Friday, April 09, 2021

Anyone taken Joe's shovel by mistake?

Joe tells the Gurn: "Someone has taken my round mouthed shovel from beside the Swans Island. I use frequently for shoveling the river stones , repairing the mot area etc. I had it hidden just over the Bank close to the island . Have had that shovel for donkeys years, and it's the only tool fit for the job of shifting stones and gravel.

Whoever took it, if they would be good enough to return it, important for the upkeep of the island moat."

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Gurn twitter account

We're old media now too, most news in Nairn breaking over on Facebook these days but we still have our moments from time to time.

In the meantime 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 box 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. 

Friday, April 02, 2021

Greens call for Highland Council to follow Glasgow by divesting in fossil fuels

Ariane Burgess, the lead candidate for the Scottish Greens in Highland & Islands region has called for Highand Council to deliver real climate leadership by following Glasgow City Council in ending its pension funds investments in fossil fuels.

According to a recent report by Friends of the Earth Scotland and a coalition of environmental groups, Highland Council Pension Fund has £46,148,655 invested in fossil fuels.

Commenting, Ariane Burgess, who is the Scottish Greens’ lead candidate in the Highland and Islands region at the Holyrood election, said:
“Public money should be used for the public good. People in Highland don’t want to see these pension funds exacerbating the climate crisis, particularly when this money could be invested into socially responsible areas like green energy production, house building and public transport improvements.”

“If Glasgow can end its support then so can Highland. Divestment is only the first step to tackling the climate emergency. The Scottish Greens will invest in a green recovery from the pandemic that creates 100,000 jobs while reducing Scotland’s emissions. That’s why we’re asking people to vote like our future depends on it.”


Thursday, April 01, 2021

Discretionary Grant Fund Scheme extended

The Highland Council has today (1 April 2021) reopened the Discretionary Grant fund to allow more businesses to apply to the scheme.

Having seen the number of applications received and the fact that extra money was made available to the Council the grant scheme can now support a wider range of businesses and offer a higher level of grant than originally anticipated.

Businesses now have until 5pm on Friday 9 April to apply for grant.

The Council’s Economy and Regeneration Manager Andy McCann explained: “When we first launched the grant scheme we were unsure how many businesses would apply so initially planned to award a grant of up to £2,000 to all qualifying businesses.

“Based on the number of applications and extra funding received we are now able to give grant to all eligible applicants of up to £4,000.”

“The grant scheme remains focused on supporting those businesses who have, for whatever reason, fallen through the funding gaps and who have experienced a reduction in trade. The extra funding available has allowed Highland Council to award grant to those businesses that have seen a reduction in trade of 10% or more due to COVID-19 restrictions.”

The Council urges all affected businesses to go to its website – (external link) take 15 minutes to read the guidance and if they consider themselves to be eligible, to gather the bank and business evidence required and to apply using the online form.

Andy McCann added: “As this is now a larger grant scheme to administer, we ask that applicants bear with us as we process their applications and get payment out to them. We know how desperate businesses are for the funds and we will endeavour to get this money to eligible businesses as quickly as we can. Businesses can help us to do this by ensuring they get their application right first time and give us all the information we need.”


Beavers for Sandown and further rewilding exclusive

From our ecological correspondent:

Following his recent relocation from Norway to Inverness, self-proclaimed eco-warrior, Dr Olaf Lirop’s intention to reintroduce Beavers to the Highlands has created some controversy in Nairn. His project team has already set up a Crowdfunding page, SBANS – “Scottish Beavers at Nairn Sandown” – which has received substantial contributions from many locals. Known amongst his fellow eco-warriors as “Tumshy”, Dr Lirop believes that the beavers would soon establish a large pond in the centre of the south Sandown field which would encourage species diversity within the current, wetland habitat, and its currently very frail pool. 

Highland Natural Heritage welcomed the proposal as the first step in a programme to fully re-wild the neighbouring Delnies Woods. They hope that over the next few years a number of previously native species will be re-introduced, including Wild Boar in 2022, Lynx in 2023 and if approved, Wolves before the end of the decade. 

Nairn’s Lord Provost has some reservations about the scheme, but hopes that if it is given the green light, then it could provide a much-needed tourism boost for the town. Local farmers are less keen on Dr Lirop’s intentions, with the Scottish Farmers Union asking for a period of consultation before the 4 breeding pairs of Lynx are released in 2 years’ time.

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council will discuss the matter at their emergency meeting scheduled for this Thursday (1st April).

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sandown Common Good Land Sale Consultation responses – will they all be published in full?

A lot of people will have made submissions to Highland Council's consultation on that organisation's wish to sell the Sandown Common Good Land to a developer. There were calls at Monday night's Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting for all the submissions to be published.

Cllr Tom Heggie said that the responses were being collated and there had been a significant number. He went on to say that there were a number of consultations in Highland at the moment but the Sandown consultation was now a priority.

Brian Stewart urged that, like planning applications, all responses whether for, against or neutral, should be published in full online in the interests of transparency and because the future of Sandown was vitally important to the community.

Joan Noble said: “The Scottish Government guidance on the consultation over Common Good, their interpretation of the law is that all responses must be published in full as part of an openness so that everybody can see them, this is on the website. It isn't really an option for Highland Council

Tom Heggie said that there was "an agreed process" and that the CC should pursue the matter with the relevant HC official.

Following the meeting Joan Noble circulated an e-mail containing the precise Scottish Government information. Tom Heggie was quick to replay and a copy was also sent to the Gurn. Tom Heggie wrote that he had had a discussion with the official concerned and “I see no conflict between HC arrangements and national guidance.” 

The Gurn understands that Tom has been asked for further clarification on that.

Full publication be the right thing for Highland Council to do and then there could be no doubt about the feelings of the community. A summary of points for and against will not do here, there has to be complete transparency over the nature and volume of community feeling over what should happen to Sandown.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Police Scotland appealling for witnesses following a series of thefts from rural properties in the Cawdor area between Inverness and Nairn.

​We are appealing for witnesses following a series of thefts from rural properties in the Cawdor area between Inverness and Nairn.

Incidents were reported at three separate farms in the area between the early evening of Sunday, 21 March and the early hours of Tuesday, 23 March.

Items stolen include tools, foodstuffs and a small sum of cash.

Enquiries are ongoing and officers are appealing for any assistance in identifying those responsible.

Detective Inspector Andy Bilton said: "We would urge anyone who lives in the Nairnshire area to let us know if they have seen any suspicious individuals or vehicles operating in the area recently.

"If you have private CCTV or dashcam footage then we would ask you to review this and pass on anything which may be of help to our investigation."

Anyone with information can call 101, quoting incident 0494 of 23 March

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Upsetting the Highland Council Sandown development applecart?

With Highland Council putting forward Sandown Common Good Land as their only large preferred development site in Nairn in their Inner Moray Firth Development plan whilst simultaneously running a consultation on whether the said common good land should be sold for development - this observer wonders how it will all come out in the wash now given the Springfield plans for the other side of town coupled with the considerable public concern over selling Sandown Common Good land. The Springfield plans  have come into the public domain via the Inverness Courier today. More information linked below.

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting Monday 29 March 2021, at 7pm

 Details of the agenda available here.