Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday night disruption fever - energy and transport changes - does the mannie in this video nail it?

We go off topic a bit here but there are big changes on the way, bulk-data and technology will see that and a lot of certainties around employment and in fact entire professions may change beyond recognition or vanish and new ones emerge. So what could it all mean for Nairn, will the opportunities and dangers from change be greater here in Nairn? And if change is coming are there ways we in Nairn can adapt without having to go through the gatekeepers of the likes of the centralist high heid yins in Inverness? Will we remain virutally powerless in determining our community's future or will Scottish Government "community empowerment" legislation ever filter down into mechanisms that will allow this caring community's creativity and compassion to flower (providing we can all sing off the same hymn sheet of course once we know what we want beyond freedom from Highland Council - Saor Inbhir Narrann!) :-)

This video was recommended to us by one of our regular readers a few days ago. There can be no doubt that technology is bring many changes to the way we live. The guy in this video makes his case around economics - if it is cheaper to do things a different way then there will be change - big changes, in fact a "disruption" on the scale of moving from horses to the internal combustion engine.

Get a cuppa or a dram and give this vid a go... One of our regular readers said he thought it mind-blowing...

Football is fun and football is cruel - but the sun shined and we won

What a day at Station Park as County knocked Whitehill Welfare out of the Scottish Cup - Whitehill played in a strip similar to Saint Ninian's and meanwhile at the Showfield Saint Ninian were playing a team called Whitehills (no relation to the other team appearing across the other side of the tracks.

Results today were Nairn County 1 Whitehill Welfare 0 and over the way Nairn Saint Ninian 7 Whitehills 0. A great day for soccer in Nairn...and then came the Scottish Cup draw and Nairn will be at home to Cove...the team that beat us 8-0 last week but it is the cup and Sharpie and his boys will be up for it.

Anyway here's a bit of vid from both of the fixtures.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Weather maintenance plan for Nairn approved by Nairnshire Committee

The priorities with which The Highland Council will grit roads within the Nairn area this winter have been approved by local Councillors at the Nairnshire Committee held earlier today (Thursday 21 September).

The winter maintenance plan for the Nairn area includes priority road lists and maps showing the priority gritting routes.

The Committee discussed the priorities of gritting a network of 66km primary routes, 98km secondary routes and 169km of other routes in the Nairn area.

Primary routes are treated first, followed by secondary routes and crews will only move on to treat other roads when the primary and secondary routes are all completed.

The routes have been set within the context of the Council’s current Winter Maintenance Policy which is in place to ensure a consistent level of service is applied across all areas of the Highlands. Each year local areas put in place their Winter Maintenance Plan to cover the operational details in order to deliver a service locally within existing budget and resources.

In the Nairn area 9 members of staff will be delivering winter maintenance supported by local Amenity, Streets and Wasteoperatives.Three front-line gritters and one footapath tractor will be available.

Chair of the Nairn-shire Committee, Cllr Tom Heggie said: “Across the Nairn area real time date is obtained from 3 sites on the local road network, as well as one on the trunk road. These sensors provide staff with key information on the surface temperature and road conditions and a rota system will be in place to ensure experienced staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Throughout the winter months we will monitor the agreed plan to make sure we provide the best possible service and use all the resources available most effectively.”

Details of the Nairn Area priority routes and winter services information can be viewed by visiting the council’s website at: http://www.highland.gov.uk/gritting (external link).

Finnie Slams HIE Arms Event

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie has called on Highlands and Islands Enterprise to cancel an arms industry event it is organising in which, “Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to a free workshop to find out how the region can benefit from opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries.”

Mr Finnie has previously raised concerns with HIE about using public monies to support the defence industry.

The free workshop will be held in at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus on Tuesday 26 September and invites local businesses to find out how the region can benefit from opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. It is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and ADS Scotland which is the Scottish branch of the aerospace, defence, security and space industry trade organisation, ADS.

Mr Finnie has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament condemning this event and the use of public monies to promote the an industry that produces weapons that can be used to maim and kill innocent civilians which also calls on the Scottish Government to review its agencies' policies on the promotion of such organisations and for HIE to cancel this event.

Mr Finnie said;

“Public money should not be used to support the design, manufacture and sale of arms.

“The arms industry around the world is obscenely wealthy and needs no encouragement, let alone public finance to support its sordid trade.

“When I’ve previously raised issued with HIE about their support I’ve been told it’s hard to separate the manufacture of items which could have an application for the defence industries.

“There’s precious little public money about and it certainly should not be used to advance this particular sector.

“I have contacted the Chief Executive of HIE asking that she cancel this event and hope the Scottish Government will be progressive and stop all public support to the arms sector.”

Meanwhile over on the Gurn twitter account

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. You don't have to have an account to look at tweets either. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Green Hive community orchard plan for Viewfield

Click on the image to enlarge. Want to get involved? Have any fruit bushes or cuttings you might want to donate the project? Contact Green Hive here. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

All things County - a massive two games ahead!

Today the boys in yellow and black have a visit from the league leaders Cove - it will be a huge challenge for Ronnie Sharp's high-performing squad but against all expectations they still sit in the upper echelons of the Highland League Table.

Next week sees the visit of Whitehill Welfare in the Scottish Cup. This game will be the Cup's featured match and a free bus has been laid on for Whitehill supporters, expect to see quite a few visitors from the south on match day next Saturday.

For all the latest on the situation on and off the pitch at Station Park there's no better way to find out the latest information than to read the Chairman's (Donald Matheson's) autumn update that has just been published on the club site.

Here's some pictures from last week's victory against Keith. Individual pictures here.   More pictures from recent games here on the Gurn Flickr pages. Keep up to date with the youth team fixtures here and on the youth teams twitter feed here. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book and Arts headliner mannie thanks Nairn for "love and generosity"

And the Book and Arts the main item on the Garlic news last night - warning some English in video!

Nairn Book and Arts festival incident reported to the Police

A statement published on the Nairn Book and Arts Festival Facebook page reads. 

"An incident which occurred during a Festival event last night has been reported to the Police. This involved a comment which was made to Hardeep Singh Kohli during his evening event. We are aware that this comment caused offence. We would like to make it clear that we felt that the incident was dealt with firmly and conclusively at the time it occurred. Having spoken to Hardeep Singh Kohli at length, it is clear that he felt that the incident was dealt with appropriately by all parties concerned.

Hardeep Singh Kohli commented - "I had the most amazing time in Nairn surrounded by the most welcoming people. One man's idiocy couldn't undo the warmth I felt and the support of my friends in Nairn." "

Earlier today on the popular Nairn Rocks Facebook page hundreds of Nairn folk had added their support to an article condemning the comments, the article had been posted on the Facebook page by an eye-witness who was disgusted and shocked by the behaviour of one of the audience at the previous night's festival event.  

Nairn CAB with tips on how to stop those unwanted phone calls

Nairn Highland Games Broadcast 2017

If you couldn't make it to the games the live broadcast that was put out on the popular Nairn when you were a bairn facebook pages is available here. 

The page's administrator Stephen Smerdon tells the Gurn the broadcast was very successful: "at one point 1800 viewers from Australia, new Zealand, USA, Canada, Malaysia and every country in between all watching live at the same time, including the housebound and indeed in some cases bedbound."

A ground breaking service obviously very much appreciated giving many folk far away a chance to see what was going on at home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Partnership Dispute – “community empowerment” coming down the tracks for Nairn and Nairnshire or just another false dawn?

Before you read this we urge you to get yourself a copy of the Nairnshire Telegraph and digest the contents of the front page and this week's editorial and you can get an idea of the fall-out from the fall-out between the town's Community Council's and the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership. So what's the partnership then? Now there have been a lot of different entities over the years that have had some sort of “partnership” title and have met in the Courthouse – usually for death by Powerpoint sessions. This observer has seen a few of them come and go and usually they felt nothing more than talking shops but perhaps the odd crumb of comfort and achievement did come out of them from time to time. Have we moved on to something completely different thanks to Scottish Government legislation? The document we have received recently from the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership explains what it is and why it is there - “community empowerment” led to its birth. Some readers may have responded to their survey – a link to that survey appeared here and on many local social media meeting places. 

Of course we have often stated that the best form of community empowerment would be the recreation of the Nairn District Council and obviously we could never get back exactly what has gone but real power back in that chamber is the only way to go. In the meantime we have to make do with the Community Councils as the nearest thing to a local democratic forum but they are more or less toothless and often ignored as coverage of local planning issues has consistently shown. Now we have the Partnership as well and the community councils are not happy with the way the Partnership has been reacting to them – and from the content of Nairnshire Telegraph today it looks like the feeling is mutual. 

The Community Councils are holding a meeting to discuss their role in local decision taking, planning and Community Empowerment in the Community and Arts Centre on Wednesday the 20th September at 8 pm following a monthly meeting of Nairn River CC at 7 pm. 

And the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership have a meeting soon too. Their next meeting being scheduled for 1000 hours on Monday 25th September 2017 at the Nairn Community Centre. This is a meeting held in public according to the partnership. 

So serious students of these matters may wish to attend one or both of those meetings. 

Now the information we have received from the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership


Background 

The Nairn & Nairnshire Community Partnership was established following the introduction of the Community Empowerment Act 2015. This legislation identified the five statutory partners to support this process as the Local Authority, NHS, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Highlands & Islands Enterprise. 

Chief Inspector Brian Mackay is the partnership chair and a core group containing representatives from the five statutory partners has been established, Highlife Highland and the Voluntary Sector also provide valuable support and input. In addition, Nairn Area Inspector Mike Middlehurst has accepted the request to be deputy chair. 

The Nairn & Nairnshire Community Partnership replaces the Nairn District Partnership and this will be used as a structure for the partnership to cement relationships whist working together for the benefit of our communities. 

Partnership Responsibilities 

The Community Partnership has key areas to address in ensuring that it works together to progress the following plans for the Partnership area. 

Children’s plan (led by the local authority) 

Adults plan (led by the NHS) 

Locality plans (led by the partnership) 

Community learning and Development plans (led by Highlands & Islands Enterprise). 

The content of these plans although in draft format at this time will on completion be replicated on the Partnership Website. The direction of each plan has been agreed following considerable Community Consultation within the Partnership area where “The Place Wheel” survey was made available for completion and return to the Partnership. This has then enabled informed decisions to be made in respect of populating the respective plans for going forward. This process, along with information already known by all partners, ensured that the relevant areas of inequality being identified and that with additional support from other agencies improvements can be being made. 

Progress to Date 

The first partnership meeting took place on in October 2016. Where in attendance were the statutory partners, the voluntary sector and members of the public. Key priorities were discussed and plans were commenced for community engagement/consultation to take place as detailed above. 

Having received and analysed the data returned from the consultation period the partnership will now focus on what the local issues are for our communities and how we can all work effectively as a partnership to improve the quality of life for our communities. 

The initial analysis has identified a number of areas that require attention as these are the issues that directly affect our communities. In order to have control of these issues the undernoted categories are being developed for inclusion in the Locality Plan. These are 

Transport 

Spaces and Places 

Employment and training 

which we as a Partnership will now prioritise. Although at a very early stage the Plans being developed by the Partnership will on being agreed, be shared in order that our communities are aware of the Partnership direction and how it is striving to improve life in our communities. 

Future meetings and Communications 

We will share the progress of the partnership, and any news stories, by means of the local media and social media. 

The partnership is working towards having a “Twitter” feed, an Instagram Page and if sufficient interest was evident a Facebook page. Design is also ongoing for an emblem to demonstrate commitment to Nairn and our surrounding communities, progress on its development will shared when available. 

The partnership will meet bi-monthly, with the date and venue of the meeting being shared on the Website www.highlandcpp.org.uk. The next meeting being scheduled for 1000hours on Monday 25th September 2017 at the Nairn Community Centre. This is a meeting held in public.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Gàidhlig aig Fèis Leabhraichean 's Ealain Inbhir Narainn 2017 Dihaoine 15 Sultain


Removal of Pedestrian Footbridge in Nairn

Work has commenced this week on the Bailey bridge over the River Nairn adjacent to the Harbour, which gives pedestrian access between the harbour and the holiday park.

This bridge was closed to traffic several years ago and pedestrians crossing the river now walk on the main part of the structure. The footpath extension, on the upstream elevation of the bridge, is closed and has been out of use for some considerable time. 

The works underway comprise of the removal of the out of use parts of footpath extension which forms a separate attachment to the main bridge. Its removal will not affect pedestrian usage as there will be no change to the main structure.

The redundant footpath components can be re-used and are suitable for installation on a similar structure in Lower Foyers where they will be fitted to provide safe pedestrian crossing.

The Nairn local Members are pleased to support this re-use and are glad that the footbridge will be used to great effect by another Highland community.

Area Chair Councillor Tom Heggie said: “I am delighted that this redundant part of the structure can be reused to the benefit off other citizens in a community our Council area with no detriment to its future use by our own citizens.”

Monday, September 04, 2017

MSP looks at parking problem at Raigmore

Snecky based news I know but it can be quite stressful not being able to find a parking space at Raigmore if you have an appointment or are visiting a patient. Here's what the Labour mannie has to say about it:

Speaking today David Stewart said “ I wrote to the Chief Executive of NHS Highland, Elaine Mead, on this issue, which is one the Board are very well aware of. On the 31st December 2008 the Scottish Government made the decision that parking was made free for patients, visitors and staff at hospitals where charges had previously applied. The then Health Secretary confirmed that the move would help to reaffirm the NHS's founding principle of healthcare free at the point of delivery. 

“The Board are aware of anecdotal stories of people using the car park at Raigmore as a park and ride, or for holiday parking, but have stated they can only act when people draw these issues to their attention. The Board ask that if anyone knows that this is happening they point it out to NHS Highland at the time, allowing them to not only identify the car, but also so we can take appropriate action.NHS Highland are currently taking action against the owner/driver of one vehicle which has been so parked within the Hospital parking area.

David Stewart continued “ Amongst options being looked at by the Board are to establish if alternative arrangements could be put in place for many appointments including telephone or video conferencing consultations. There is a Highland-wide programme of work looking into this option which if progressed could save many patients, particularly outpatients, coming into Raigmore Hospital.

“ Finally I would say to the drivers of cars who are misusing the car parking space at Raigmore when they don’t have hospital business, they are blocking a space which a patient or visitor could use. I am only too aware of the added stress for those attending the hospital when they can’t find a parking space, which is why I would ask anyone who is doing this to please stop, think and be more considerate.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Turriff 1 Nairn 2 - Pictures from County Chairman and spiritual leader Donald Matheson

Another impressive performance from the Wee County away at Turriff on Saturday. Individual images here. 



Some impressive football from Ronnie and his players this season so far and two home games coming up this Saturday 26th  and the week after too on Weds 30th - please get along if you can.


August 26, 2017 - Highland League

Nairn CountyvsLossiemouth
Kick-Off: 1500
Match Sponsor: Alec Johnston/Boys on the Hill
Ball Sponsor: Nairn Insurance Services/Jessica Cowie - mcinnes/The Havelock/Nairn Laundry

August 30, 2017 - Highland League

Nairn CountyvsWick Academy
Kick-Off: 2000


Duck, Swan and Pigeon news - good and bad stuff going down on the lower river

More here on the swan mannie's blog. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Young at Heart BBQ Whinnieknowe

This observer had the pleasure of being invited to the Young at Heart BBQ at Whinnieknowe earlier today. Burgers, cakes and a sing song as the weather stayed kind for an afternoon's activities. Individual images here.

 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Objections to high density housing scheme on Jac's former home stacking up

If you have a moment pop along to have a look at the Highland Council e-planning pages for the application for 31 affordable homes on the former Morganti plot just on the left there the other side of the railway bridge on the Forres Road.  Click on the Comments tab and then Public Comments on this e-planning page here to see the objections. 

Wonder what the result will be fellow Gurnites - 31 homes on a wee high density site with the destruction of all the trees or something a lot more sensible with the retention of the trees? Why should folk have to live on high density schemes just because they are tenants in social housing? 

Will the future layout of Nairn be decided on profit alone or will the community have a voice? 

Will Community Empowerment become real and tangible in Nairn or will it become  another centralised service scooped up by the Glenurquhart Road high heid yins and delivered by Death by Powerpoint presentations? People in Nairn need power and influence when it comes to planning for that to happen and for the democratic deficit in Nairn to start to be rectified. The track record is not good, good luck to Tom Heggie and those of his colleagues willing to fight on the town's behalf - we await with interest how this application goes. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Please have a read of the information on this fund raiser page.

First pink salmon has been caught on the Nairn

Charlie Black tells the Gurn that the first pink salmon has been caught on the River Nairn (see image below).

He went on to tell us: "if any angler catches one it must be killed , as they are already in the Spey, Findhorn and Ness. Also to report it to the NAA at Pat Frasers, or the Water Bailiff.

These fish are another invasive species and may interfere with our precious Atlantic Salmon that are in the river Nairn. The Fish was caught at Spindrift and others have been spotted there. 

There is currently a project to try and get them out of the river as they are now spawning."

More details about pink salmon in this Daily Telegraph article here.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Aye "density" - a planning application that just packs them in a bit too much?

Readers here may have seen the article in the Leopold Street Thunderer this week on page 5 which has an Architect's impression of the type of houses that are proposed by Deveron Homes and Albyn Housing for the plot on the vacant ground just past the railway bridge on the Forres road - the former site of the Bungalow that Jacopo Morganti and his family used to live in. 

Get yourself a copy of the Nairnshire to see the drawings or go online and have a browse here on the Highland Council e-planning site. It will be remembered by many perhaps that Deveron Homes received a lot of grief over housing density with their plans for the Sandown Lands. A quick Google search will bring you up to speed with everything that happened there. There was a public inquiry and a lot of suits trooped in for the duration.  It all ended badly.

So here is what the Nairnshire Telegraph had to say in it's editorial this week:

"The old Morganti land's access directly onto  the A96, on  a bend, in between two major junctions, may have been adequate for the traffic from a bungalow. A development of 31 homes is something else. Does the developer remember his Sandown experience?" 

The Gurn would simply like to add that just because social housing is proposed why should it at such a density? Below is a drawing from a previous application that shows five bungalows. That application was successful but nothing ever happened. OK then how about a dozen "social houses" instead of 31 with a bit more room for the bairns and the mature trees and as many as possible of the ones that have grown up in recent years on the site retained. 

Just because these are not private houses it doesn't mean there shouldn't be a decent amount of space for everyone. Let's have space for folk in Nairn be it private or public. If you think 31 houses is a bit too much for this plot then please go along and make a comment on the e-planning site here - alternatively if you think the plans from Deveron and Albyn are cool then go online and support them if you wish but we hope most folk would think a reduction in density appropriate.