Saturday, October 25, 2014

A riverside tree to watch out for on these windy days?

Our Riverside correspondent Murd tells us that he believes that the tree pictured above (just below the Whinnieknowe brae and sheltered housing) has shifted a little after a branch recently fell off the supporting tree. The Gurn understands that Murd has alerted River Community Council and hopes they will push his concerns up the municipal chain towards Highland Council.  Larger image of tree here. Worth a look upwards when passing this spot perhaps?

Stunning video of Nairn Beach and Cawdor Castle shot by holidaymaker

"Just a we" video I created after our couple of days away in Nairn. Can't wait to get back next year," said PDG05 on their Youtube page.

A&E at Nairn closed Sat 25th 20.30 thru to Sun 26 8.30

"Highland Council owes Nairn Common Good Fund £187,000 for 14 year old clerical error." says Donna

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chalk drawings on Castle Lane Square

Some interesting chalk drawings on Castle Lane Square today. Good to see this public space used creatively. They might still be there in the morning if the overnight weather is kind. The Gurn understands that it was a fundraiser during the day to raise awareness of Children's mental health issues. 
Click the picture to enlarge. 

Former Blockbuster Store to become Bookies with 2-bedroom flat on first floor? - planning application submitted

A planning application that has been lodged with Highland Council as follows:

" Existing ground floor retail unit by change of use into class 2, betting office. Existing part retail unit, part assembly space on first floor to be converted into a 2-bedroom flat."

Moshi's to go seasonal

The picture is self-explanatory. A bit of a shame it'll be shut over the winter - a good spot for a latte and a blether.

Nairn 0 Wick 0 pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here. 

Alex Salmond v Danny Alexander in May 2015?

Last night Alex Salmond hinted on the BBC's Question Time that he may stand for a Westminster seat at the next General Election in May. When asked by David Dimbleby he replied:

"“The answer to your question, David, absolutely, decisively, I can tell you I haven’t made up my mind. So you’ll have to wait and see. But I tell you what, when I do make up my mind, you invite me back on to Question Time and I’ll tell you why I did it."

Interestingly the SNP have not yet selected a candidate for the Inverness, Nairn, Badeonoch and Strathspey seat of Danny Alexander yet. If Alex decides to go for it could it be that he might fancy taking Danny's scalp?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nairn 0 Wick 0 - pictures from @KennyMacleod1

Individual images here. 

High Street retail investment in action

Tons of concrete being poured into the High Street Co-op. Just across the road shopfitters were busy working late too in the former DE shoe shop that is soon to become a Red Cross Charity Shop.

‘Cooking on a budget’ courses for healthy eating

CHANGEWORKS and Calman Trust are working in partnership to deliver an exciting, new H-eat Well Project across Highland. The aim of the project is to enable people to cook healthy food affordably and to better manage their energy use. 

Calman will deliver ‘cooking on a budget’ courses supporting individuals to manage food costs and eat healthily on a low budget. Participants will learn: basic food prep and kitchen equipment skills; how to eat healthily on a low budget and save costs by meal planning; where to shop, food storage, and using kitchen energy efficiently. Participants will be given basic store cupboard ingredients and learn to plan around these and how to enhance nutrition by introducing fresh ingredients. 

The cooking classes will be held once a week over a six week period. The cooking sessions will run in a relaxed, informal environment and the participants will learn to cook a variety of dishes that they can easily replicate at home. 

Calman will deliver the classes in the local community and will engage local Good Food Volunteers to work along- side our Good Food Officer in running the classes. Once the 6 week block is complete the Volunteers may wish to continue running the cooking classes and Calman will encourage and support them in doing so. 

Changeworks, through their Affordable Warmth Advisor, will deliver affordable warmth workshops, home visits and surgeries, providing face to face advice and information so that people feel more in control of their energy use covering a range of energy related issues, for example: how to reduce household fuel costs, how to read fuel bills/meters, how to use the heating system; support to negotiate with a fuel supplier or switch tariff, and support liaising with other agencies and housing providers. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the project including the cooking classes and/or the volunteering opportunities please contact Fiona, the Good Food Officer on: 07730 141512. 

The application form for this project is available on the Nairn Healthcare website – under the “Forms” section or you could pick up an application form from the surgery.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Strategy Plan from NICE for the River Nairn and Harbour area (includes new deep water outer harbour)

Recently Cllr Michael Green criticised NICE on the lack of action over proposals on harbour development - seem more in this article here: "Working in Partnership is a two-way street". It looks like his concerned comments have prompted action.

NICE's AGM will be taking place in the Community and Arts Centre on Wednesday the 29th and yesterday the organisation published a strategy document for the River and Harbour on their website. In it they state a wide range of outcomes they wish to achieve. On the river they would like to see the following:
"No more gravel extraction from river bed.

Careful thought and restrictions on more pool engineering with SNH and SEPA input as well as Fisheries Board.

Walking path to Firhall with new Firhall Bridge.

Flood risk alleviation by extracting gravel at mouth of river /harbour basin

No extra pollution/storm water to be directed into River Nairn from future development"

They have also published a similar set of actions for the Harbour including: "New harbour design with deep water outer harbour to allow for bigger marina/touring Scandinavian / German boats." They also want to see more flooding protection for the Fishertown and action on sewage. More details here.

NICE are also hopeful of "defining a use" for the Old Social Work Buildings at the AGM. They state in another article: 

"We believe that the only way to make progress on the OSWB and town centre development in general is to sit round the table with our four local councillors and draw up an agreed agenda. This we have now agreed to do before the AGM. As a Community Development Trust we can bring certain things to the table that the local authority cannot so it makes perfect sense to work together. We look forward to our meeting and hope we’ll be able to define a use for the OSWB that will see it used for the benefit of the community." More here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Viewfield Stables available for lease

"The subjects comprise a ground and first floor former stable block. The unit has been sub-divided internally at ground floor level although subject to securing all necessary consents, may be reconfigured to provide open plan space."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Developers say feedback shows 91% support for Lidl led retail gateway to Nairn

The development company behind plans for further retail development in Nairn has announced details of feedback received from its public consultation event held in the Nairn Community Centre on 26th September.

A spokesman for Ziran Land said:
"We were very pleased with the level of interest in our proposals and estimate 200 or more visitors to our public exhibition event. From the 110 feedback forms received to date, we currently have 91% support and 9% unsupportive or undecided. We also had a very good attendance at our exhibition preview and we estimate some 20 or so community councillors from across Nairn and other community leaders attended. Concerns over the future of Nairn town centre were voiced and other important considerations including the proposed Nairn by-pass also added to the debate."

Ziran Land's consultants will be meeting with planners at The Highland Council later this month for pre-application discussions prior to the planning application being lodged in November.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Local CAB says: "Nairnshire residents could save £££ if they take control of their heating"

Nairnshire households could save £75 a year

· Four fifths of people believe they understand their heating controls

· Yet HALF misuse energy when they turn up their thermostat

· Nearly 40 per cent of people think it’s more efficient to leave the heating on all the time

· And only a quarter of bill payers have changed energy supplier in the last year

· Campaign launches heating myth-buster and urges customers to switch supplier

Fort William 1 Nairn 3 - Pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here. Also images by Mashy Young here. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend miscellany

One of our regular readers has had a wee gurn about overhanging brambles and vegetation on the brae that runs alongside Mill Road (image here). Our correspondent claims that they are scratching vehicles. And further up as the road ventures into Church Street, another one of our regulars, Murd, tells us that he is surprised to see that the unofficial 10 m.p.h. sign (image here) is still attached to a post outside the Vic. Murd told the Gurn that a local Highland Councillor had told him some time ago that it was illegal and that it would be removed. 

Another warm day and another large intake of holidaymakers down at Parkdean Lochloy, they could be seen venturing out beyond the site and across the Bailey Bridge today as they enjoyed the October sunshine. A gale is promised over what remains of the weekend but still the temperature doesn’t look like it is dropping in the short term. A wee bit about the local caravan site here on the company’s main site blog here – an article that details a recent VisitScotland upgrade for the local site. 

Nairn County pick up three points at Fort William  today by winning 1-3. They are now exactly mid-table. Earlier this week they inflicted a 7-1 defeat on Wednesday night’s visitors to Station Park, Rothes. Perhaps that tally can be seen in another light this evening with the shock news that Rothes beat Forres 5-2 at home today – the Highland League is full of surprises this season. Nairn County will find a true test of their mettle this coming Wenesday night however when the league leaders Wick come to town for yet another mid-week fixture. 

Tommy Hogg, in his capacity of Chair of River CC, gets quoted in the Press and Journal today in relation to developing news about the proposed development at Balmakeith. Tommy told the P&J: 

“We have had the chance to discuss the proposals at our own meeting and a joint community council meeting and I would say most people are welcoming the idea.“Of course there’s a few people who are concerned that it might harm the town centre but I think on the whole it will be a good thing.” 

A recent YouGov poll (drilled down into regions) pointed to Labour falling behind the Tories in Scotland. The Tories were on 20% and Labour on 19%. Quite a drop but only one poll, subsequent polls will see just how deep the defections to the SNP have been and whether this is a permanent move for many folk. The LibDems are on 9%. See the poll details in full here. Scottish constituencies have their quirks however, so maybe things might not be quite so bad for Danny on his home turf. What better place to look than the bookies for immediate guidance – Danny it looks very tight for you according to William Hill but it’s a long way to the finishing line in May.

Re housing, here is a comment we received on this South Nairn thread:

"My husband and I both work in Nairn, our children are at school in Nairn, my husband was brought up in Nairn. We have been on the council list for about 15 years even after he has served his country in the Army. We are not in a position to buy a house. We are homeless in two months. Nairn needs housing at reasonable rents not extortionate private rents with no stability. We have even had to apply to Moray council as they have been building more properties. We dont want to move out of Nairn but may have to."

More evidence, if any were ever needed, that it is time for Highland Council to get off its collective backside and build some social housing on Sandown – or empower/enable the community to do it! It’s Nairn’s land – let’s have houses for Nairn residents  that are on the waiting list and sooner rather than later please.

Sin agad e bhuamsa a-nochd a chàirdean, bidh sinn air ais aig an aon am a-maireach - that's it from us tonight  folks, we'll be back at the same time tomorrow. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Planning application for Lidl and other stores at Balmakeith goes online on Highland Council e-planning site

The plans can be viewed on the Council's e-planning site here. Although the application is now available on line the Council state: "Sorry, we are not currently accepting comments from the public on this application."

Earlier today we published information from a letter that had appeared on the Council's e-planning file for this application. The Gurn understands that the letter had been erroneously placed on line and was in fact a private communication and has since been removed by the Council. We decided that it would be appropriate for us to remove that information from this article  at this time. 

We also contacted the developers for some clarification. A Ziran Land spokesperson told the Gurn:

"I can confirm detailed negotiations with Home Bargains are advancing as are negotiations with family restaurant operators. I must stress nothing is finalised as yet. We are also talking to other operators interested in coming to Nairn whose size requirement cannot be accommodated within the town centre.

Meanwhile we are very keen to meet with representatives of the Nairn community to discuss direct regeneration initiatives for the town centre that we are considering."

Nairn 7 Rothes 1 pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alexander Brodie and the gate affair - update

"A clan chief offered to concede defeat in his long-running battle with Highland Council over access to a nature reserve yesterday.

But Alexander Brodie of Brodie’s concession to allow free passage through the gate on his late grandfather’s estate was rejected by the local authority at a civil hearing at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday."  More on the P& J site here.

Flashback to Dec 1st 2012 and Alexander Brodie installing the controversial gate

Nairn River Enterprise – Social enterprise satellite of River CC – just about leaves the drawing board?

Gurnites will remember perhaps this article back in July when we detailed the £5,000 that River CC had been awarded by the Highland Council Area Committee’s Deprived Area fund to look at ways to take this forward. At the time Simon Noble said: 

“The object of the social enterprise is, first and foremost, to create routes to employment for local people. So the possibility of training, apprenticeship, that kind of thing. The vehicle would be this common areas maintenance work and the long term aim if that proves to be successful and sustainable to develop something which could then take forward the ideas about recycling and reuse schemes and the river regeneration scheme. At this stage that is as far as we have got. We have a further meeting coming up next month”

“Nairn River Enterprise” now has a committee all of its own and seems to have a semi-independent orbit out in the community. Simon updated his colleagues at River CC’s regular meeting last week, he told them:

“We have appointed a consultant to support us in setting up a social enterprise. The working title at the moment is Nairn River Enterprise. That social enterprise will be intended to be used as the vehicle for taking over, taking responsibility under the Community Challenge fund for maintenance of grounds in the Nairn area. The consultant is going to help us in our discussions with Highland Council Community Services department to work out what maybe the parcel of work that the enterprise can take on and will also help us with developing a business plan and submission for funds to our advantage to get the enterprise rolling.”

Simon went on to say that they were under quite a lot of pressure to meet community enterprise target dates and the timetable wasn’t clear but the aim was to establish a social enterprise as soon as an agreement could be agreed with Highland Council’s Community Challenge fund. 

Chair of River CC, Tommy Hogg, said to Simon: “I was quite surprised you said it was just for the grass cutting, I was under the impression that it was actually for the benefit of the riverside.”

Simon said: “What we agreed at the River Enterprise meeting a couple of meetings ago, that would be either July or August, was that our first target was to establish the enterprise on the basis of the Community Challenge Fund. Then we would be aiming to move on to expand the activity of the enterprise to include the riverside regeneration project and also the recycling and reuse project.”

Simon Noble was quizzed about the remit of the consultant, when the minutes of the enterprise would be in the public domain and if the consultant was local. There seemed to be a desire on the behalf of River CC members to know more about their first born satellite organisation. Good to know what your bairns are doing out there perhaps?

County calm critics and roll over Rothes with seven goals

An impressive performance at Station Park as the rampant Wee County crush Rothes and placate those fans criticising lack of progress so far this season. A report is available on the Highland News site here. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A fabulous Christmas lights show in Nairn and citizens DIY decorations on the tree a thing of the past perhaps?

Gurnites will remember that last Christmas several citizens set about decorating the Christmas tree themselves as the Council didn't have the cash to do anything with the bare spruce set up on the Royal Bank grass. 

Speaking at the River Community Council meeting last week Michael Green was enigmatic but he promised a "fabulous" Christmas celebration. He said:

"You will be absolutely amazed at Christmas when the lights are switched on." Michael told the meeting that he will be seeking cash help from the town's community councils to help pay for the event. 

He then continued: "I wish I could tell you all about it but I've got to get permission and I could prejudice it if I told you what it was."

Landowners compensation for A96 bypass

Article on line on P&J site here.