Thursday, June 21, 2018

Midsummer's Day 2018 - the day the Royal Bank of Scotland abandoned Nairn

Enthusiastic welcome for Team Hamish Vision for Nairn at packed meeting in Community and Arts Centre last night

Perhaps about 200 people backed into the ad hoc area that becomes a room behind the stage last night as Sam and Sue Hey presented their ideas for the Links, Viewfield and the town centre. A gathering that allowed many people to articulate their support for the ambitious project and to express their desire to see sensitive and positive development in Nairn and a lasting memorial and tribute to a wonderful boy. 


It was good to be in the presence of so many people that back a vision to see Nairn back on the map with a series of improvements that would roll out as time, money and permissions allowed. Nothing is set in stone and Team Hamish are looking for feedback on their plans - the presentation boards will  be available for view in the Community Centre from Saturday and at other points in the town.

It will all work within the framework of the consultation that will follow the Council's scoping exercise for the Links which will in itself give Team Hamish and any other interest groups and individuals such as the Harbour Working Group a chance for further input. 

Team Hamish see a remodelling of the town centre car park areas as a more welcoming area for people arriving in town and then trying to encourage people down to the Links via Viewfield, an area where more interesting features such as sculptures could be added. 

The putting green would be redesigned too with ampitheatre style seating on the slope that borders the road at the back of Marine Flats with the inclusion of multi-purpose Beach Hut structures that could be used for the like of Arts and Crafts activities. A new children's play area would be built in the scrubland further down towards the beach from that area with sensitive tree screening for Marine Cottages. There would be a water play feature in the area of the paddling pool that would be open all year. Dolphin viewing platforms and other features including an upgrade of many of the paths including interesting features at some of the junctions. The area for the plan is from the Swimming Pool to the Harbour.

For further details of where to see the plans and contribute your views keep an eye on the Team Hamish Facebook page here. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Nairn River Community Council AGM and Ordinary meeting on Weds 20th June 2018 at Nairn Community Centre starting at 7 pm

More details and agenda here. 

Lost dog appears at Littlemill - now at Nairn police station

UPDATE
Great news (via Facebook)
Dog was returned to owner on Monday night. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David tells the Gurn:

"This fella turned up at our house in Littlemill last night looking tired and hungry, we fed and watered him, he’s now at Nairn police station, we would have held him but we have 5 others" 

Anyone recognise this pooch?



Saturday, June 16, 2018

Quite a lot going on in the Nairn twittersphere these days folks, we'll post anything interesting we see here via the Gurn twitter page

If there's not much being posted here it's worth having a look at the Gurn twitter account. Quite a lot happens in the Nairn twittersphere these days and you can scroll down the wee twitter boxie on the right hand side as far as you like to see what the latest craic is. You don't have to have an account to look at tweets either. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kingsteps planning application - the discussion at Highland Council

A planning application  for 115 homes to be built by Springfield development on Councillor Liz MacDonald's land at Kingsteps was put back for a site visit in August at yesterdays planning meeting at the Highland Council headquarters in Glenurquhart Road, Inverness. Here's how the discussion went.  There's a bit of mumbling at the start but they do eventually get going.

 


Kingsteps plans go to June 12 planning committee and are deferred for Lochloy 'site visit' on 8th August

More on Nairn River Community Council site. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Kingsteps housing plans go to Planning Committee today 12th June

Coverage on the Press and Journal website this morning. Nairn housing plan comes under fire.

On their website Nairn River Community Council state:

"We have thus today along with 2 residents groups( Kingsteps Residents and Nairn Residents Concern Group), lodged a request for a pre determination hearing so that Nairn community can raise the above concerns directly with Planning committee members to ensure that their decision is properly informed."    More here.

The Highland Council South Planning Applications Committee starts at 10.30 and will be broadcast on their website here. 

Friday, June 08, 2018

Dry spell continues


The sun and drying wind took its toll on the Links yesterday. Larger image here. 

 Glorious weather but the Gurn understands that anglers are concerned for the health of the fish further up the river. The SEPA monitoring report for the River Nairn at Balnafoich shows a new record low for the time SEPA have been compiling records.  The Firhall monitoriing point shows a considerably low level too. 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

A last look inside the Windsor Hotel Nairn

Many thanks to the owner of the Windsor Hotel, Peter Gibson, for allowing the Gurn to have a wee photographic expedition into the property today. Great to have a blether with him too about the plans for the apartments and the town house which will use a lot of the structure of the original buildings that went to make up the hotel (a couple of images of the draft plans too). Good luck Peter with your project over the next 18 months or so. 

Highland Council Wi-fi in Nairn and Fort William Gurn spot the difference competition - compare the statements of the two area Chairs and list the differences - win a year's free subscription to the Gurn

Chair of the Lochaber Committee, Councillor Andrew Baxter said:

“This project is fantastic news for Fort William and I am sure it will be welcomed by everyone who lives here, as well as our many thousands of visitors.

“Digital connectivity is essential these days for daily life and the free access to WiFi will enable visitors and locals to make the most of local businesses by checking what’s on, where to visit in Lochaber, opening hours, accommodation and prices, as well as finding local job opportunities and keeping in touch with family and friends.

“High-Fi will be great for posting photos of the area on social media and helping to promote the town, and all this region offers, to the wider world. I hope to see lots of #High-Fi.”

Chair of the Nairn Committee, Councillor Tom Heggie said:

“This project is fantastic news for Nairn and I am sure it will be welcomed by everyone who lives here, as well as visitors. Digital connectivity is essential these days for daily life and the free access to WiFi will enable visitors and locals to make the most of local businesses by checking what’s on, where to visit, opening hours, accommodation and prices, as well as finding job opportunities and keeping in touch with family and friends.

“High-Fi will be great for posting photos of Nairn on social media and helping to promote the town, and all this region offers, to the wider world. I hope to see lots of #NairnHigh-Fi.”

See the press releases in full here and here.   We used the Nairn release too and an interesting comment in from one reader so far.

Here at the Gurn we think free wi-fi is a positive move but we have noticed that on some of the town's premier social media pages there is an overwhelming sense of folk being underwhelmed and complaining of other things that need doing. 

Friday, June 01, 2018

Windsor Hotel opens its doors tomorrow (Saturday 2nd June) 10 am - for sale of last of furniture, pictures, bars, bedding, kitchenware etc. Draft plans also on display - a chance for Nairn folk to visit a building that many of them will have happy memories of

The Windsor Hotel opens its doors again tomorrow for the sale of the last of the furniture, pictures, bars, bedding, kitchenware etc. A chance to head down memory lane tomorrow at the Windsor Hotel in Albert Street and have a look at the way things were. Many Gurnites will have happy memories of functions in that building over the years. 

You can also have a blether with the new owner Peter Gibson who will have draft plans on display showing how the hotel will be developed as sixteen apartments and a town house. 

Peter tells the Gurn that he has been away from Nairn for 26 years (20 of them overseas) and that when he came back to Nairn he decided he needed a wee project and along with his wife Raelene brought the hotel at auction. 

A lot of Gurnites will already know Peter, his mum, Betty,  was the former owner of Dallas the Jewellers. 

Please note access to parts of the hotel will be restricted as they are not safe for the public to enter. 

High-Fi for Nairn – Free WiFi is rolled out across 14 Highland towns

 Free wifi goes live in Nairn


NAIRN now has access to free WiFi in and around the centre of the town thanks to a project led by the Highland Council and funded by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.

The free WiFi, called “High-Fi”, is aimed at stimulating economic growth and will increase digital inclusion across the Highlands. Easy access to digital connectivity is seen as essential if the Highlands region is to be innovative and keep its competitive place in the tourism market.

Allied to this, WiFi also offers the opportunity to gather data to support tourism and the creation of a wireless infrastructure in a town centre allows smart traffic management technology to be utilised.

The first phase was a Pilot in part of Inverness City Centre which was later rolled out to the wider city in early 2017 as Phase 2. The 3rd Phase will see the roll-out of the free WiFi to 14 towns in Highland.

Nairn is among the first of the 14 towns to get free wifi. Additional towns to receive High-Fi during phase 3 of the project include Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.

The rollout for all14 towns will be completed by the late spring of 2018, and involves local communities, groups and businesses.

Chair of the Nairn Committee, Councillor Tom Heggie said:

“This project is fantastic news for Nairn and I am sure it will be welcomed by everyone who lives here, as well as visitors. Digital connectivity is essential these days for daily life and the free access to WiFi will enable visitors and locals to make the most of local businesses by checking what’s on, where to visit, opening hours, accommodation and prices, as well as finding job opportunities and keeping in touch with family and friends.

“High-Fi will be great for posting photos of Nairn on social media and helping to promote the town, and all this region offers, to the wider world. I hope to see lots of #NairnHigh-Fi.”

The City-Region Deal sets out the areas where the Scottish Government will commit investment of up to £135m and the UK Government will commit investment of up to £53.1m, which, together with £127m of further investment by the Council and partners, will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure.

UK Government minister Lord Duncan said:

“Digital connectivity isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. The roll out of free Wi-Fi will help locals and businesses as well as making it easier for tourists visiting picturesque locations such as Nairn to share their experiences with people back home. I am pleased that the UK Government was able to directly support this essential project as part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funding.”


How to use:
Turn on WiFi on your mobile phone or other device
For High-Fi it shows the town name first e.g. NAIRN_WiFi_Free (High-Fi)
Log-on with either your social media details or by entering your email address
Start enjoying the free WiFi!
For Inverness WiFi go to your wifi settings and select NESS_WiFi_Free

Friday, May 25, 2018

Tools stolen from building site on #Nairn High St between midday Fri May 18 and 8am on Mon May 21. Did you see anything suspicious?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Anti ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth petition to be handed in to Fergus Ewing at Nairn Community & Arts Centre this Friday (25th May) 11.30 am

The Gurn understands that Cromarty Rising along with Together with 38 Degrees Scotland  are arranging the "Hand-in" of a petition box to Fergus Ewing MSP and Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity. The hand-in will take place at Nairn Community Centre at 11:30 this Friday when Fergus arrives to hold his regular surgery. 

The link to the petition is here


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Liz disappointed that Nairn has to wait another six years before getting flood prevention scheme

Click on the video below to hear Liz speaking at the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee at Highland Council last Thursday (17th of May).  This Gurn article here from January 2016 gives details of the risks to Nairn from flooding and what needs to be done. 

Auldearn and Cawdor "grapsing the nettle" and filling in where the Highland Council are cutting back

Liz MacDonald outlines how Auldearn and Cawdor are becoming more proactive in sorting things for themselves. Click on the video below to hear her speaking at the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee at Highland Council last Thursday (17th of May):

After a 2 year cygnet drought, Duke and Penny have hatched 7 cygnets



Friday, May 18, 2018

Parking Charges - Tom Heggie at Community Council meeting "so there is severe pressure being put on by Councillors across the board so we have yet to see what the outcome of that will be"


At the River CC meeting in the Community Centre on Wednesday evening the subject of parking charges was on the agenda once again and the Chair, Tommy Hogg, asked Tom Heggie for an update.  

Tom Heggie said: “ We wait until the Highland Council meeting in June, that's when the policy, which is part of the policy mentioned here will go to the full Council. There is at present no parking policy, there is a great deal of debate, a great deal of discussion going on and there is at the moment  no policy in place so therefore there can be no final decisions or discussion about parking charges per se. In Nairn, which is unique within Highland we have an agreement that there will be no consultation until the conclusion of the BID process which will be balloted in August. Thereafter there is due to be an appropriate consultation process […]"

Tom carried on a little longer on the subject including details of Community Empowerment seminars he'd recently been too.

Liz was the next to speak: “As Tom says the parking policy has been deferred until the redesign group has reached its conclusions. There was a meeting of the redesign group, working group, yesterday where it was discussed in a very heated atmosphere. Carolyn Wilson was saying that they had a petition in Alness where they had 1,100 signatures. I've just picked up today in Nairn, a petition with 1,100 signatures so there is a lot of opposition to the car-parking in its current form. But one of the points that was made very clearly was that the paper that came before the Council that laid out the money that it was going to be raised was flawed.

Free parking, almost part of the town's DNA but will Highland Council take it away?
There was that many mistakes, for example, they had the two Common Good car parks in. Carolyn Wilson said that in her area in Alness they had a car park identified as having 203 spaces when it just had 90 and there was other areas in there that didn't even belong to the Council that was identified for car parks to raise funds for the Council. So the paper that went to the Council was totally flawed and leaves the Council with a deficit of, is it, 1.4 million?”

Liz then seemed a little unsure of that figure and asked her colleagues if that was correct. She said that the deficit becomes a budget pressure unless they could close it up. She went on:
“At the redesign group meeting, certainly whenever they are discussing car parking there are a lot of people that attend who are not members and I'm one of them and so are several others that turn up and make their case for their communities.”

Tom Heggie then said: “There are other meetings where what Liz is describing is, so there is severe pressure being put on by Councillors across the board so we have yet to see what the outcome of that will be.”

The debate continued with mention from Tom Heggie about the massive debate about the lack of clarity in the initial stages.

Then an interesting intervention from a member of the public Loreine Thomson who stated:

I'll read you a quote from the letter that I got back from Bill Loban and he has signed it as chair or the redesign board and it says. The decision on this saving (that's the one point four million) has therefore already been made by the Council for 18/19 and that the intended consultation is to discuss when and how the charges can be introduced.”

The discussion continued and when time permits we hope to post more and include also technical details about what has to be done with money raised from parking charges revenue which was questioned by another member of the public who seemed to have a remarkable in-depth knowledge of the subject which seemed to surpass that of the three elected members present.

Gurn opinion:

So there we have it folks, Highland Council has got itself into a toxic parking mix and there is obviously a lot of trouble behind the scenes. It's decision time soon for Laurie and Tom, will they lay it on the line and commit to resigning from the administration if the parking charges go through?