A busy year of progress and opportunity

Jan 12, 2024

I am not  prone to making rash predictions. However, I think I can safely say that 2024 will be one of the busiest years yet for everyone here at hub North Scotland.

Last year saw the recent strategic changes we implemented begin to make an impact, particularly in supporting our public sector clients through adding resources and value to their projects. That momentum is continuing to grow and we are kicking off 2024 on a wide range of work right across our territory.

Obviously, despite that strong start, there is still a need for caution in the context of the continuing uncertainties around public sector finances. However, focusing on key areas of diversification such as net zero carbon and place is already bringing benefits for all.

Two main strands of our work have now reached critical stages. The first phase projects in the Aberdeen City Vision programme, where we are supporting Aberdeen City Council, are about to begin construction works. This will be at the new Aberdeen Market site, on Union  Street and as part of first phase of investment at the Beach .

These developments are tremendously exciting and will be a major part of the transformational programme to help make Aberdeen a world class city. Work will also begin on stripping out the former police headquarters building in Queen Street in preparation for the urban park proposals and development site for that key area.

Alongside that, we are also up and running on mobilising our ground-breaking North Schools Programme, where we are working collaboratively with five public sector partners to deliver eight new and refurbished schools across our territory.

This innovative approach has secured Scottish Government funding through the Learning Estates Investment Programme Phase 3 and allows the partners to share best practice, knowledge and resources while maximising the economic and social benefits.

Aberdeen City Council, Argyll and Bute Council, the Moray Council, Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council are now working with hub North Scotland, the Northern Alliance and the Scottish Futures Trust to deliver over £400 million of new learning estate which will provide sustainable state-of-the-art facilities for 3,980 early learning, nursery, primary, secondary and additional support needs children, both in urban and rural locations.

This will build on the £500 million of new investment we have helped secure for the North territory over the last two years and underpins the strategy adopted by the North Infrastructure Commission for creating co-ordinated investment opportunities.

Our other work is continuing at pace as well, including supporting our health board partners, particularly around whole system reviews and net zero planning. Net zero will continue to be a major area of focus and growth for us along with housing strategies as our partners look to develop sustainable solutions for providing new stock.

None of this could happen without the support of my hard-working team and the hub North Scotland board as we look to deliver our growth strategy. The public sector is facing increasing challenges and uncertainty and the hub model in helping them meet those demands has never been more relevant than it is today.

With a UK general election due, 2024 will be a year of destiny for us all. However, we stay firmly focused on our underlying mission: working together for our communities.

Richard Park, Chief Executive