Thursday, March 22, 2018

Home Bargains and a McDonalds up at Balmakeith next to Sainsbury's - Nairn River Community Council online poll

23rd March 2018 UPDATE: Poll now removed from Nairn River Community Council Facebook page. We understand it may return however in a format containing more information and an indication to social media users that the best means of ensuring their voices are heard on this or other planning applications is to make comments officially on the Highland Council e-planning pages. 

Follow The Link below if you have a Facebook account and vote in the River CC poll.

So far a massive surge in support for the planning application. Perhaps an indication of how large retail development has been prevented outside the town centre for so long until in recent years when Sainsbury's arrived. Here at the Gurn we have no interest whatever in the McDonalds but whatever the rights and wrongs of it it this observer suspects that many people, especially the young, will be in favour of this development. There is also discussion on the popular Nairn Rocks Facebook page. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Parking charges consultation - is it simply all about "when and how to implement them" then? Worrying statement from Dingwall Councillor

Here's what a Dingwall Councillor seems to think.

Wouldn't have been wonderful if Nairn's three Highland Councillors that actually voted for the budget had instead gone the other way and stood up and said that Parking Charges were unacceptable to our community and if the Highland Council regime tried to implement them on Nairn then they would lead the Civil Resistance should there be attempts to actually install them? 

Highland League Cup Nairn 3 Fraserburgh 4 pictures Donald Matheson

 Individual images here

Wednesday, March 14, 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. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cinema Nairn - My Cousin Rachel (12A) - Friday 16th March 7.30pm Nairn Community and Arts Centre - Tickets at the door.

Daphne du Maurier was masterful in gradually unfolding a tale with myriad twists and turns to ratchet up suspense. Her novel ‘My Cousin Rachel’ tells of how a young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin’s beautiful and mysterious widow whom he suspects of murder, only to become besotted with her. Rachel Weisz puts in an immense performance as the enigmatic Rachel, by turns compassionate and sinister, while Sam Caflin plays the immature and impressionable young man under the spell of this fascinating older woman.

Sumptuous period settings and the beautiful vistas of South Coast do not make this a period piece, for Rachel is a thoroughly modern woman, and one is constantly wrestling with whether to feel compassion or antipathy towards her. ‘Did she or didn’t she?’ Come and find out at Cinema Nairn’s film on Friday 16th March 7.30pm at Nairn Community and Arts Centre.

Spinning it, Highland Council's free dinners budget for Councillors looks set to go over budget when it should have been cut back.

More in the current edition of the Highland News (excellent journalism from Emma Crichton) and a discussion over on the ever-popular Nairn Our Town Facebook page on the article in question. 

But Nairn's premier fake news site has fallen out of its lunchbox on this one - more over on the Spin.

Nairn Dunbar help out with machinery loan for the Links putting green

Monday, March 12, 2018

Cyber-crime awareness event - watch the livestream at Cawdor Community Centre

"Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership will host the live stream of the event at Cawdor Community Centre between 1245 hours and 1545 hours on Tuesday 13 March 2018

We encourage the public and representatives of businesses and charities in Nairn and Nairnshire to attend or send a representative who can then cascade the information to colleagues. 

This event is also open to members of the public. If you wish to attend at Cawdor Community Centre and view the livestream, please email by 12/03/2018 to secure your place"

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Highland League Cup Nairn 3 Fraserburgh 4

Match report here. Ronnie's reaction here. Video below shows Kenny MacKenzie getting Nairn's 2nd goal of the cup tie.

John Finnie MSP calls for Better Bus Services in the Highlands and Islands

Scottish Greens Transport Spokesperson John Finnie MSP, has said that poor bus services are “letting down” communities in the Highlands and Islands.

A Citizens Advice Scotland Bus Users Survey (1) published this week showed that 64% of respondents were generally dissatisfied with the service frequency of their local bus, with service frequency, punctuality and value for money highlighted as the three most important issues to bus users.

In the HITRANS area 69% of people expressed dissatisfaction with the frequency of services, while 66% expressed dissatisfaction with processes for providing feedback.

Commenting on the publication Mr Finnie said:

“A lack of quality bus services is letting down communities throughout the Highlands and Islands. Folk don’t have unreasonable expectations - they want decent services that connect communities, turn up on time and don’t cost a fortune.

“The Scottish Green Party have long called for regulation of bus services. It’s simply not acceptable that private operators are able to cherry pick the premium, profitable routes, while other communities are abandoned.

“The Scottish Government are due to bring forward a transport bill this year, and I will be fighting to ensure that better buses are at the heart of this legislation. Lothian Buses, owned by the City of Edinburgh Council, provides an excellent service in our nation’s capital. I see no reason why this model shouldn’t be rolled out across the rest of the country, ensuring profits made in our public transport system is reinvested to improve the service.”

STV news website "Pizza delivery and takeaway 1st Pizza Direct in Inverness underpaid 87 staff by a total of £25668..."

Stop RBS closures - MP Drew Hendry supporting local campaigners on Nairn High Street

Missing Dog - Bramble last seen Delnies (secret beach) area west of Nairn around 17.30 Friday 9th March

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

In town Saturday morning - why not pop down the High Street for 10.30 am ?

For details of the effect bank closures can have on communites like ours please see the video below of Drew Hendry MP speaking in Nairn Recently. 

Monday, March 05, 2018

Is the parking charges worm turning? Even folk in Inverness worried about Highland Council proposals now "Fears over impact on rise of car parking charges"

"Fears have been voiced that struggling businesses will be hit by hikes in car parking fees – with a minimum £1-an-hour charge to be introduced at all Highland Council sites."  More in the Press and Journal - follow the link in the embedded tweet below. 

Saturday, March 03, 2018

"The imposition of charges for Public Conveniences and Parking provision will have a terrible impact on our town centres and tourist attractions. Another false economy"

Here's a press release we received from Highland Councillor Emma Knox (SNP) on Highland Council budget matters:

"Councillor Emma Knox says that there is a lot of misinformation coming from the Highland Council's Independent/Lib/Lab administration about funding from the Scottish Government.

The financial settlement for year 2018/2019 shows that the council will receive £439.463m revenue this represents a flat cash settlement - the same as they received in 2017/2018 accounting for inflation. (ie more actual cash).

When council tax is added, estimated at £128.2m (including a 3% rise) this gives a revenue budget of £567m. One million pounds more than 2017/18 in real terms.

Added to this, we have the Scottish Governments Capital grant to the council which is £4.4m more than the previous year. A total of £41.305m.

In the auditor’s report for the council in September 2017 the headline figures were that in 2017/18 the Highland Council had an agreed revenue budget of £566m which included 14.3m.

On top of this money they have also been giving money for three flood prevention schemes:
· Smithton & Culloden = £9.03m
· Caol & Lochside = £294k
· Drumnadrochit = £196k
This is another £9.583m.

Cllr Knox explains that the Scottish government has not reduced or cut the Highland Council money. In fact, it has increased it's funding to the Highland Council for year 2018/2019.

So, why does the Highland Council now have to find £15m savings?

Cllr Knox says that this is because the Highland Council has not made the savings it was required to do over the two and a half years which has resulted in this accumulated total. It’s down to bad management and poor leadership at Highland council.

In the auditor’s report for the council in September 2017 the headline figures were that in 2017/18 the Highland Council had an agreed revenue budget of £566m which included 14.3m of savings.

We are moving into 2018/2019 with the same level of savings outstanding. No attempts were made to make any savings, therefore radical changes are now needed.

Cllr Knox suggests that regular reviews are required which must be deeper in their scrutiny and delivery. The Design Board, a cross party committee set up to review spending and identify savings, needs to be more probing and must be provided with up to date and accurate information.

The Elected Members should receive more regular and detailed financial updates - at least quarterly, so that we can properly scrutinise and review spending and identify genuine inefficiencies

The accusation directed at the Scottish Government by the Independent-led council is that the Highlands are being neglected and our special circumstances (geography, rurality, remoteness etc) are being ignored when funding is handed out, and the central belt receives all the funding. This is not true.

2018/19 Scottish Govt funding levels place the Highlands 5th out of 32 councils, with a 10.3% rise in funding. The four councils above us are all rural.
The Highlands receives 107.8% of the Scottish average council revenue funding (7.8% more for each person in the Highlands.)

The Highlands is in the top ten of all Scottish councils, with most central belt councils (apart from the most deprived areas of Glasgow) receiving less.

We will of course continue to fight to attract as much funding as possible for the Highlands and we do recognise and pray in aid it’s unique circumstances including rurality and remoteness. We will continue to seek the best for our own constituents but our endeavours must be founded on facts and evidence, not on political point scoring and seeking to blame our failings on the Scottish Government.

Councils in England have seen their funding cut by 40%-60% over the last 6 years.

From 2017/18 to 2018/19 their funding is again being cut by an average of 5.4% and in year 2019/20 another cut of 14.2% is being imposed thereafter.

The Highland Council has received a pretty good settlement from the Scottish Government - above the Scottish average. The problems the Highland council is experiencing now culminating in the recent cuts they have forced through, stem from *bad management* and lack of leadership.

Cllr Knox said, it’s crazy to cut grants to Community Councils and the Ward Discretionary Funds. The Administration claims to promote community empowerment and consultation, yet they have just halved the money available to our local communities. This is a false economy as those community groups often take up the slack in areas neglected by the Council including, community gritting and snow clearing, flower displays and gardening, communal leisure areas, infrastructure repairs and much more. In the grand scheme of things this cut is a relatively small amount of money and it shows little imagination – they have picked on the easy targets.

Many of the cuts will hit the most vulnerable including cuts to Women’s Aid, Family Teams, Adult Support Services and Childcare providers. Again, these unnecessary cuts to vital services will give rise to Council spending elsewhere as we are required to pick up the pieces – so there is no real saving in the long run.

The imposition of charges for Public Conveniences and Parking provision will have a terrible impact on our town centres and tourist attractions. Another false economy. The Administration tried to claim that consultation for this budget was “unprecedented” yet, they accused the SNP, the media and a senior Highland Council Officer of “scaremongering” when they alerted the public to some of the proposed cuts, in particular, the threatened cuts to Additional Support Needs and Teacher numbers. In the absence of adequate consultation, it was these so called “leaks” that gave our communities the chance to make their views known and successfully campaign for a rethink.

Cllr Knox asks, where was the consultation to cut public conveniences and free parking? Residents around the North Coast 500 route are crying out for more public toilets and there has been outcry in Nairn and elsewhere about the parking charges. It became evident just how ill-thought out the Administration’s parking charges are when it was revealed they are trying to impose parking charges at Falls of Shin, on land that is not even owned by the Council. The car park is the property of Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, and the Trust has since confirmed that it will not be introducing parking charges at Falls of Shin."

Friday, March 02, 2018

A new Nairn Acadamy not featuring in immediate Highland Council spending plans: "No concrete commitments announced, only plans to bid for Scottish Government funding revealed"

Here's Moray Firth Radio's take on it. A Nairn resident asks the station on their facebook page:

"Nothing for nairn academy? Ridiculous"

MFR comes back:

"No concrete commitments announced, only plans to bid for Scottish Government funding revealed - 'Business cases will require to be developed as part of the bidding process, but the Council Administration has identified the following as its priorities to be developed as bids for years 1-5; a Tain 3-18 campus; the Invergordon schools; the SECONDARY SCHOOLS in Fortrose and NAIRN; the primary schools in Beauly, Broadford, Dunvegan and Tarradale; and the St Clements special school."

Anyone recognise this chicken?

Found in the vicinity of the skateboard park, ongoing efforts apparently to reunite it with the owner but if anyone has information we can pass it on for you. 

Budget threads Cllrs Emma Knox and Ben Thompson of Highland Council - further material for all serious students of the cuts and charges facing Nairn after the recent HC budget

Yesterday we published details from a thread by SNP opposition candidate Emma Knox. We updated that article with comments from Independent Cllr Ben Thompson. Today Ben Thompson has published further material in a thread here. We realise that in Internet user terms that twitter is a minority sport but there is quite a lot of information out there and a lot of politicians use it regularly.