Papa Westray Island Development Plan

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About Papa Westray


Located on the northern fringe of the Orkney archipelago, Papa Westray or Papay as it is known locally, is a remote, low-lying island roughly four and a half miles long by a mile wide; the Atlantic lies on one shore, the North Sea on the other. Our island landscape is diverse ranging from productive farmland, maritime heath and sweeping sandy bays to steep cliffs and rugged Atlantic shores. Farms and crofts are scattered across the isle and houses are generally low-built, hugging the landscape for protection against the winter gales. People find a living through farming, fishing, building trades and increasingly through tourism, the creative industries and distance working.


In common with many of the remoter parts of Scotland, island population levels dropped steadily over the past century as people sought less austere life further south and one of the principle targets of the community has been to reverse the downward population trend – permanently. From a low point of 54 in the late 1990’s Papay’s population seems to have stabilised, for the moment at least, at about 75. Houses are being renovated and built across the island, young and new families are setting up home and the island has established a reputation as a vibrant small community.


Papa Westray is in the midst of changes as dramatic as any seen in the island's 6000 years of human activity and efforts are now being directed to ensure Papa Westray has a secure future to match its fascinating past. Employment, transport links, opportunities for young people and access to affordable housing are all declared community priorities as are improved tourist facilities which promote the island’s own remarkable story, improved energy efficiency and the consolidation of health and education services


The island of Papa Westray sits at a crossroads where ancient oceans and new ideas meet.



Our Strategic Themes


Transport Health & Care Employment & Economic Development Housing Including Young People Education & Training Heritage Tourism Environment & Renewable Energy




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