Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Meanwhile protests against parking charges in Angus towns - should Nairn businesses and community councils pay attention and organise similar?

In Angus parking charges were introduced into the Council area's towns at the start of this month. Businesses and residents there haven't taken it lying down though and there has been massive protest including a mass drive to the Council Headquarters last Thursday. 

As a result of that protest the demonstrators have secured a meeting with the Council. They state on their page:

"We are happy to inform you we have secured a meeting with Angus Council on Monday 12th November 2018. We will be meeting to discuss the parking restrictions and requesting Angus Council to take the views of the community seriously and start a dialogue so we can move forward on this issue. There will be representatives from other Angus towns and also local media present at the meeting at our request. We will not stop until this policy is changed.

It would help if you could feed any information or comments you have that you wish us to put forward through this forum or on the Angus Parking Potest page before 1pm on Monday. We will endeavour to collate this information before the meeting. It would also be good if town centre businesses can log footfall and takings from 1st November and let us know if the parking restrictions have impacted on daily business. We don't need financial business information just general percentage of any losses or reduced income from the start of the charges."

Real immediate evidence of a downturn in takings and footfall is being posted on the group's pages such as the following:

"I manage a charity shop in forfar and since the start of the charges been implemented footfall has fallen by 50%. Sales are down by 40% donations from customers are down by 30% this is having a huge impact."  More information here. 

We're told it is a done deal and the parking meters are coming. Well they are not here yet and there is a window of opportunity to get Highland Council to see sense. Here at the Gurn we would urge the Nairn Businesses and their representatives to watch the developing situation in Angus and to demand that Highland Council doesn't make Nairn suffer in the same way. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Local Politician and road safety campaigner seeks answers to length of time car has been abandoned on A96

Many of our readers may have seen the damaged and abandoned car that David Stewart mentions in the press release below. There is actually another one, upturned in the ditch 50 or so yards further along in the Inverness direction. If you are not a regular traveller on this section of road you may be forgiven for thinking that an accident of some kind had just happened, especially when travelling at night. Anyway the press release from the Labour mannie is below:

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has contacted the trunk road operator, Bear Scotland, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abandoned collision damaged silver Vauxhall Corsa lying on the South verge of the A96 Inverness Road near Gollanfield.

David said " I am told that this silver Vauxhall Corsa which has been involved in a collision, has been abandoned on the verge of the A96 Inverness - Nairn Road near Gollanfield for in excess of 10 weeks. All road users travelling this route are well aware of the vehicle. My understanding is that such vehicles could be moved at the time of the collision or shortly thereafter by the emergency services at the owners request. In these circumstances the Police for example would initiate the vehicle recovery scheme and the owner/driver would pay for the recovery. However, at the end of the day it is the owners responsibility to arrange removal of the damaged vehicle and not that of the Police.

" I am aware that this vehicle has been in situ for in excess of 10 weeks and I would have thought that in that time it would be classed as abandoned and it would have been removed by the Operating Company as per guidelines.

"I have today made contact with Bear Scotland to ascertain the reason that this vehicle is being left in situ and at the end of the day I would like them to expedite it's removal from the verge of the A96, as clearly it is unsightly, succumbing to vandalism and giving those resident or visiting the area a bad impression. I understood that bear Scotland could remove the vehicle and claim expenses back from the owner.

Lossie v Nairn 10.11.18 a few bits from the game on video

Nairn certainly came back into scoring form on Saturday. Match report here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

6 am Nairn 11.11.2018 and the pipers play

This morning at 6 am pipers played " The Battle's o'er "at four Nairn Churches as the Armistice 100th year day of remembrance began (St Ninian's, URC, Parish Church and St Columba's)

Picture Donald Matheson

Friday, November 09, 2018

A tale of parking charges recently introduced to small towns elsewhere in Scotland

People react to avoid parking charges and behaviour changes. This social media post from an Angus store explains the situation, parking charges were introduced in Angus towns on the 1st of November.


Here you can see further details of empty car parks and claims of business takings being 50% down. The folk in Angus are not taking it lying down though, they have started regular weekly protests at the local Council HQ.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

How Nairn's Highland Councillors could stop parking charges on the Links, the Maggot and the Harbour

Cllr Peter Saggers has said recently that we have to accept that parking charges are coming to Nairn. Parking charges are coming to Nairn because Peter, Laurie and Tom voted for them when it came to the the minutiae of the last Highland Council Budget.

It would seem that parking charges will come to the Highland Council owned spaces behind the High Street but what about the Library car park which they lease and also the spaces owned by the Co-op? Then there is the land in Nairn presently used for parking which is owned by the Common Good Fund such as the Links, Maggot and Harbour areas.

We believe that Highland Council have a tradition of accepting the will of the four Nairn Councillors when it comes to Nairn Common Good issues: even though the entire 80 Highland Councillors are trustees of the fund.

So we believe that Nairn Councillors should simply say that it is not the will of the people of Nairn for parking charges to be levied on Common Good Lands and as representitives of the community they cannot support the introduction of these charges. Then it is up to Highland Council to accept that or decide if they wish to act like a colonial government and seize complete control of Nairn's Common Good assets. 

Here at the Gurn we consider free parking to be one ot the town's greatest assets, is it soon to be simply cast aside? Will Nairn's Highland Councillors find the courage to resist or will they simply implement the wishes of the Inverness based Highland Council?

Nairn Library Car Park, not the propterty of Highland Council but could they still  install meters?

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

TONIGHT - Brexit Public Meeting - with Drew Hendry MP, Tuesday 6th November in the British Legion at 6.30 pm.

Do you have concerns about Brexit? Drew Hendry MP is holding a public meeting tonight in the British Legion at 6.30, go along to find out more.

Man assaulted after being asked for directions on A96 in Nairn

Monday, November 05, 2018

Nairn BID Board appointments announced

Chair - Michael Boylan, Co-op
Vice Chair - Peter Gibson, West End Concepts Finance Director - Mike Mitchell, Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Secretary - Peter Saggers, Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau

Board Directors:

John Bochel, Sunny Brae Bed and Breakfast 
Bob Ferenth, Nairn Bowling Club 
Michael Green, Seaview Lodge 
Iain Bruce, Nairn Drama Club (The Little Theatre) 
Anika Schulz, Cawdor House Bed and Breakfast 
Gordon Mair, Sainsburys

Friday, November 02, 2018

“What you have to appreciate is that car parking charges are coming” and then what? Gurn opinion

At the meeting of the Nairn West and Suburban Community Council in the Community Centre on Monday night there was an update on the situation on parking charges. There was mention of a meeting between councillors and officials and BID members and Cllrs are waiting for clarification on points from officials. The implementation of parking charges was delayed until after the BID vote but now it seems things are getting back on track.

Interestingly Tom Heggie mentioned that there was: “a clear differentiation between what belongs to Highland Council and what is Common Good land, so there is a clear distinction and there will have to be different considerations given to each.”

Tom certainly seems to be picking up Council-speak quite well, this observer was left wondering if that meant meters would go on Common Good land too with a cut going to Nairn somehow or would our four Highland Councillors find the courage to say no to that and leave as much of the town free of meters as possible?

In response to details concerning recent correspondence on parking Peter Saggers said: “I'm sorry my request for suggestions was misunderstood, I was looking for what charging structure would meet with approval. What you have to appreciate is that car parking charges are coming. I was looking for suggestions as to what might be acceptable and what might not.”

That's it folks, parking charges are coming. Here at the Gurn we think it is a way of playing Russian Roulette with the town centre economy but with perhaps four or five bullets in the chamber rather than one. We hope we are wrong but we believe parking charges will have a very bad impact. The three councillors who voted for parking charges to come to Nairn in the Highland Council budget earlier this year can dress it up any way they like but these charges are being imposed against the will of the community by an Inverness based Council.

There was mention too that it is all meant to raise £30k in the first year. Well that will be a figure that we doubt will ever decrease but come on – all that risk for just £30k? All that displacement of vehicles looking for free parking in presently trouble free side streets and other areas in the town centre? More yellow lines, more restrictions and residents permits will undoubtedly have to follow as we reach a truly false dawn of localism with the Highland Council's lowest common denominator, parking charges ideology imposed upon us.

A cash-strapped Council will do it's best to milk Nairn for every penny in an effort to make ends meet. Another £69 million in cuts are predicted and no doubt we will get our fair share of that pain. We find the suggestion that there should be discussion on what scale of parking charges should be implemented quite remarkable, the Cllrs who voted for this should have the courage of their convictions and implement it without all this waffle. It's probably all on a piece of paper in Glenurquhart Road anyway.

Happy days! It is tragic, no matter who you vote for, they always seem to let you down.

Monday, October 29, 2018

No fireworks in Nairn this year on November 4th as planned but other options discussed at Nairn West and Suburban CC meeting tonight

At the West and Suburban CC meeting in the Community Centre tonight it became clear that the proposed bonfire night including fireworks will not take place on the 4th of next month. Lorraine Mallison said that the application for the event had to be in three months before the date and she said that she held up her hands and admitted that it hadn't happened. She cited the level of work involved in organising the event and personal circumstances meaning she hadn't been available.

It appears ongoing discussions are going ahead with the relevant department of Highland Council with a view to moving the event to Burns Night (January 25th 2018). The event would take place at the same venue.

Cllr Tom Heggie suggested that the Community Council seek appropriate legal advice as they may be vulnerable to challenge as they were changing the original purpose for which they had been raising funds.

Lorraine said that she had been doing that. She said it came from the community and it was their decision and they wanted the event to go ahead and we are just trying to fulfil that as best as we can but.

Laurie Fraser said that if you wanted to go ahead then your papers had to be in by Wednesday, he went on: “you will get no sympathy I think from the Council officials if they are not 100% correct. This has been going on for nearly two years now, my advice to you is leave it for one more year and have it next year.”

Laurie also suggested talking to the BID as they were looking to put on events and it could be that if you give them all the cash and the paperwork and they will do it all for you.  

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Nairn Golf Club helps Football Club

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Highland Greens against Council cludgie closures

Council should flush toilet plans, say Greens

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie and Badenoch and Strathspey Councillor Pippa Hadley have called for plans to close a host of public conveniences across the Highlands to be scrapped.

The Highland Council will debate a report recommending the closure of public toilets throughout the area today (25 Oct 2018).

The Scottish Green Party is opposed to these closures as;

· They present considerable public health and public decency concerns, which the council has failed to discuss with NHS Highland and Police Scotland.

· They will result in the loss of jobs, and the jobs of those who remain will be impacted. Furthermore the council has not yet consulted all the affected employees.

· While the report states that 90% of the population lives within 15 minutes of a publicly available toilet, this fails to take into account the needs of remote communities, popular tourist destinations and the long journeys required to access important services such as hospital appointments.

· The council’s equalities impact assessment identifies negative impacts for older people, people with disabilities and pregnant women.

For these reasons Councillor Hadley will oppose these proposals at the council meeting.

Commenting, Councillor Hadley said:

“The proposals to close a considerable number of public toilets in the Highlands would present considerable challenges for the communities affected. The plans fail to take account of remote and rural communities, they don’t consider the long journeys many have to make to access NHS services, and they completely discount any impact on tourism.

“The council’s equalities impact assessment also highlighted a number of significant negative impacts and it is important that these are adequately addressed, the report completely fails to do so and it is for these reasons that I will be opposing the plans.”

Mr Finnie added:

“It is galling that despite all that has been said, including in the Highland Council’s own equalities impact assessment, about the negative impact of these closures, the proposals are still being presented.

“The impact on jobs, with both redundancies and reorganisation expected, seem to have been largely overlooked, and the council has not yet engaged on a one to one basis with all the employees affected. This is a disgrace, and a complete abdication of responsibility from an organisation which should be setting an example to others in the region on good practice.

“Highland Council has made a complete mess of this whole sorry affair. It is quite staggering that the council didn’t, for instance, take tourism into account, given its huge importance to the economy of the region. I am pleased that the council has finally acknowledged some of its own ineptitude in this report. Councillors should go one step further and vote along with my colleague, Councillor Hadley, to reject this outrageous proposal.”

"Few people in Scotland ever have to confront Scotland’s unjust planning laws. When they do, however, they soon realise that the dice is firmly loaded in favour of big business and house builders with economic muscle.” Tom Devine

All those serious students of planning matters in Nairn will probably agree with much of what Tom Devine has to say about the Scottish Planning System. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why are they closing Lovat Lodge? - a personal message from one of the regular users of the facility

Many of you will have seen the article in the Nairnshire where Cllr Liz MacDonald has explained the situation with Lovat Lodge being financially unviable and having to close. We recevied an e-mail explaining how this closure will impact on lives of the regular visitors to Lovat Lodge.

Vera tells the Gurn:

"It is such a god send to many elderly and disabled people from all around who otherwise will never get a holiday again? My husband had a stroke (severe) and there really is no comparable place for us to take a holiday. He needs an adjustable bed and a carer to help get in and out of beds. Luckily Lovat allow a private carer to come and help.We were up there again a couple of weeks ago and it was so sad to see a few of the old ladies getting together to book their next trip in May to be told Lovat would probably be shutting after New Year. They were crying its a lovely place to go and meet up with pals and be very well fed and looked after. There really is nowhere else like it that I can find. Surely the people of Nairn don't want that either, we all spend money in Nairn when we visit a couple of times a year. I am maybe not getting in touch with right people but wanted to give our side of story to anyone who will listen."

Wednesday, October 17, 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. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Good turnout for anti-development protest at Culloden Battlefield

A good turnout for the  GSDC (Group To Stop Development At Culloden) protest earlier today, Speakers criticised the developers, Historical Environment Scotland and also the Scottish Government. They want intervention from Holyrood to stop other applicaitons now in the planning system.  A protest camp has been established close to the site. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Nairn Yessers at Edinburgh Independence rally

A large contingent from Yes Nairn were at the AUOB (All Under One Banner) rally in Edinburgh on Saturday (6th of October 2018). These images from one of our regular readers of the Yes Nairn meet-up outside the Usher Hall. Click on images to enlarge.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Scottish Water starts work to renew water main in Moss-side Road, Nairn

Scottish Water Press Release 

Scottish Water has started work to renew just over 1 kilometre of water main that serves customers in the vicinity of Moss-side Road in Nairn.

In May, the utility announced that it was prioritising the replacement of the length of 6 inch water main following deterioration in its performance. 

Scottish Water’s project team has completed the planning process and engagement with Highland Council is ongoing about arrangements to allow work in the road to take place safely. The replacement of the water main is expected to take around 6 months to complete.

Gavin Steel, of Scottish Water, said:

“The work beginning in Moss-side Road is necessary to ensure we can provide a reliable water supply to our customers in the surrounding areas of the town. We are grateful to Highland Council and our contractor for working with us over the summer so that we could be ready to start on site this autumn.

“Whenever bursts occur on our water network, our local operational teams aim to respond rapidly to restore supply to our customers and complete repairs. While targeted repairs and other measures can often achieve a return to reliable service, we keep the performance of water mains under regular review so that we can target wider investment where it is most needed. 

“I would like to apologise to customers in the Moss-side Road area who have experienced disruption to their supplies as a result of bursts. We recognise that the replacement of the water main will cause some further disruption in the local area and our site team will work hard to keep this to a minimum. We would ask customers and road users to bear with us while we invest to improve their water network."

Temporary traffic lights will be used during much of the work to enable the excavation and replacement of the water main to take place safely. To allow connections to the existing network, , some residents will experience a brief interruption to their water supply. Scottish Water will notify affected residents at least 48 hours in advance with details of the arrangements and advice on what to do.

Customers who need additional support or further information can contact Scottish Water on 0800 077 8778, quoting reference Capital - 503264.

LGOWIT Boccia tournament - cup returns to Nairn

More about the LGOWIT organisation here.