Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Strategy Plan from NICE for the River Nairn and Harbour area (includes new deep water outer harbour)

Recently Cllr Michael Green criticised NICE on the lack of action over proposals on harbour development - seem more in this article here: "Working in Partnership is a two-way street". It looks like his concerned comments have prompted action.

NICE's AGM will be taking place in the Community and Arts Centre on Wednesday the 29th and yesterday the organisation published a strategy document for the River and Harbour on their website. In it they state a wide range of outcomes they wish to achieve. On the river they would like to see the following:
"No more gravel extraction from river bed.

Careful thought and restrictions on more pool engineering with SNH and SEPA input as well as Fisheries Board.

Walking path to Firhall with new Firhall Bridge.

Flood risk alleviation by extracting gravel at mouth of river /harbour basin

No extra pollution/storm water to be directed into River Nairn from future development"

They have also published a similar set of actions for the Harbour including: "New harbour design with deep water outer harbour to allow for bigger marina/touring Scandinavian / German boats." They also want to see more flooding protection for the Fishertown and action on sewage. More details here.

NICE are also hopeful of "defining a use" for the Old Social Work Buildings at the AGM. They state in another article: 

"We believe that the only way to make progress on the OSWB and town centre development in general is to sit round the table with our four local councillors and draw up an agreed agenda. This we have now agreed to do before the AGM. As a Community Development Trust we can bring certain things to the table that the local authority cannot so it makes perfect sense to work together. We look forward to our meeting and hope we’ll be able to define a use for the OSWB that will see it used for the benefit of the community." More here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Viewfield Stables available for lease

"The subjects comprise a ground and first floor former stable block. The unit has been sub-divided internally at ground floor level although subject to securing all necessary consents, may be reconfigured to provide open plan space."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Developers say feedback shows 91% support for Lidl led retail gateway to Nairn

The development company behind plans for further retail development in Nairn has announced details of feedback received from its public consultation event held in the Nairn Community Centre on 26th September.

A spokesman for Ziran Land said:
"We were very pleased with the level of interest in our proposals and estimate 200 or more visitors to our public exhibition event. From the 110 feedback forms received to date, we currently have 91% support and 9% unsupportive or undecided. We also had a very good attendance at our exhibition preview and we estimate some 20 or so community councillors from across Nairn and other community leaders attended. Concerns over the future of Nairn town centre were voiced and other important considerations including the proposed Nairn by-pass also added to the debate."

Ziran Land's consultants will be meeting with planners at The Highland Council later this month for pre-application discussions prior to the planning application being lodged in November.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Local CAB says: "Nairnshire residents could save £££ if they take control of their heating"

Nairnshire households could save £75 a year

· Four fifths of people believe they understand their heating controls

· Yet HALF misuse energy when they turn up their thermostat

· Nearly 40 per cent of people think it’s more efficient to leave the heating on all the time

· And only a quarter of bill payers have changed energy supplier in the last year

· Campaign launches heating myth-buster and urges customers to switch supplier

Fort William 1 Nairn 3 - Pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here. Also images by Mashy Young here. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend miscellany

One of our regular readers has had a wee gurn about overhanging brambles and vegetation on the brae that runs alongside Mill Road (image here). Our correspondent claims that they are scratching vehicles. And further up as the road ventures into Church Street, another one of our regulars, Murd, tells us that he is surprised to see that the unofficial 10 m.p.h. sign (image here) is still attached to a post outside the Vic. Murd told the Gurn that a local Highland Councillor had told him some time ago that it was illegal and that it would be removed. 

Another warm day and another large intake of holidaymakers down at Parkdean Lochloy, they could be seen venturing out beyond the site and across the Bailey Bridge today as they enjoyed the October sunshine. A gale is promised over what remains of the weekend but still the temperature doesn’t look like it is dropping in the short term. A wee bit about the local caravan site here on the company’s main site blog here – an article that details a recent VisitScotland upgrade for the local site. 

Nairn County pick up three points at Fort William  today by winning 1-3. They are now exactly mid-table. Earlier this week they inflicted a 7-1 defeat on Wednesday night’s visitors to Station Park, Rothes. Perhaps that tally can be seen in another light this evening with the shock news that Rothes beat Forres 5-2 at home today – the Highland League is full of surprises this season. Nairn County will find a true test of their mettle this coming Wenesday night however when the league leaders Wick come to town for yet another mid-week fixture. 

Tommy Hogg, in his capacity of Chair of River CC, gets quoted in the Press and Journal today in relation to developing news about the proposed development at Balmakeith. Tommy told the P&J: 

“We have had the chance to discuss the proposals at our own meeting and a joint community council meeting and I would say most people are welcoming the idea.“Of course there’s a few people who are concerned that it might harm the town centre but I think on the whole it will be a good thing.” 

A recent YouGov poll (drilled down into regions) pointed to Labour falling behind the Tories in Scotland. The Tories were on 20% and Labour on 19%. Quite a drop but only one poll, subsequent polls will see just how deep the defections to the SNP have been and whether this is a permanent move for many folk. The LibDems are on 9%. See the poll details in full here. Scottish constituencies have their quirks however, so maybe things might not be quite so bad for Danny on his home turf. What better place to look than the bookies for immediate guidance – Danny it looks very tight for you according to William Hill but it’s a long way to the finishing line in May.

Re housing, here is a comment we received on this South Nairn thread:

"My husband and I both work in Nairn, our children are at school in Nairn, my husband was brought up in Nairn. We have been on the council list for about 15 years even after he has served his country in the Army. We are not in a position to buy a house. We are homeless in two months. Nairn needs housing at reasonable rents not extortionate private rents with no stability. We have even had to apply to Moray council as they have been building more properties. We dont want to move out of Nairn but may have to."

More evidence, if any were ever needed, that it is time for Highland Council to get off its collective backside and build some social housing on Sandown – or empower/enable the community to do it! It’s Nairn’s land – let’s have houses for Nairn residents  that are on the waiting list and sooner rather than later please.

Sin agad e bhuamsa a-nochd a chàirdean, bidh sinn air ais aig an aon am a-maireach - that's it from us tonight  folks, we'll be back at the same time tomorrow. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Planning application for Lidl and other stores at Balmakeith goes online on Highland Council e-planning site

The plans can be viewed on the Council's e-planning site here. Although the application is now available on line the Council state: "Sorry, we are not currently accepting comments from the public on this application."

Earlier today we published information from a letter that had appeared on the Council's e-planning file for this application. The Gurn understands that the letter had been erroneously placed on line and was in fact a private communication and has since been removed by the Council. We decided that it would be appropriate for us to remove that information from this article  at this time. 

We also contacted the developers for some clarification. A Ziran Land spokesperson told the Gurn:

"I can confirm detailed negotiations with Home Bargains are advancing as are negotiations with family restaurant operators. I must stress nothing is finalised as yet. We are also talking to other operators interested in coming to Nairn whose size requirement cannot be accommodated within the town centre.

Meanwhile we are very keen to meet with representatives of the Nairn community to discuss direct regeneration initiatives for the town centre that we are considering."

Nairn 7 Rothes 1 pictures from Donald Matheson

Individual images here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alexander Brodie and the gate affair - update

"A clan chief offered to concede defeat in his long-running battle with Highland Council over access to a nature reserve yesterday.

But Alexander Brodie of Brodie’s concession to allow free passage through the gate on his late grandfather’s estate was rejected by the local authority at a civil hearing at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday."  More on the P& J site here.

Flashback to Dec 1st 2012 and Alexander Brodie installing the controversial gate

Nairn River Enterprise – Social enterprise satellite of River CC – just about leaves the drawing board?

Gurnites will remember perhaps this article back in July when we detailed the £5,000 that River CC had been awarded by the Highland Council Area Committee’s Deprived Area fund to look at ways to take this forward. At the time Simon Noble said: 

“The object of the social enterprise is, first and foremost, to create routes to employment for local people. So the possibility of training, apprenticeship, that kind of thing. The vehicle would be this common areas maintenance work and the long term aim if that proves to be successful and sustainable to develop something which could then take forward the ideas about recycling and reuse schemes and the river regeneration scheme. At this stage that is as far as we have got. We have a further meeting coming up next month”

“Nairn River Enterprise” now has a committee all of its own and seems to have a semi-independent orbit out in the community. Simon updated his colleagues at River CC’s regular meeting last week, he told them:

“We have appointed a consultant to support us in setting up a social enterprise. The working title at the moment is Nairn River Enterprise. That social enterprise will be intended to be used as the vehicle for taking over, taking responsibility under the Community Challenge fund for maintenance of grounds in the Nairn area. The consultant is going to help us in our discussions with Highland Council Community Services department to work out what maybe the parcel of work that the enterprise can take on and will also help us with developing a business plan and submission for funds to our advantage to get the enterprise rolling.”

Simon went on to say that they were under quite a lot of pressure to meet community enterprise target dates and the timetable wasn’t clear but the aim was to establish a social enterprise as soon as an agreement could be agreed with Highland Council’s Community Challenge fund. 

Chair of River CC, Tommy Hogg, said to Simon: “I was quite surprised you said it was just for the grass cutting, I was under the impression that it was actually for the benefit of the riverside.”

Simon said: “What we agreed at the River Enterprise meeting a couple of meetings ago, that would be either July or August, was that our first target was to establish the enterprise on the basis of the Community Challenge Fund. Then we would be aiming to move on to expand the activity of the enterprise to include the riverside regeneration project and also the recycling and reuse project.”

Simon Noble was quizzed about the remit of the consultant, when the minutes of the enterprise would be in the public domain and if the consultant was local. There seemed to be a desire on the behalf of River CC members to know more about their first born satellite organisation. Good to know what your bairns are doing out there perhaps?

County calm critics and roll over Rothes with seven goals

An impressive performance at Station Park as the rampant Wee County crush Rothes and placate those fans criticising lack of progress so far this season. A report is available on the Highland News site here. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A fabulous Christmas lights show in Nairn and citizens DIY decorations on the tree a thing of the past perhaps?

Gurnites will remember that last Christmas several citizens set about decorating the Christmas tree themselves as the Council didn't have the cash to do anything with the bare spruce set up on the Royal Bank grass. 

Speaking at the River Community Council meeting last week Michael Green was enigmatic but he promised a "fabulous" Christmas celebration. He said:

"You will be absolutely amazed at Christmas when the lights are switched on." Michael told the meeting that he will be seeking cash help from the town's community councils to help pay for the event. 

He then continued: "I wish I could tell you all about it but I've got to get permission and I could prejudice it if I told you what it was."

Landowners compensation for A96 bypass

Article on line on P&J site here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NICE to work with Nairn Citizen’s Advice Bureau for joint use of the Old Social Work Building?

One of the proposals on the agenda for the NICE AGM on  Wednesday the 29th of October is for the organisation to work with the CAB in joint use of the Old Social Work building. 

Other items include a proposal to establish a subsidiary company to deliver the Sandown Park & Wetlands Project. The Wetlands project has, for several years, been a mainstay of Nairn Suburban Community Council's vision for future use of the Sandown Lands.

Another item states: "Discussion of “Developing a Partnership Approach” with Highland Council in relation to the recent Charrette for the Town Centre." Action on the town centre post-charrette has been very slow. The recent proposal for a Lidl store at Balmakeith has has also brought town centre affairs back into the public arena so it will be interesting to see if NICE develop a position on the issue of a new supermarket and associated development at Balmakeith.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Stricken nuclear waste ship - Coastguard apologise to prominent Highland politician over call he received

The coastguard has apologised for an error which exposed a serious failing in its basic knowledge of Scotland’s coastline, according to a prominent Highland politician.

The apology followed the dramatic fire on board a vessel carrying nuclear waste off the northeast coast.

As the incident was dealt with on Wednesday night, Highland Council deputy leader David Alston, watching TV at home on the Black Isle, was shocked to receive a phone call from Aberdeen Coastguard asking: “Is the vessel safely alongside?”

The call referred to the Danish-registered MV Parida which was being anchored off nearby Invergordon after losing power and drifting.

Mr Alston happens to be chairman of a charity that maintains the tiny Cromarty Harbour.

Aberdeen Coastguard had confused the hamlet with the giant Cromarty Firth Port Authority.

Concerned about the future of nuclear cargoes sailing down Scotland’s west coast where there are currently no emergency tugs for towing stricken ships, Mr Alston said: “We’re basically being asked to trust a system that isn’t good enough. They didn’t know the difference between our small Cromarty harbour and the Cromarty Firth Port Authority.”

The fire-ravaged Parida had been transporting radioactive waste from Scrabster to Antwerp in Belgium. After losing power it drifted towards an oil platform in the Moray Firth sparking a precautionary evacuation of the rig.

It was finally towed to Invergordon where police said there was no risk to the public.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We should emphasise that prior to this call being made to Councillor Alston, the Aberdeen Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was in regular contact with Cromarty Firth Port Control over a 24-hour period, on the correct contact number.

“Having checked the incident log and call records it appears that the call in question was made after an operator incorrectly dialled a Cromarty Harbour contact who provided a further (wrong) number to call.

“This put the operator directly in contact with Cllr Alston. The operator realised his mistake and, after ending the call to Cllr Alston, immediately called Cromarty Firth Port Control.

“Aberdeen Coastguard watch-keepers fully understand the difference between Cromarty Harbour and Cromarty Firth Port Control and this error was purely the result of selecting a number from a general information file, rather than our primary contacts directory.

“We apologise for any inconvenience or concern caused to Cllr Alston by this one-off error.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brora 3 Nairn 0 - Pictures from Donald Matheson and Kenny MacLeod

Individual images here.

Kenny MacLeod's pictures

Individual images here.

Landmark Nairn Mosaic finished – images from opening celebration at the Little Theatre

The mosaic has finally been completed and Fiona Rodger’s creation can now be seen in its full glory on the side wall of the Little Theatre. The mosaic mural is already one of the must see spots for visitors to Nairn  and Fiona tells the Gurn she is looking for another site for the next mural. That would certainly be an idea for the Community Councils, town centre project worthies and other funders and organisations to get behind. We could certainly do with more of this kind of artwork in our public spaces. Congratulations Fiona a brilliant piece of work.

Fiona in the Fishertown sunshine yesterday  11/10/14
Fiona asked if any Gurn readers with pictures of the mosaic in progress in recent years could perhaps forward them to her - owing to a digital disaster she lost her record of images of the project. More pictures from yesterday afternoon here.

Lidl at Balmakeith proposal – a view emerging from Auldearn CC?

Auldearn Community Council discussed the Lidl store proposal at their regular meeting in the Dunbar Hall on Wednesday night. 

Roger Milton, chairing the meeting, and opening the topic up for discussion said: “I’ve already been at few meetings that it’s been discussed at and there’s a variety of views.” 

One member of the public who was not against the store said immediately in response to Roger’s call for views: “The roundabout as it is at the moment is not fit for purpose. There have been a lot of near misses; I think that needs to be looked at.” 

Roger then said: “There’s a fair degree of general feeling that the shop itself isn’t a bad idea but there’s a lot of people that feel that it is in the wrong place.”

Talk moved onto a possible town centre site for a supermarket and David Browness (at Sandy Park’s expense) joked: “there’s a gentleman sat at the back of the room who knows a bit about that.”

Roger added: A lot of Sandy’s life was fighting to try and get a supermarket in the centre of town so the difficulties and the resistance that the developers have to doings something like that even if the site is big enough.”

David Brownless then said: “There have been some changes since Sainsbury’s was built it’s now adopted by the Scottish Government the policy town centre first where, in theory, the developer has to prove that it isn’t possible to develop in the town centre before they grant permission out of town. [...] The Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan doesn’t actually zone the area beyond Sainsbury’s which is there at the moment. [...] It’s amazing how many people in the town, even those who in food retailing, have nothing against Lidl coming into Nairn at all but they would much rather have it in the town centre than out of town. I think people will eventually realise that out of town really does not an awful lot for the benefit of the town centre and I just wonder whether by crucifying every single town before the penny finally drops.”

This observer then asked David about town centre parking for a new store. Gurnites will know that sometimes it can be hard to get parked in the town centre. David admitted that that was a problem.

Meanwhile whilst on supermarket manoeuvres again, the Courier stated in an article on Friday that Sainsbury's were trying to get into Inverness:

"Sainsbury’s said any new store would not impact on its £20 million outlet in Nairn, which opened four years ago, and confirmed that it was considering several sites in Inverness.

A spokesman said: "We would like to be in Inverness, as the Nairn store is doing really well." More here. 

Gurn Opinion:

The battle here will be between those consumers that will want to see Lidl on the outskirts of town and those that are proponents of the town centre supermarket argument as promoted in the past by Sandy and previous administrations. The idea of a larger supermarket in the town centre is perhaps the brainchild of a different age now and might have worked in the last millennium but is less than appealing to any developer today. There will be those who argue that saying to Lidl you should go into the town centre is just another way of telling them to get lost. The Ziran Land proposal will eventually find its way to the Highland Council planning department and onto the e-planning site. There has been a trend since that site went live a few years ago for more and more Nairn residents to submit their thoughts on planning applications - no doubt the possible Lidl venture will attract considerable comment too – another Nairn controversy coming up for the planning committee to consider?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Nairn bypass - Auldearn CC consider the effects of the preferred route around the village

On Wednesday night in the Dunbar Hall, Roger Milton, the chair of Auldearn Community Council outlined some of the effects of the Nairn Bypass preferred route that he thought were unacceptable. He said:

"I don’t think the Granny Barbour’s Road should be blocked off. It is a very important thoroughfare. There are many other thoroughfares if you look back across the maps that have been given flyovers or underpasses and are much less important thoroughfares than the Granny Barbour’s road. It is slightly awkward for the design team and I wonder if that’s why they’ve done it. [...]

I feel great sympathy for John MacKintosh in the way that the road is affecting his property. It seems very unfair that it can have quite such a colossal effect on his farm as that and I would like to certainly, in the strongest possible terms, write to ask the design team to look at ways of lessening that effect.[...]

Thirdly the road that runs along from Boath House on the back down to Auchnacloich, that again is going to be another road that is going to be blocked off. It isn’t a road that sees a lot of traffic in particular but it is, and I know many of you use that route as a cycling route and I don’t see why there is any reason why that shouldn’t, in the very least, be designated/reinstated as a thoroughfare. Realistically it is a tunnel underneath to allow access.

[...]I think the area in the way it terms of the way it affects Penick Farm and obviously the effects in the way that the road moves out past Courage. We need to find, I think, ways of getting the design team to look at that as clearly as they can in terms of reducing the effect that that is going to have. "

Gurnites can see these parts of the proposed dual carriageway that Roger referred too here on this Transport Scotland document.

In the discussion that followed Roger was not keen to allow comment from those that thought that the choice of route was not the right option but to focus on the impacts of the preferred route. The effect that the road will have on some residents lives is becoming more apparent as more attention is paid to the route. One resident said that the embankment that would be built after the road came through Penick farm would block everything he could see out of his window. This road is indeed a massive scar across the Nairnshire landscape. David Brownless estimated that the cutting before the road rejoined the old A96 would be 100m wide and 14m deep.

Roger said in relation to timescales for the road. “They are talking about then, basically in 2016 having the plan. Obviously they still consider there will be a public local inquiry because they think some of the statutory bodies will take up... however many agreements they can come to with local landowners [...] but it won’t be just for Auldearn it will be for the whole length of the planned road.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nairn County Chairman speaks out against too many Highland League midweek games - "unattractive to valued match sponsorship as entertainment"

This season the Highland League has fixed several mid-week games at the start of the season rather than inserting catch-up games towards the end of the footballing year's fixtures. Nairn County Chairman, Peter Mackintosh, has outlined his anxieties about this new procedure in his autumn message on the club's website. He says: 

"The impact of forcing so many mid-week games over such a short period has resulted in a devastating effect on Club revenue income generation. Mid-week games are unattractive to valued match sponsorship as entertainment, enjoyment and hospitality is in conflict with pressing weekday business commitments. Equally affected are the town's business community who on Saturday match days generate a lot of foot-fall - flowing from which clubs such as ours directly benefit through advertising and other related income support. Add to this supporter drop off in attendance given their inability to factor in home and away attendance mid-week through a combination of travel restriction or simply, within a Highland context, working away from home."

Peter also thanks the County fans for their Ground Improvement Fund initiative which so far has raised over £60,000. More on the Clubs website here. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The preferred route of the A96 Nairn bypass is published - Auldearn CC explain to the community what comes next

Last nightin the Dunbar Hall at their regular meeting, Auldearn Community Council again made an excellent job of explaining the latest part of the bypass saga to the village community and outlined how things will proceed and how anyone affected can have some more input into the process. Roger Milton gave a description of the preferred route, accompanied by David Brownless who turned the large scale maps on display on a stand to the right of the room and pointed to features described by Roger. After this Roger said:

“Before we go into detailed discussion of this I’d just like to give people a feeling of where we actually are on the overall process to getting a road. This is another chapter on what is going to be a long book.  We’ve already been discussing this for a good while and we have now at least seen, as I say, moving on to a new chapter. We have this route and I’m sure many of you will have discussed it with the people who were at the presentation. This is the route that is going to be developed. I don’t think we’re in a position now of suddenly going back to another route. It is now a question of making this the best possible result for the village and for the people that are affected by it. In the next few weeks there will be a design team appointed to develop that route into a working drawing so that the road can be built. At the moment Jacobs have been the company that have developed it as far as now but they are not certain to be allowed to continue. [...] 

Transport Scotland for their part, they have the powers to acquire the land that is necessary to build this road. They do that through road orders and , if necessary, through compulsory purchase orders. The next 18 months is critical from that point of view in terms of any changes that can be made to the route. First of all there will be a detailed examination of that route. It will be on an ecological basis, an hydrological basis, it’s crossing waterways and as we’ve seen in the last few days that is critical in terms of road waste, and also an environmental basis. This will require subcontractors or people employed by the design team, to go onto those landowners land and drill holes, do surveys and basically make sure that the design that has been made is compatible with the land, there’s obviously all sorts of potential problems. At least at the moment they see no insurmountable problems but if there are certain things that affect it they will change that route to accomplish that.

In the first half of 2015, next year, they will set up a whole series of face to face meetings with those landowners that are affected by the route and discuss how that is going to affect them and explain the purchase and the process and compensation for those people. That is obviously a detailed and complex process.

For ourselves and the people in the room, what is very important is that up until the end of November, until the 28th of November, you have an opportunity, as individuals and obviously we have an opportunity as a community council to reflect the views of the community and put you own concerns back to the design team. Jacobs effectively will still be in place to hand to Transport Scotland. Ideas, clarifications, whatever. [...] You have to get those e-mails and those letters off to those bodies to have a chance of changing that.

Roger then gave a list of some things that he thought were not acceptable or that could be changed. More of that later on the Gurn when time permits.  

Complaints at Auldearn at lack of Highland Councillors attending Community Council meeting

Last night Aulderan CC discussed the A96 bypass and the proposed Lidl store at Balmakeith plus other topics. The meeting was well attended but not packed out like others in the run up to the bypass preferred route option. Of those present quite a few left after the bypass discussion – more of that debate when time permits. Towards the end of the meeting, former Highland Council Convener Sandy Park made a comment from the public benches. Sandy said:
“I’m disappointed that there are not any of our local councillors here. This is the first meeting I’ve been able to come to and there’s not a single councillor.”

Roger Milton the Chair of Auldearn Community Council replied to Sandy:
“There is a slight excuse. There is another community council meeting but having said that there’s enough councillors to at least get one of them here and Colin (MacAulay) was the only one that had the decency to send his apologies. It is disappointing, especially with some of these comments that we’ve just been making towards the end of the meeting here. That’s their job!” 

Roger made reference to another meeting, that was Nairn River Community Council in the URC hall, also last night, Cllr Michael Green was in attendance at that meeting. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Wednesday Miscellany – radioactive cargo at anchor – doggie jobbie watch and River Nairn calms down

Bratach has published an image of the MV Parida at anchor in the Cromarty Firth (as seen from Nairn Beach). The stricken vessel with its radioactive waste cargo was towed there after a fire broke out on board. Details on a BBC news page here. 
Meanwhile the river has calmed down a little after the downpour last night. The Gurn understands that 72.2mm of rain fell in the Cawdor area last night.

The Scotrail franchise is to be no more and a Dutch state-owned company are taking over. Transport Scotland’s press release details the forthcoming take over and apparently bicycles were something to do with it? I wonder if we will ever get back to the old days when it was possible to turn up unannounced at a railway station with your bike and just put it in the goods van. These days you have to book 24hours in advance. It would make awaydays from Nairn on your bicycle a bit more adventurous (and spontaneous). 

Much talk recently about Lidl and supermarkets in general and their effect on Nairn High Street recently. One of our regular readers links us to a Guardian article that suggests that supermarkets as we know them could be on their way out. Surely not or is it time to expand the irregular Nairn Farmers Market a little? 

Still not picking up your doggie jobbies? You could be in line for a fine, one of our regular readers reports increased patrols from the dog warden on the Links and the Maggot. 

Our article on the CCs/Murd and housing has attracted quite a bit of comment. Murd has come back in on that thread too with more thoughts. More here.

UPDATE: A Police Scotland statement re the MV Parida:

"The multi-agency partners working together on the MV Parida maritime incident can confirm the vessel has been brought alongside a secure pier within the Port of Cromarty Firth site tonight, Wednesday 8th October 2014.
This is to allow repair work to be completed. There are no public safety concerns with the vessel or its cargo. The integrity of the vessel and the cargo has not been affected by the maritime incident.
The vessel will remain alongside the pier with appropriate security measures until the repair work is completed. Once a final inspection has taken place, a decision will be made on when the vessel can resume its journey."

Call To Devolve Nuclear Regulation After Ship Catches Fire Off Scottish Coast. More on the Scottish Statesman site. 

Flood warning for Nairn Wednesday 8th October

SEPA state on their website:

"Heavy rain has caused the River Nairn and tributaries to rise during Tuesday night. River levels are expected to remain high during Wednesday morning.

Agricultural land and low lying properties along the River Nairn between Broadley and Fishertown in Nairn are at risk of flooding. Fishertown and low lying areas of Nairn downstream of the railway bridge may be at additional risk of flooding during around the time of the high tide around midday on Wednesday."

More information here. Additional warnings for River Park and Nairn Side (Cawdor) are available too here and here. 

Update 09.47 - parts of the riverside paths in town centre now impassable - take care. More pictures of the river today here. 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Flu, are you in an "at risk" group and qualify for free vaccination at Nairn Health Care Group? Important information

Dr Adrian Baker of Nairn Health Care Group told the Gurn:

"Influenza is a common seasonal illness, spread by coughing and sneezing, and affects individuals of all ages. However, it is most commonly children, and adults over 65, who are affected by illnesses and infections that arise as a result of the influenza virus. Flu can be caught throughout the year but with the onset of colder weather the virus is spread more easily from person to person. In the UK each year over 600 people die of illnesses brought on by the influenza virus. The immunisation helps to prevent flu and its complications. Injections will be given to those under two years old and over the age of eleven, while children aged between two and eleven will receive the immunisation in the form of a nasal spray.

Symptoms of the influenza virus can include high temperature, sweats, aching muscles and joints, headaches, sneezing, and a dry cough or sore throat. You may also feel drowsy or light-headed. These indicators are usually at their worst after two to three days and in most cases will clear up within a week to 10 days. If you have no underlying health issues, there is normally no need to see a doctor. However, if the symptoms persist or are particularly severe, seek medical attention as these indications can also signal more serious problems.

People with a weakened immune system or long-term medical condition such as diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, heart, kidney or liver condition, as well as carers for the elderly or disabled, and frontline health workers. Pregnant women should make an appointment with their midwife for the flu and the whooping cough vaccine. Vaccinations are available for other members of the public but are not funded by the NHS. These can be arranged privately through an appointment with your GP practice.

The immunisation vaccination aims to prevent the spread of the virus among at risk people and reduce the number of people with complications. The vaccination does not give you flu but helps the immune system to detect and fight off the infection. For every ten individuals immunised against the seasonal influenza virus, between seven and eight people will not get flu. At present in the Nairnshire region, uptake of the vaccination among those at risk below the age of 65 is around 52%, significantly below the NHS Highland average of 65%. Among individuals over the age of 65, immunisation uptake is currently at 71%, again lower than the NHS Highland average of 74%. It is important that more people are immunised to protect them and their friends, families and colleagues.

If you are entitled to a free vaccination, or would like to schedule a private appointment to receive the injection, please get in touch with Nairn Healthcare on 01667 452096. Clinics will run from the end of September and throughout October and into November in the Nairn and Ardersier surgeries."