Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Can’t see the dead wood for the trees?

It seems a shame to apply a blogosphere term to our local rag but these habits grow on you. Anyway waves of indignation breaking these week over the pages of the Nairnshire Telegraph on the subject of councillors holding meetings discussing official business ‘in Camera’ (in secret in other words). Most of the concerns seem to come from Auldearn and be linked to planning matters but a prominent ‘River Community Councillor’ has joined in the criticism and criticised further ‘in camera’ meetings on the subject of the town centre and the Sandown Lands.
Well the rules are there to protect commercial confidentiality, and if you’ve just found out about them then you might be alarmed but they exist and even if it is your opinion that they put the public at a disadvantage, c’est la vie: they exist. If protesters have genuine concerns about developments they might want to consider other avenues of protest, such as the successful ‘Save Viewfield’ campaign.
Having said that the waves of indignation seem to be increasing and coming further ashore. Will it spread beyond the ‘usual suspects’ into a more general storm that might do lasting harm to our elected representatives?

But to be fair:
On the town centre development, are any meetings being held, ‘in camera’ or otherwise and does the whole thing still hinge on what multi-national buys the supermarket next and what they think about the plans? If anyone has any information, a press release to keep the citizens informed might work wonders.

And a more general gurn flowing from the subject in hand.
On the Auldearn front are we now seeing ‘nimbyism’ from a few folk who want to shut the drawbridge after finding a nice spot for themselves? If houses are to be built in Auldearn where will the inhabitants work however? Will they just join the throng clogging the A96 every morning? How about some improved public transport? Double the railway line to Inverness and open up a few more halts, like a park and ride up at the Nairn Industrial Estate and run trains/trams every 20 minutes. Reopen the line to Ardersier while you are at it with a new stop at the Golden mile complete with bridge over the A96? Or just wait 30 years plus for a dual-carriageway all the way that will clog up as soon as it is opened.
Are they ignoring what I’m thinking?

1 comment:

Nairn said...

The end is high
Whilst we are told that Scotland has a falling population, inhabits of Nairn and indeed the rest of the Highlands might find this doesn’t seem to be the case. It is possible that our next-door neighbour Morray might suffer through the closure of airbases but who knows. House prices and indeed the demand for new properties seem to be ever on the increase, and as you approach Nairn especially from the East new roofs fill the vista.
I am sure it is true that most folk find Nairn to be a pleasant place, and it is surely a part of human nature to resist either too much change, or a tide of incomers (not in anyway, shape or form trying to be an Enoch Powell here!!). But clearly the town is a popular place and it would seem builders cannot put up enough new properties to meet demand. Planning meetings behind closed doors `are unlikely to harness anything other than great suspicion from the populous, and make any decision reached that much harder to stomach.
The great drawback as Graisg mentions is that of lack of resources and infrastructure. Fine maybe to build new housing, but where are people going to: work, shop, park, find schools, health care, sewage systems etc. It is usual for houses to be built and for expansion of services to come later if at all. It is the thought of the lack of such provision that makes myself hold a NIMBY attitude, for whilst it might seem a battle for developers to obtain planning permission, it is almost an impossible fight for individuals to gain more public services. ‘Creeping’ developments mean that the council cannot ask that the developer chip in to public provision. There is no easy answer. A tax on new developments would be nigh impossible as what figure would be set, and at the end of the day the purchaser of the new property would be paying for it – would this be fair?