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Discussion of The Future of Ness Battery

With work going on apace at Ness Battery to restore the buildings, and with the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme having less than a year left to run, I am writing to you in the hope that you would like to attend an informal discussion to explore possibilities for securing the best future for the Battery.

I think that it can be argued that the Council has saved the site twice, first by acquiring it from the MoD in 2002, and secondly by being determined that the site would be the largest single project within the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme. However, I think it is open to debate as to whether the future of the site lies best with the Council directly, given the budget pressures on the Council and the many statutory responsibilities which the Council has. Since I have been in the privileged role of running the SFLPS, I have been repeatedly struck by the enthusiasm of many in Orkney for Ness Battery, through their recognition of its historic value, and also through the way that it has been part of local life in the post-war years through its use by Army Cadets and the Territorial Army. Seeing also how similar coast defence sites, like the Heugh Battery in Hartlepool, have been run by well-organised voluntary organisations to great success, I wonder if this is something which would work well for Ness Battery.

I have no formal Council mandate for starting a debate on this. However, I think it is likely that the Council would be open to supporting any imaginative approach which would secure the site's future, although I think that there is no way that the Council could formally consider such a matter without knowing whether there was sufficient local interest to secure this matter. In order to get round this 'chicken and egg' situation, I am going out on a limb to meet with whoever is interested.

We are meeting in the upstairs room at the Royal British Legion, Stromness, at 7.30pm on the evening of Thursday 8 September.

I am very grateful to Fred Johnston and the RBL, Stromness, for making this available to us. There is a bar downstairs, should people want to be discussing things over a drink.

I really hope you can join us.

All the very best,

Julian Branscombe

Manager

Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

Location : The Royal British Legion, Stromness

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