Friday, November 15, 2019

Information from the candidates for the election to Nairn River Community Council to help your choice - Ballot papers to be returned by 12 noon on Wednesday, 4 December 2019

"Ballot papers will be issued by post to all registered electors in their community council area and must be returned in the pre-paid envelope provided by 12 noon on Wednesday, 4 December 2019."

Here at the Gurn we have offered the candidates the opportunity to say a little bit about themselves and the reasons they have for standing. We will add the statements to the list below as we receive them so please bookmark this page for future reference if you are a voter in the NRCC election.

It'd be cool if there was a massive turnout for this election – good for Nairn, good for democracy and good for telling the world what this community thinks and desires.

Hamish Donald Bain

I grew up in Shanghai or as others might know it Queenspark. I was educated at Millbank & the Old Academy (now Rosebank Primary). I howked tatties; picked rasps & berries delivered papers and delivered groceries by bike, from the local shoppies, traditional money earners in this part of the World, those of us that did it will know it to be hard work too. Leaving school I worked as a print machine operator at 'The Nairnshire Telegraph' producing the paper with all the gossip, general information and local News. I am well versed in the opinions of the Town then and now.

I joined NRCC at the 2015 election. Since then there has been many upheavals, mostly caused by the
Planning department ignoring local needs; one example being approval of large houses where local needs are for small one or two bedroom properties.

I do object to the seemingly continuous creep of housing along Lochloy Road creating issues at the A96 junction, issues with the Town infrastructure and lack of superior building control, without the anticipated School or shop being provided. I object to housing being imposed on Nairn that will result in creating more issues than are solved. Nairn needs housing of the right type, in the right healthy, safe places - that I do support. Why build houses in Nairn when it then empties, like a drain, along both sides of the A96 to Inverness, Forres or Elgin for work only to fill back up again at night? Thats part of the 18000 vehicles passing along Marine Road every day. Nairn needs jobs and then housing. NRCC declared a ‘climate emergency’ before Highland Council did so.

I challenged the Highland Council and our Councillors, on their more unsavoury plans for Nairn, imposing Parking Charges; Common Good Issues - apparent disappearing assets; lack of proper consultation; Links Development processes, resulting in some heated discussions. I am open to working with them for the Towns benefit with the new Community Empowerment Act, the NRCC, must be consulted on all planning or licensing applications and on any new policy proposals.

The High Street needs rejuvenated and that must be pushed on. We need more Tourism that local businesses are able to capitalise on. I will continue to fight to get the High Street cleaned and up-kept. I will fight for improved facilities in the Town: mobile home facility away from the Harbour; maintenance to the Harbour; new well maintained Public toilets; supporting attractions like the historic guided walks; nature walks; beach entertainments.

NRCC has a reputation as an Environmental group supporting local green and wild areas, this I want to pursue and promote, there are funds available to do so, through the Rural Development Fund, only the Highland Council can apply for these on the Towns behalf. The NRCC in recent years has never been a politically divisive forum as can be witnessed by the good relationship that was built up across the different Communities represented and I will work to keep it democratic without fear or favour for the membership.

Steven James Bain

I have been a member of Nairn River Community Council for the last 4 years and very much hope to become elected again.

I have lived in Nairn all my life firstly staying in Boathpark before moving to Queenspark both areas are in the Nairn River boundary.

I attended Millbank primary school and the present Nairn Academy before starting my training in Accountancy and Auditing at a firm in Inverness before moving back to Nairn after 12 years, to take up the position of Tax Manager at Ritson Young, Chartered Accountants on Nairn High Street.

I have been involved in many clubs in Nairn including over 30 years on the committee of Nairn County Football Club where my position is in the area of fundraising, during this period I was also very instrumental in two rescue packages to safeguard the club’s future, I also enjoy kayaking and have served on the committee of Nairn Kayak Club for the last 7 years, I also played cricket for Nairn County in my younger days.

Living and working in Nairn has made me very aware of the people of Nairn views, problems and aspirations for our beautiful town, I am very much aware of their concerns and really want to try and make Nairn a better place. For this to happen both Nairn River and Nairn West & Surburban Community Councils need to work closely together. Although both community councils in Nairn have different areas of the town we must at all times work together for the benefit of Nairn

During my previous 4 year term Nairn has faced many problems such as the decline of the High Street, housing and at present potential car parking charges. We must all work together and listen to the voice of our community. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 will allow communities to have a greater say and we really need to grasp this.

The Nairn Common Good Fund is also an area that interest’s me and it is important the residents of Nairn are aware of this fund as it was set up for the benefit of the people of Nairn. If elected I would continue to ensure these assets are available to the people of Nairn for future years to come.

I am personally delighted that 20 names have come forward to contest the Nairn River Community Council election and I find it heart-warming that so many people care about our town. 

Good luck to everyone involved.

Paul Cutress

Originally born in Forres and “dragged up” on Findhorn Bay, after a sojourn south of the border I returned as one of the senior management team at Sainsburys before moving on from there to Inverness BMW a couple of years ago. 

Previously residing in Fishertown and now on the Lochloy development, I am keen to ensure Nairn retains its local identity and status as one of the best places to live in and visit in the Highlands

We live in arguably the most beautiful part of the highlands and we are blessed with superb beaches, a diverse and thriving wildlife, a key salmon/dolphin habitat and most of all a fantastic community.

All of these must not just be protected, but be at the heart of our future policies and action plans.

With increasing financial pressures on county councils placed on them by government departments, it is vital we ensure Nairn does not fall prey to non-sensical ideas such as parking charges or any other revenue generators just to top up Highland council coffers. 

We must collaborate to encourage more tourists and therefore external revenue sources; support and encourage the re-livening of our high street, our “shop window”, whilst at the same time leading the drive to a sustainable and environmentally sound neighbourhood.

It’s easy to say I will do this or I will do that – it’s not so easy to actually get it done given the constraints and challenges the bureaucracy places on the community councillors. So rather than make empty promises, what I will say is that given my experience of dealing with figures in senior positions and ability to see through the smoke and mirrors I will ensure that at the very heart of my actions will be the common good of the Nairn community and environment.

And I don’t just mean the community and environment of today – our children are currently set to inherit a whole host of issues, none of which they are responsible for – They deserve our – MY- best efforts to improve the situation going forward so all policies should look to the future and not just be short term fixes.

Just like you this town is my home. I plan to retire here and spend the rest of my life here and therefore it is in my interest to do the best for our community that I can.

Ann Fuller

Stephen Kenneth Fuller

Peter Gibson

Ian Ramsay Gordon

I was born in Edinburgh and educated at two schools there including Boroughmuir, I attended the College of Commerce (now Edinburgh Napier University). I became a member of the Association of the Institute of Work Study Practitioners) and started work as a work study engineer with George Waterson and Sons – they printed stationery and among other things banknotes. It was a fascinating place to work and I took a stationery apprenticeship simultaneously to gain more knowledge of the shop floor.

My father was in printing too and a Father of the Chapel for his workplace, he always told me “always watch the spine of the book, you break the spine of the book, you break the book.”

I went to Scottish and Newcastle Breweries to continue in the work study field and later became a manager of a large Edinburgh city centre establishment. It was a learning process and very hard work, one day a week off. I met my ex-wife in June 1977 just after I changed direction and started work at the Inland Revenue and we were married in 1979.

I had a tremendously interesting working life but the best was still to come when I became a hotelier in Nairn and I cherish the friendships and many, many happy memories that this community has given me. Our family move to Nairn was a very fortunate and rewarding one.

I'm not a Boris, if you ask me a question I will give you an answer.

Nairn has been sidelined – just look at what Dingwall has had out of Highland Council. It's always been thus. I get despondent when I look around and see the beauty of what we can give, not take give, but everything is dealt with from other places – Nairn needs its' autonomy back.

I'd give Murd his bridge, I've got a lot of time for Murd, if there were more people of Murd's type then there would be far more scrutiny of how proposals affect individuals and communities – this watchdog element is an important task for community councils and vigilance must be ever-present.

I remember the old Provost of Nairn Nigel Graham: I was a million miles away from his party political politics but remember how he didn't take fools gladly, he had gravitas, he would simply have said no to the ridiculous folly that is parking charges and the idea would have vanished. The present day autocratic moves that are inimical to Nairn would not have been tolerated by him. Fast forward to the present day and is hard for our elected representatives at Highland Council level to achieve much in the current institutional climate of the 80 member chamber at Glenurquhart Road, but we have to assist them in being as assertive and as inventive as possible in achieving the maximum for Nairn, be it through the confines of their institution or through a multi-agency approach or with “out of the box thinking” to find new solutions for Nairn.

I admire the current chair of River Community Council, Tommy Hogg, I don't always agree with him but his heart is in the right place – it is all about Nairn and there's no self interest with Tommy. If elected I would look forward to working with Tommy to do everything I can for the Common Good of all in our community.  

Helena Harcourt
I came to this beautiful and friendly place in 1991, initially staying in Piperhill and am now settled with Stevie the bullterrier in Fishertown. I worked for UHI, Doctors without Borders (MSF) and Ashers amongst others but always did voluntary work for such organisations as Association of Probation workers, The Red Cross, Reach out Highland, Rape and Abuse Line, Victim Support, Citizens Advice Bureau, Nairn 101, WEA, the Scottish Regional Advisory Group for the Northern Periphery, Highland Domestic Abuse Forum and SSPCA. I left Greenhive with Corinne Ferguson to start Nairn Eco( to be found on Facebook) where we are working towards a cleaner environment with Surfers Against Sewage on the Plastic-free Coastline project to reduce single-use plastics in and around Nairn. In collaboration with BID and Nairn businesses, we try to assist in finding alternatives to single-use plastics. 

Reducing single-use plastics is important to me and I want to work on a strategic level, changing
daily habits while making this easy to achieve. Highland Council took the motion in 2018 to promote environmental awareness and encourage people to pick up 3 pieces of rubbish which is a good starting point. I also wish to look after the town of Nairn, building on Alan Barron’s work in capturing the rich heritage. It would also be good to find a way of reviving the High street and make the town as appealing to tourists as possible for the short season.

My background is a law degree from Sweden and I proceeded to take diplomas and exams in Languages and Communication, French, as well as in Remote Learning. I did several Harvard courses on Humanitarian Aid and Action.

I have a lot of experience of collaborative projects and partnerships to further social justice, community cohesion, and development. Along the way I acquired good communication and networking skills, being able to bring the human dimension to problem-solving and can think out of the box. I consider myself as having a keen social conscience and wish to work towards social equality and integration.

Ian Michael Henderson

Tommy Hogg

Mandy Lawson

I have been a member of Nairn River Community Council for the last 2 years. I am a Nairnite, who left in the 1980’s and returned in 2016 to live in Fishertown. I love this town.

I have worked in local government, adult training, and community partnerships. If elected I will be an accessible and vocal representative for Nairn River communities and will work hard to help local residents have a proper say in Highland policy and planning decisions which affect our town. I believe that the people who know best what Nairn needs are those who live here and use local services.

Many problems Nairn faces today are a consequence of 20 years of ‘remote’ management by Highland HQ in Inverness, since Nairn District Council was disbanded in 1996.

Highland Council Planning decisions have frequently ignored local concerns, in favour of Inverness HQ’s corporate interests.

The last thing Nairn needs is more Highland Council resources wasted on ill informed plans or damaging policies like parking charges which chase shoppers out of town, or traffic lights that no one asked for.

Building 850 new homes at Lochloy, with no school, shop or community facilities has stretched Nairn’s infrastructure to the limit and failed to address local demand for social housing.

By law Community Councils must be consulted on all planning and licensing applications and new policy proposals, especially those which affect use of Nairn Common Good lands at the Links, Maggot, Riverside, Viewfield and Sandown which were gifted to the former Royal Burgh for sole benefit of its citizens.

I will push for a new community led Locality Plan, to be designed in Nairn to reflect local needs and priorities, and ensure that we don’t become just another suburb of Inverness.

I will fight for free local parking, clean and accessible public toilets, parks, paths and streets, housing to match local needs,and more local jobs to keep Nairn nice for locals as well as visitors.

I welcome the commitment of Highland Council’s new management to greater local control over local services. This means full community consultation on everything.

It also means Highland Councillors and officers must work more openly and collaboratively with communities as they are accountable for how local taxes and developer contributions are spent. No more decisions behind closed doors. Last year the 5 Nairnshire Community Councils secured one seat on our local Community Planning Partnership. As the Nairnshire Local Area Committee will have more decision making powers for the area, including on Nairn Common Good matters, I will campaign for a community voice there too. Proper local oversight of Nairn’s Common Good Assets is vital to maintain these amenities for future generations

The last two years have been a tough apprenticeship with Nairn River CC.  The next four years will present further challenges for sure but I am well prepared and ready to continue to serve my community as a proactive Community Councillor.

Veronica Mackinnon

I have lived in Nairn all my life, born in Nairn Town and County Hospital. I grew up in Fishertown and attended the Links School, moving on to Millbank and Nairn Academy. I support the Natural World in my daily life and have contributed to the preservation of several wildlife and forested areas in and around Nairn. I have a wildlife garden to encourage birds and small mammals, hedgehogs love it. This summer we had quite a few hoglets, so they appear not to be in decline in our area.

My home is in Boathpark, close to the Riverside. Most days I meet folk while walking my dog, Bear, and often as not have a chat with old and new acquaintances along the way.

Joining Nairn River Community Council, I soon became aware of how important it was that we locals should have a say in what happens in our town. 

We, NRCC, have been given the nomenclature "Watchdogs" as a result of ensuring the correct processes have been followed by The Highland Council, the elected representatives and the HC Officials. This sometimes puts us at odds with these people but that is only for the good of Nairn. NRCC have a reputation of being an Environmental Group and earned this well before the Highland Council declared the current Climate Emergency. Hopefully this will continue with the next Council.

Louis Anderson McIntosh

Paul Carlo McIvor

Linda Morton

Simon Noble

Jim Ross

My wife and I have lived in Nairn for 14 years, though my connections to the area go back a lot further. My mother’s maiden name was Nairn and my great-great-grandfather was married in Cawdor in 1816! My wife, Pauline, is already involved with the local community as secretary of the local U3A group.I am now retired, having spent over 40 years in the oil & gas business in both technical and managerial roles. My background is strongly science-based with a PhD in geophysics, though I also have a Master’s degree in petroleum law and policy.

I have not served as a Community Councillor previously, but have attended a couple of NRCC meetings. That experience, together with encouragement from one of the Community Councillors from the previous NRCC, has led me to apply for such a role. I was surprised at those meetings to witness evidence of significant discord between some of the Community Councillors and our representatives on the Highland Council. Meaningful communications and even trust appeared to be lacking. Hence, I see it as an absolute priority to ensure a closer and more collaborative relationship between NRCC and our four Highland Councillors in the future. Of course there will be differences of opinion, but there must be a recognition that ultimately we should all be working for the benefit of those who live within our community. Compromises will always be necessary, especially with limited funds available. This means the NRCC should be focussed on identifying practical solutions to addressing the local needs (as expressed by the locals!) and avoiding at all costs politically-driven agendas.

Where interests overlap, which is surely much of the time, close coordination with Nairn West and Suburban CC (and potentially other adjacent community councils) is essential. My understanding is that this has been the case in recent times and it should continue to be strongly supported.

NRCC should be developing proposals on behalf of the community that it represents, which can then be progressed by our Highland Councillors. At the same time, however, NRCC must also be prepared to call out the Highland Councillors if they are making decisions that directly affect our community without first consulting with NRCC. Good communications, pragmatism and respect are essential from both sides.

Stewart Hunter Stansfield

David Fraser Thomson

Katrina Ann Woods

--> -->

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Nairn CAB Employment Rights Campaign

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau recently launched ‘Do the Rights Thing’, a new campaign to help raise awareness among young people in Nairnshire of their employment rights.

The campaign, which is taking place across Scotland through the Citizens Advice network, aims to:

Raise awareness among young people of their employment rights and where they can seek advice online 
Empower young people to take action when their rights are not being upheld 

Encourage young people to share their experiences of poor employment practices via an online interactive form 

CAS’s Advice for Scotland website has detailed information on rights in the workplace and can be found by visiting

Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau Manager, Gill MacLean, said: “Knowing your rights at work is very important at any age but particularly for young people who are often trapped in a cycle of insecure work, low pay and limited opportunities. 

“That’s why as part of our ‘Do the Rights Thing’ campaign we are hosting an employment advice drop in session on Thursday 14th November in the bureau from 17.30 to19.30.

“This will give young people in Nairnshire the confidence around knowing their employment rights and empower them to take action when they are not being upheld.

“Our Advice for Scotland website is also a fantastic resource with easy to understand information about your rights at work and we’re also asking young people to submit their bad experiences at work online.

“You don’t have to give your name or personal details if you don’t want to and by taking part you’ll be able to inform our future work as we continue to stand up for young people in Nairnshire

Monday, November 11, 2019

Are you a candidate in the election to Nairn River Community Council?

Are you a candidate in the election to Nairn River Community Council?

In the hope of encouraging public interest in the election would like to offer each candidate the opportunity to say a bit about themselves and why they are standing for election.

It'll be a maximum of 500 words (as little or as much as you like) and please include a picture of yourself if you wish.

It'd be cool if there was a massive turnout for this election – good for Nairn, good for democracy and good for telling the world what this community thinks and desires.
Please send details to

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Police looking for Wheelie Bin fire-raisers - 3 fires evening Friday 8 Nov in Nairn - can you help?

Friday, November 08, 2019

Affordable Housing and CAB for former Social Work buildings on King Street. Regeneration - demolition or renovation? Cash from Scottish Government Town Centre capital grant fund

From a Highland Council press release:

"Over £2.3 million pounds of investment is set to benefit town centres across the Highlands with 30 transformational projects about to get underway to stimulate economic investment and to help towns diversify and flourish.

The Town Centre capital grant fund from the Scottish Government is targeted to encourage town and city centres to diversify and flourish, giving new purpose and creating footfall.

To reflect the Council’s commitment to localism over the last few months Area Committees* have been actively engaging with communities and involved in helping to identifying and recommend ranked projects that fit in with the criteria. A Cross Party Working Group have then approved the successful projects.

They include:"

And they include Nairn:


King Street, Nairn – Regeneration of vacant town centre property into a mixed use (Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau and affordable housing) development."

Here at the Gurn we had heard a rumour that this was on the way and that perhaps there would be a demolition of the existing building involved before work got underway on the accommodation and CAB office. No doubt more details will eventually be revealed. 

Murd Dunbar will be delighted he has been calling for the former social work buildings to be turned into accommodation for many years. Perhaps they've finally taken the hint Murd?

Friday, November 01, 2019

Nairn Healthcare News Autumn 2019

Here's the Latest Nairn Healthcare newsletter. A Word document converted to image files for easier posting. Click on each image to enlarge if you are having trouble reading. The links in the images will not work but you can see the document on a web page where they will here. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Kennel Cough in the Nairn area.

Moray Coast Vets are reporting a high number of cases of Kennel Cough in the area at the moment.

They said, 

"Kennel cough is an umbrella term given to a number of different viruses and bacteria that cause an infectious cough in dogs. They attack the lining of a dog's respiratory tract causing inflammation resulting in irritation and a dry cough. In the majority of cases this is self limiting and is much like us having a cold.

It is highly contagious however. Dogs can be infected via airborne spread, direct contact with infected dogs or indirect contact with things infected dogs have slobbered on eg toys and bowls. An infected dog tends to be contagious for 2 weeks and may still cough in this time or may not. 

If your dog has kennel cough it is not an emergency. Like the human cold it very rarely needs treatment. In majority of cases they will recover uneventfully with TLC and wetting dry food so as to limit discomfort on the throat.

There is no need to seek veterinary attention unless this cough is ongoing for over a week or if your dog is off food or listless.

If your dog is infected it would be good idea to isolate them from other dogs as much as possible for 2 weeks-eg avoiding groomers, vets, and popular walking areas.

There is a kennel cough vaccine available, It doesn't provide a 100% protection but will reduce the severity and duration of signs should your dog get infected. We'd recommend the vaccine for dogs most at risk ie those mixing with a lot of dogs for example attending classes, dog walkers, groomers etc."

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Plans for Albyn supported housing development off Cawdor Road thrown out by councillors

Watch the video of the debate at the Highland Council planning meeting below:

The P&J reported:

"Members of the south planning committee went to the site of the proposed 10-unit Albyn Housing development in Cawdor Road before making their decision.

They witnessed considerable noise from the neighbouring sawmill, and agreed that a 16ft high fence proposed to mitigate noise from the sawmill would be inadequate to reduce noise in the development."

Never mind the General Election - who's going to get on River Community Council? 21 nominations for 12 seats - postal ballot to be held and pre-paid envelope must be back by 12 noon Weds 4th December

Fissures of electoral excitement spreading through the town as the hopefuls for the new Nairn River Community Council term of office are revealed.

Unless there are withdrawals then there will be quite a long ballot paper for voters in the River CC area (Comhairle Coimhearsnachd Abhainn Narann - Representing Lochloy, Merryton, Boath Park, River Park, Broadhill, Fishertown, The High Street area, Mill Rd/Church Street, Cawdor Rd, Queenspark and Firhall). 

According to the Highland Council website the names of candidates nominated are:

Hamish Donald Bain
Steven James Bain
Paul Cutress
Ann Fuller
Stephen Kenneth Fuller
Peter Gibson
Ian Ramsay Gordon
Helena Harcourt
Ian Michael Henderson
Tommy Hogg
Mandy Lawson
Veronica Mackinnon
Louis Anderson McIntosh
Paul Carlo McIvor
Linda Morton
Simon Noble
Paul Oldham
Jim Ross
Stewart Hunter Stansfield
David Fraser Thomson
Katrina Ann Woods

The Council also state: "At the close of the Nomination period for the above election, the number of candidates validly exceeded the total maximum permitted membership as specified for the Community Council area. An election will now take place and each elector will be entitled to vote for a number of candidates up to 12. Ballot papers will be issued by post to all registered electors in their community council area and must be returned in the pre-paid envelope provided by 12 noon on Wednesday, 4 December 2019."

There will be no contest on Nairn West and Suburban as the number of candidates was equal to or below the number of councillors to be returned.

The successful candidates are:

Sheena Baker
Jimmy Ferguson
John Alan Hampson
Ally MacDonald
Lorraine Mallinson
Alastair Luckington Noble
Brian Edward Stewart
Bill Young
Richard Youngson

Update, after close of nominations and withdrawal period there will now be 20 candidates for the River CC election. Paul Oldham must have withdraw his nomination.