (Thursday).
The proposed multi-million pound community waterfront development will see the widening of Shore Street, the construction of a loch side promenade and the building of a shore quay with pontoon berths in the inner harbour.
The project is being spearheaded by Ullapool Harbour Trust in collaboration with Transport Scotland and the Ullapool Promenade Group, a sub-group of the local community council.
The trust intends to seek consent from Scottish ministers for the improvements which were first mooted several years ago after safety concerns were raised about traffic congestion in the busy Ullapool-Stornoway ferry port.
The village’s Shore Street — the shortest trunk road in Scotland —struggles to cope with the ever-growing amount of traffic pouring into Ullapool, particularly during the summer months.
Parked cars on one side of the street reduce the width of the carriageway and heavy vehicles can’t pass each other on the seaward side without mounting the pavement, posing a real danger to pedestrians.
The problem has been exacerbated in recent years with the huge popularity of the North Coast 500 tourist route.
Lochbroom Community Council chairman Topher Dawson said: “This project is a huge deal for Ullapool and the community council has been very much involved with it from the start, which is more than three years ago.
“One of the problems Ullapool faces is that there’s about 1,800 people living here and 18,000 on the Isle of Lewis but everything that is used in Lewis passes along Ullapool’s Shore Street.
“There is over 300,000 tonnes of freight a year in lorries rumbling up and down Shore Street so we have a little fishing village which is on the road to a much bigger community. We’re not complaining about that — the ferry pays its dues — but we have to find a way of reconciling the effect that has on Ullapool’s tourist trade because the place where visitors congregate to admire the loch and the view is Shore Street.
“This will be long-term infrastructure that we hope will improve life for everybody. It’s a wonderful piece of betterment for the whole village.”
The proposal involves building out around six metres towards the sea to facilitate the widening of the trunk road and creating new pavements together with a promenade. Also planned is a new floating breakwater to provide better provision for working small boats and visiting yachts.
In addition, the 50-year-old sea wall will be replaced with a higher structure to protect the village from rising sea levels.
As part of the pre-application consultation, an online Zoom meeting will be held tonight at 7pm when the proposals will be presented for the first time and as many people as possible are being urged to take part.
To join the meeting people can visit the website: http://www.ullapool-harbour.co.uk; or phone 0131 460 1196 and enter meeting ID: 92957021080 to listen in.
Anyone who wishes to make representations can do so by contacting Fiona Henderson, Affric Limited, Lochview Office, Loch Duntelchaig, Farr, IV2 6AW, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, by 19th March .