Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nairn County's season finally gets underway Wick 0 Nairn 1

In tough conditions at Harmsworth Park last night the Wee County put the recent run of bad form behind them and took three points with a goal in the second half from Conor Gethins. Match report available here on the Highland News. 

Nairn and District gardening Club show Saturday 23rd August

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Will local democracy remain in the bin regardless of the YES or NO outcome?

We've put this post to the top again - interesting comments coming in, including one from prominent local YES campaigner Cllr Colin MacAulay.

One of our correspondents tells us that they are not very impressed with the quality of the Independence debate so far at local and national level. They are particularly unimpressed by lack of a mention of what either outcome might mean for local democracy – something that has been in serious decline in recent years. To this observer this democratic deficit was illustrated again (albeit in a very small way) up at the Cawdor Community Council meeting last week. There was a call for a litter bin at the football pitch. There followed mention of erratic collections and how this service had declined. One of the councillors said to Highland Councillor Roddy Balfour that they would accept any sort of bin that they council would offer as long as somebody was going to empty it. Roddy replied: “That’s the trouble - getting someone out here to empty them.”

One of the Cawdor community councillors is already emptying the bin at the church themselves and was reluctant to accept responsibility for another. There was a suggestion that it could be tied in with the school bins but it was said: “getting rid of rubbish at Cawdor School is quite complicated and not an option.” As the Chair Tim Smith said emptying the bins was “the difficult part of the equation.” 

Now rewind Gurnites to the days of the Nairn District Council. Characters of the calibre of Chrissie Ellen would have simply gone to see the official responsible and it would have been sorted. In the past Councillors had the power and the influence to sort such small things without such ridiculous carry-ons. We have several officials in Inverness earning salaries well in excess of a £100,000 each yet there appears to be no one that could empty an extra litter bin. Maybe there simply is no money left, after all Highland Council is on schedule to notch up a billion pounds of debt in the near future. Maybe the labyrinth of administration is far too complex. It makes you wonder what is the point of a veteran, councillor with the experience of Roddy Balfour even going to meetings if he can’t even get someone to come and empty a bin. It’s hardly asking for a new footbridge across the River Nairn or something like that is it? 

So let’s look at this democratic deficit again. And for this we steal directly from a blog post by Green Activist Andy Wightman in which he details why he thinks the recent Commission for Strengthening Local Democracy’s report believes the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Bill will only tinker with the symptoms of the problem. Here are quotes he has lifted from the report: 

"The case for much stronger local democracy is founded on the simple premise that it is fundamentally better for decisions about these aspirations to be made by those that are most affected by them…

.after decades of power ebbing away, for many people it has become increasingly inconceivable to think that local communities could be in charge of their own affairs.

In the end, all of our thinking has come down to seven fundamental principles that we believe must underpin Scotland’s democratic future.

We have also concluded that the evolution of Scotland’s democratic system across the past 50 years has more or less undermined or inverted all these principles, albeit often with good intentions.

The principle of sovereignty has been so inverted that it is now routine in public policy to talk about governments and local governments “empowering” communities rather than the other way round. The principle of subsidiarity has been undermined by the progressive scaling up of local governance, and central control of local resources and functions. The transition from over 200 local councils in 1974 to only 32 “local” councils in 1996 is one of the most radical programmes of delocalisation that we can identify anywhere in the world. Moreover, Scotland’s local democratic structures can be changed at will by any national government with a majority. That the Scottish Parliament is in exactly the same position with respect to Westminster illustrates how “top down” the whole framework of democracy is."

Andy Wightman’s blog post "Time to rebuild Local Democracy" is here and the Commissions’ final report can be downloaded here

We have a long way to go in getting acceptable local accountability back and it would be healthy to hear more from YES or NO activists on why they believe their particular outcome would lead us to a better democratic deal for local communities – because there are people out there that believe that places like Nairn and Cawdor are stuffed whatever happens at the ballot box on September 18th if centralised administrations continue to cling on to their powerbases without devolution down to communities.

In a newly Independent Scotland would new political parties spring up to campaign on these issues or would allegiances be with the existing structures such as the one at Glenurquhart Road and their preservation? This observer feels personally that it would be easier to campaign for a better local deal in an Independent Scotland but there are some out there not so easily convinced of that. It is a shame that the subject doesn't feature more to the forefront of the debate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Golden Oldie Awards 2014 - Recognising the Service and Achievements of Older People

Do you know of any resident of the Nairn area over the age of 60 deserving of an award for their achievements or contribution to the lives of others or the wider community?

If so, now is the time to nominate them for one of the Golden Oldie Awards 2014.

The Golden Oldie Awards is a new initiative being promoted by the RCOP Highland Project (Reshaping Care for Older People). There are 10 awards in total covering all aspects of local life:

· Most Caring Golden Oldie
· Most Active Golden Oldie
· Most Talented Golden Oldie
· Most Enterprising Golden Oldie
· Most Influential Golden Oldie
· Most Inspiring Golden Oldie
· Most Adventurous Golden Oldie
· Golden Oldie Carer of the Year
· Golden Oldie Community Group of the Year
· Golden Oldie of the Year 

Anyone over the age of 60 living in Nairn or any of the surrounding settlements, including Ardersier, Auldearn, Croy, Cawdoretc can be nominated for an award. Nomination forms can be picked up from the community centre, library or health centre and once completed should be returned via postboxes in the same locations. Alternatively forms can be obtained by contacting Roy Anderson on (01667) 455620 or by emailing Nomination form also available online here. 

“You can nominate as many folk as you want for the various award categories. All you need to provide is their name and reasons why you believe they deserve the award,” said Roy Anderson. “We are particularly anxious to recognise the achievements, service and contribution of the many unsung heroes out there, who put others and the community before self. The nomination form itself provides a more detailed explanation of the type of person we are looking for in each category.”

The closing date for nominations is Monday 15th September, after which a small panel will meet to choose a short leet of three award nominees in each category. The individuals (or groups) chosen will then be invited to a glittering Awards Ceremony on the afternoon of Sunday 5th October in Nairn Arts & Community Centre. Representatives from many of the local community groups and organisations, providing services and activities for older people, will also be invited to the Award Ceremony. On arrival guests will enjoy a nice afternoon tea and be entertained by local musicians. 

The date chosen for the event, 5th October, is now recognised nationally as Silver Sunday with events organised across the country to celebrate old age and the contribution of older folk to the community.

Fresh search into disappearance of Guide Dog Tess takes place in Nairn

We reported earlier on a possible sighting of Tess - please see this thread. And here's some news on the publicity team from the Guide Dogs organisation that were in Nairn on Games Day. 

Over 20 Guide Dogs' staff and volunteers led a new attempt to find missing guide dog Tess in Nairn, the site of her disappearance, on Saturday 16 August.

Staff and volunteers dressed in #FindTess t-shirts knocked on doors around Nairn and handed out 1,200 leaflets to people around the town centre who were gathered for the Highland Games.
Wendy Rankin of Guide Dogs and Tess's owner Fraser Stevenson hand a flyer to a Nairn Resident 
Saturday’s activity prompted new calls to the hotline and Guide Dogs staff will now be following up these fresh sightings.

Tess, a black curly coated Retriever has been missing since 23 July and despite searches by Guide Dogs staff, volunteers and members of the public, appeals for
Guide Dogs Fiona Fraser in Tess t-shirt
information on social media, a poster campaign and local and national media coverage, she is yet to be found.

Fraser Stevenson, Tess’s owner, said: “I am so grateful to everyone who turned out in support of the search on Saturday. We managed to speak to lots of local people and everyone is on the lookout. I hope that people will continue to watch out for Tess, and report any possible sightings that could help to bring her home to me.” 

Terry Thorpe, Mobility Team Manager at Guide Dogs who led the operation, said: “I would like to thank the people of Nairn for taking the time to speak to Guide Dogs staff and volunteers on Saturday. The
Find Tess t-shirts
support we have had in the town since the day Tess went missing has been overwhelming.

“We're following up on all leads that could help us to reunite Tess with Fraser and we're still urging people to continue to come forward with any possible sightings by calling 0800 6888 409.”

Multi-million contract for A96 dualling detailed design work including Nairn Bypass published by Transport Scotland

Transport Scotland state on their website today:

"A contract worth at least £30 million to take forward the detailed design work for the first section of the Scottish Government’s ambitious A96 dualling programme is up for grabs.

Transport Scotland today published the contract notice to begin the process to appoint a multi-disciplinary consultant to take forward the development, assessment and promotion of the preferred option for A96 Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme.

Details of the preferred option are expected to be announced this October.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:  “The Scottish Government has given a clear commitment to dual the A96 by 2030, delivering around 86 miles of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen. This contract when awarded will be worth at worth at least £30 million, and reinforces our determination to invest in this road and all of our city-to-city roads to bring them up to full dual carriageway standard.

“Dualling the A96 is a significant undertaking which requires careful, in-depth planning and design to ensure that we deliver the right scheme to help tackle congestion and provide better journey time reliability and road safety for all users.

"In addition to the preliminary work we are undertaking on the whole of the A96 corridor, we are currently progressing the route option assessment work for the 30 km Inverness to Nairn including Nairn Bypass scheme, and expect to announce a preferred option for this scheme later this year when our plans will go on public display.

“The contract notice being published today will allow us to appoint a design consultant early next year to develop the preferred option and look to publish draft orders for the scheme in 2016.”

As the scheme is progressed, individuals, communities and businesses affected by the work will be kept fully informed and their vital feedback taken into account"

Transport Scotland site is here. 

County drawn away to Vale in Scottish Cup - Saturday September 13th

PPG promise to keep patients informed

The Patients Participation Group have said in relation to statements made by NHS Highland and Nairn Healthcare Group:

"The PPG committee, elected at the AGM of April 2014, feels it has a duty to continue to act as a forum for patients of the practice and to represent patient views. We acknowledge the issues raised by the Practice and following the meeting of 2nd July proposed a plan to achieve a mutually constructive way forward. The Practice nevertheless has made it clear that it is not prepared to work with the PPG in the form elected and confirmed in April.

PPG has had enormous public support, through attendance at its full meetings, interest in the Facebook page and correspondence in the local press and social media. 

With this in mind, we have already spoken with NHS Highland and the Scottish Health Council to explore options by which the people who have supported us can continue to be involved in learning about, contributing to and improving the healthcare of patients in the area. We expect to meet with SHC in the next month and to have further discussions with NHS Highland soon. We would be very happy if Nairn Healthcare Group joined us in shaping this way forward.

In the immediate future we will continue to keep patients informed through our website, Facebook pages and Twitter. We will be delighted to hear from patients interested in taking an active part in our development."
The PPG site is here.

Looking ahead to August 2015 and a major International orienteering event in Nairn

The Scottish Orienteering Association tell the Gurn: 

"On 1st August 2015 the opening race of the World Orienteering Championships, a Sprint Relay, will be staged in Nairn. Over the course of the week competitors from over 50 Nations will take part in this exciting athletics competition with other venues including Forres (Sprint Qualifier and Final); Darnaway (Middle Distance and Relay) and Glen Affric (Long Distance). The biennial Scottish 6 Days event will run in parallel with these Championships, and are expected to bring in nearly 5,000 participants.

Immediately after the Sprint Relay we anticipate upwards of 1,000 competitors of all ages taking part in an additional orienteering sprint race around Nairn, testing themselves against the times set by the world’s best orienteers. Last year’s Scottish 6 Days (badged Moray 2013 but three events staged in Nairnshire) had a major positive impact on the local economy and next year will be even bigger. Hopes for Team GB in the World Orienteering Championships are high on “home” terrain. 

Assistant Event Director for WOC 2015 is the Scottish Orienteering Association’s Professional Officer Colin Matheson based in Nairn. There are significant opportunities for local businesses and suppliers to get involved in what will be one of the biggest events ever staged in the area. The number of “runs” over the week is close to total numbers participating in the London Marathon."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sighting of missing guide dog Tess in Sluie Walks/Logie steading area says Fraser Stevenson

Tess's owner Fraser said on his facebook page yesterday evening (Monday 18th August):

"PUPDATE – 18/8/14 – There has been a SIGHTING!!! Near Sluie Walks/ Logie Steading, about 2 or 3 miles west of Forres, the sighting was on Saturday afternoon. It is a credible sighting as the young lady called Sophie, who is in her late teens, early twenties, she is a horse rider, who treks around that area regularly, plus her mother is a dog trainer, so she knows breeds of dogs. She recognised Tess from Facebook, on the Missing Dogs in Scotland page.
When Sophie saw ‘Tess’ she got off her horse and watched as ‘Tess’ ran across a road and started to eat something, I think ‘Tess’ was sizing her up, as she just looked at Sophie, who did try and coax her over. ‘Tess’ then ran back across the road and into some dence undergrowth, and disappeared again. Here’s the kicker, Sophie phoned the O800 number and left a message.

I was to meet a local Boarder, and two other volunteers today to do some more postering, but when I got in the car, Isobelle told me that Mike GDI, was at Sluie Walks, as there was a credible sighting, so we headed there this afternoon, and managed to meet up with Sophie who took us to the spot where she had been seen, with no luck today, we called her and blew the whistle, but could not see or hear anything.

If there are people on here from Nairn, Foress or the surrounding areas, I am
putting out a call to either search or keep an eye out in the Logie Stading/Sluie Walks area, she could have moved on again, so West Forres is also a good area to try.

Please help in any way you can, I’m not sure how she will be, she may be wary of people, having felt abandoned and on her own for nearly 4 weeks, just try and coax her with food. I will be speaking with Glasgow and Edinburgh GDs tomorrow to see what their next step is, we’re getting closer…….i hope…… Thanks everyone."

Fraser's facebook page here. Guide dogs news page here. here. 

The Kitty Black Band performing at Reunion Sunday on the Links - 17th August 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nairn Highland Games 2014 - images by Murray MacRae

Individual images here, full screen slideshow here. 

Nairn Highland Games 2014 - pictures by Kenny MacLeod

Kenny captures the entire day. Individual images here. Full screen slideshow here.

Rat-run overload

The popular St Ninian Road rat-run today looked as jammed as the A96

And another eyewitness account: 

Meanwhile Sunday jams again on the A96

Standing room only in the beer tent for the Rev Steve's Reunion Sunday service

The open air service planned for 11.00 a.m. down at the Links moved into the beer tent. The Rev Steve was his usual self, moments of comedy and serious anecdotes to make us think deeply about ourselves and our relations with others, particulary at those stormy moments in life. 

One moment Steve Manders will be telling you that he does a £5, £10 or a £100 service and what would you like? He says he usually counts the collection before deciding. Then he will tell you a wee story like the time he worked in a hostel for men seriously ill and dying from HIV/aids. They had two attitudes, half of them thought they deserved it and the others that they were merely human beings experiencing suffering. He said that there was one auld wifie that would regularly bring sweets and tablet. He asked her one day why she came, a family conection perhaps? She simply  said that they were all some mother's son. 

A remarkable, inspiring moment or two from the Rev Steve then and you don't need to be particularly religious to appreciate his craic too - what he has to say can apply to our lives whether we are believers or not. A reminder that the Games are not all about drams and chat, an opportunity to take a moment or two for reflection on more serious matters that effect us and the community  - the good and the bad, the stormy and the calm, the way many lives are. 

Now it's music until 5.30 p.m. The giant kites are out and there's a chance to shake off that sore head and have another bit of a blether. "Pain in the rain or fun in the sun - it'll be a mixture of both today. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Congratulations to the organisers and all the volunteers at the Nairn Highland Games 2014 - another fantastic event

The weather was perhaps kinder than predicted and the sun even shone at times too as large crowds enjoyed the 2014 Nairn Highland Games. 

Tomorrow (Sunday 17th) there is also a large programme of events as the Games weekend is extended with a music festival, the showies will still be there too. Details here: 'Fun in the Sun or Pain in the Rain, either way, it’s going to be a great Nairn day out' - Reunion Sunday - 17th August

Individual images here.

Wildnight Comedy’s Reunion Sunday photo competition

Enjoy the games Gurnshire and if you are going to the open air music festival that Will be Reunion Sunday then if you take any pictures post one of them in this Wildnight Comedy thread. The best picture of Reunion Sunday will win you two tickets to the Wildnight Comedy show on Saturday 6th September during the Nairn Book and Arts Festival. 

Further details of Reunion Sunday here – a lot more than the music, also in this week’s Nairnshire Telegraph and in this Gurn article: 'Fun in the Sun or Pain in the Rain, either way, it’s going to be a great Nairn day out' - Reunion Sunday - 17th August

Wildnight are also looking for jokes in another wee competition that they are running for the Show on Saturday September the 6th - details here. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dick Youngson's remarkable eight years as Chair of Nairn Allotment Society

Dick stepped down as Chair of NAS at the Group’s AGM in the Community and Arts Centre on Wednesday night. During his 8 years in the job plotting in Nairn has gone from a state of near oblivion to be at the forefront of a resurgence of the past-time in the Highlands. The group are also renowned for their approach and have been a source of help and advice to others beyond the Highlands. From those 18 plots at Sandown which faced extinction in a development scheme the Society now administers over a hundred plots. At one point two thirds of all plots in the Highlands were in Nairn. 

Dick Youngson addresses the 2014 AGM of NAS
On Wednesday night Dick spoke of the days when the plots were moved from Viewfield to Sandown in 1988 and he said that there were still a few of those original Sandown plotters still in the group. He went on:

“It has been a very good year again for the Society. We’re much admired in the allotment system. When I was down in the conference in June in Dunblane they couldn’t get over the fact that we have a hundred plus plots, independent really of Highland Council. We manage our own affairs, there’s been no problem in doing things. Many of these other areas are fighting hard for sites, many of those that are on the waiting list have been on the list years and years with very little chance of getting a plot. We are right down to a waiting list of thirteen or so and we’ve got a pretty rapid turnover of people taking up plots. People really aren’t on the waiting list for very long. They can’t really get over, here we are in Nairn – we had to fight like mad to keep Sandown, because they wanted it for development, they wanted to sell the whole of Sandown for development and that’s when we set up our Society.

Our Society isn’t a very long established group, we set it up to make sure that we have a strong voice and we managed to keep the 18 plots and then we managed to get Mill Road and then we managed to get the next bit of Sandown. Hence the reason we have grown from 80 plots up to a 100 plus. The way we have actually designed our different sites leads to a lot of the other sites in the Highlands coming to us and seeing what we’ve done and how we’ve done it, and they’ve picked up a lot of our rules and regulations and the way that we actually manage our system. Unlike many of them we do everything from allocating plots to setting the rentals and taking in fees for plots. They’re also very interested to come and see our composting toilet because they are all wanting toilets on their sites. They feel that having water in a toilet block leads to all sorts of problems in the winter time and having to drain off, of course with a composting toilet there’s no problem, it’s there throughout the year. And with all these plots now with families and little ones, some of them aren’t very close to home or close to public toilets and they have to have a toilet and a composting toilet is one way round it. [...]

At the moment in Highland Region we’ve got 25% of the total number of allotments. There are a lot of sites coming on stream That percentage will shrink in the next few years. I’ve had Kinguissie on the phone quite a lot, they’ve got a super site which they got through an enterprise company because Highland Council’s land and it was part of the old heritage site. [...]There’s a new site as well in Inverness coming up in Milton of Leys and it’s not Highland Council’s ground it’s private ground and they’ve got 40 odd plots coming on stream there.  They’ve come to see us as well about how to run it. It’s going to be again privately run independently of Highland Council and they will keep a waiting list. We keep all these records, the waiting list,  a list of plot holders and if they ask for it we can produce it similarly we’ve got the annual revenue sheets absolutely nailed to the last penny. There’s a lot going on North.

The SAGS (Scottish Allotments and Gardens) conference which was in Dunblane, it’s always very well attended, it tells us a lot about what is going on on the Scottish Scene. I was really speaking at it on experience on training and having allotments in the community garden for groups of people, children as well and people with all sorts of health problems or otherwise. Really this is something that is coming into all the allotments no. There has to be provision for disadvantaged groups coming in and getting the best out of plots or areas within an allotment site. It was quite interesting and quite well received. A chance down there to exchange information. Lesly Riddoch chaired it, she is working along similar lines on areas for communities to get involved in all sorts of things a bit like this.

And the last thing, is really the allotment legislation which is slowly going through committee stages in parliament. It’s been run by Derek MacKay MSP and he and his team have been gathering up a lot of information and this is the bill which is the Community Empowerment Scotland Bill and they’ve tacked on allotments for some reason. Sorting out all the allotment legislation that went back to the 1880’s, 90’s. [...] Most of it refers to Councils it doesn’t necessarily spell out what private allotment sites have to do. [...]We’ll see before the autumn’s out what they’ve got for us."

Dick concluded and then after a treasurer’s report officer bearers were elected. The new Chair of NAS is Billy Milne who will be assisted by a new Vice Chair, Mandy MacKenzie.
Mandy MacKenzie makes a presentation to Dick
Dick was presented with gifts and a selection of home-made produce form the membership. His tenure of office has been remarkable; he has been an incredible leader and an example to all the plotters. Under his stewardship the plotting in Nairn has moved from near extinction, experienced remarkable growth and has become an example of the way forward in the Highlands and beyond. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nairnshire referendum windows - posters coming back into election fashion?

Posters have appeared in the town centre again on lampposts but what is interesting is that posters and stickers are appearing in quite a few windows all over town. It used to be a popular practice in elections gone by but for the referendum posters in windows seem to be making a comeback.  It seems to be solely YES at the moment.

Guidedog organisation sending volunteers to Nairn to help search for missing guidedog Tess

The Guide Dogs site reports:

"Today we can announce that staff and volunteers will be in Nairn on Saturday 16 August to help us locate missing guide dog Tess.

This new enquiry gives us an opportunity to build on the efforts already being made by members of the public as well as Guide Dogs staff and volunteers - for which we are extremely grateful.

Our local volunteers, who know the area, and Guide Dogs staff will be knocking on doors in the town to try and find information that could lead us to Tess, whilst also taking the opportunity to thank the local community for their incredible support so far.We will also be giving out lots of leaflets about Tess as large numbers of people are expected to be in Nairn for the annual Highland Games, also taking place on Saturday.

We know lots of people are still committed to helping us find Tess and we truly value that support. While we already have a full team on the ground for Saturday's co-ordinated activity, we urge you to keep sharing the posters of her on social media and in your local area." 

Police appeal for witnesses following a road traffic collision near Nairn

About 20:36 hours on Wednesday 13 August 2014, a single vehicle road traffic collision involving two occupants within a small blue Citroen hatchback occured on an estate road near Nairn.

Emergency services attended at the scene and an 18 year-old man was taken to hospital by ambulance and subsequently released following observations. The other occupant, a 33 year-old man, was taken to hospital by Helimed and is being treated for injuries sustained during the collision, although these are not believed to be life threatening.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or may have relevant information to contact them on 101.

Saturday September the 20th - the day the Wee County Centenary Baton will be coming home

The Nairn County FC Centenary baton is coming home on Saturday 20th September after a walk on the West Highland Way and a paddle up the Great Glen and the Moray Firth.

Then there will be a mega iconic moment that will last at least the next hundred years when the County baton makes landfall at Nairn harbour.
There will be a march behind a pipe band to the site of the original County ground on the Links - all County fans cordially invited - just bring a little yellow and black for a once in a lifetime photo opportunity. Want to know more? - just listen to Ali Nicol and Stephen Bain in the video below:

Donations to this fund-raiser can be made here, The Gurnmeister is giving this a go too and is hopeful of making it the 96 miles on the West Highland Way, so anyone wishing to pay their Gurn subscription can divert it to this initiative that is organised and controlled by the fans in the aim of getting a new Cowshed that future generations will enjoy for the next 100 years at Station Park. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nairnshire YESSERS to try a different venue - plus music after the speeches

YES Nairnshire activists have booked the Playhouse for Sunday the 31st of August - see poster below. There will be a series of speakers and then live music.

 Are you planning anything in the final run-in to the Independence Referendum on September the 18th? Be you of YES, NO or DON'T HAVE A SCOOBIE YET factions - tell us and we'll put it on the Gurn. Also send us your thoughts on the Referendum. We've already had Stephen Fuller tell the Gurn which way he is voting and why - tell us and we will publish your thoughts too. We'd be delighted to see you step onto the Gurn digital soapbox. 

Forres Campaigners: “We want the Scottish Goverment to involve local people in decisions relating to Common Good assets.”

The Forres Gazette Reports: "A petition with more than 1600 signatures was handed over to the Scottish Government by Forres people last week, calling for more local control of community assets.
Stewart Noble, vice-chair of Forres Community Council and campaigner for the Battle for Bogton group, handed over the petition with 1,617 signatures to Moray MSP Richard Lochhead. “We want local interests to be in local people’s hands,” said Mr Noble. “We want the Scottish Goverment to involve local people in decisions relating to Common Good assets.” "

The petition read:

“Our common land is too precious a resource for our children, as well as citizens now, to be left to such poor management. We, the people, require that this land is managed both correctly and transparently by the local community for the local community. We believe, therefore, that our community councils should be the guardians of the common good fund and, furthermore, that local people should have full access to the accounts at all times. We also hold that the local community should have the final vote on any such changes to said land. We ask that you consider this petition and make such necessary changes to the law.”

More in a large article in this week's edition of the Forres Gazette. Interesting stuff and simmering discontent over Common Good issues mirrors the feeling in Nairn