Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wise to grab every photo-opportunity?

Today's Press and Journal front page banner headline shouts ' McDonald's branded Inverness drug haunt.' It makes grim reading for the fast food chain. I imagine LibDem MP Danny Alexander might be a bit ruffled by that headline, in yesterday's Inverness Courier he is pictured in the same building estolling the virtues of healthy eating at McDonald's.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wrongly accused

Someone nearly gets a doing, wrongly accused of measures anti-pooing.
Read the comments in an earlier thread.

Easier to go to the Forres Post Office

A tale was told at the Suburban Community Council meeting this evening. A Fishertown man was seen in the queue for the Post Office counter at the Co-op in Tradespark. It was easier for him to get the bus out there to use the Post Office than trying to get to the Cawdor Street main PO. This Fishertown resident was not amused at the length of the queue however, and outlined his intention to get the bus for Forres next time where he claimed it is easier to access Post Office services.

A tale of two developers

Nairn Suburban Community Council seem to be Hunky Dory with Cawdor/CMT but not doing quite so well at all with Deveron Highland. 'Chalk and Cheese' was the phrase used to describe the difference between the attitude of the two towards the Community Council. An outline planning application for the Cawdor scheme will soon be submitted it seems. It will be interesting to see how the Cawdor application fares in comparison with the Deveron Highland plan.

The Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) threat to the Nairn Riverside

Giant Hog Weed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) seems to be the number one enemy in public and local government perception but in reality with the right manpower it is easily dealt with as opposed to Japanese Knotweed. Hogweed is a biannual plant and if you slice through the root two to three inches below the ground then, nine times out of ten, that is the end of it. What you have to do with Hogweed is kill it before it seeds.

Japanese Knotweed making it's spring reappearance on the riverside

Japanese Knotweed presents a major problem to the local ecosystems by comparison.
Here are the main problems caused by Knotweed as listed on the site of the Japanese Knotweed Alliance.

'• Damage to paving and tarmac areas
• Damage to flood defence structures
• Damage to archaeological sites
• Reduction of biodiversity through out-shading native vegetation
• Restriction of access to riverbanks for anglers, bank inspection and amenity use
• Reduction in land values
• Increased risk of flooding through dead stems washed into river and stream channels
• Increased risk of soil erosion and bank instability following removal of established stands in riparian areas
• Accumulation of litter in well established stands
• Aesthetically displeasing
• Expensive to treat'
Regular walkers of the river will know that there is no shortage of Japanese Knot Weed. It makes no sense to spend £56,000 on improving the riverside walks if nothing is done to protect the indigenous flora from invasive species.
The issue of Japanese Knotweed was raised at the last Ward Forum meeting of the Highland Council in Nairn. It remains to be seen if the council will do anything. If not within a few years there will be nothing to be seen along the riverside but Japanese knotweed.
Here’s a little more information on Knotweed from the Japanese Knotweed Alliance site

Japanese knotweed thrives on disturbance and has been spread by both natural means and by human activity. In riparian areas, high water flows disperse fragments of the plant downstream where new colonies form. In the past, fly-tipping and transportation of soil containing rhizome fragments have been a major cause of spread, particularly in the urban environment. It is only one of two terrestrial plants dealt with by the current version of the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act under which it is illegal to cause it to grow in the wild.’

And according to another site there are legal implications. The Gurn is not quite sure how the legislation would apply in Scotland however.
'Japanese Knotweed is regulated by several pieces of legislation, the main being

• The Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended) 1981
• The Environmental Protection Act 1990
• The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991
Third party litigation where damages may be sought for allowing Japanese Knotweed to spread onto other properties.

This puts a duty of care on the landowner with Japanese Knotweed infestations to be proactive in the control and eradication of it. Planning permission will also generally be refused without an eradication programme in place for the infestation.’

No doubt The Highland Council will be fully aware of the implications. The Gurn appeals for action by our local authority

Nairn youth show their elders how to approach a problem in a more sensitive manner

Contrasting the other approach with this style, the Gurn has no doubt which is the more effective way forward.
Click Picture to enlarge.

Work goes on...

Click picture to enlarge

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Global food shortages lead to price rise in Nairn

A big bag of chips now costs £2.40

Gurn exclusive: Dirty Protest in Fishertown

Controversial new road markings appear in the Fishertown. Could 'filthy people' be the only thing stopping the Fishertown from winning a Blue Fag (sic) award? The encircled area contains two rather large doggie jobbies.

Good morning from sunny Nairn

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good night from sunny Nairn

Falling spelling standards from the dog ban municipal masters

Seen down the links this evening. Wait a minute, maybe there is such an award?

No Panic in Nairn

Nairnites seem to have ignored the tabloid headlines about the impending petrol famine that will lead to carmageddon and there is no rush to the pumps. For once politicians may be telling the truth. The A96 was quite this morning, maybe people will give the Golden Mile retail park a miss today?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Letter to the Gurn re 100 years of Harbour Street Post Office

Dear Gurn,
I've been looking at the Gurn From Nairn Blog and read that the Harbour Street post office has operated from that site for more than a hundred years. I take issue with this statement because as a boy and, indeed, as a teenager I recall a sub post office being operated from Fletcher's baker shop sited at the corner of the High Street / St.Ninian Road junction.
As I recall Miss Fletcher was the Post Mistress.
Yours etc, Hamish
Editor's note: Hamish will be refering to this post.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Harbour pollution update

2045 this evening, no sign of pollution, swans look happy, everything back to normal?

Threat to wildlife Nairn Habour?

Local man Joe Telfer is concerned that pollution levels in Nairn Harbour may be high enough to kill wildlife especially the newly hatched cygnets. The pictures he has forwarded to the Gurn certainly seem to be extremly worrying. Joe has contacted the authorities and is urging quick action. Joe told the Gurn that, yesterday, a local boat owner used his vessel to block the harbour mouth to prevent the swans and their young entering the polluted water.

By-pass getting itself on the agenda at last?

At last night's joint meeting of the Nairnshire Partnership and Ward Forum the Highland Council Convenor, Nairnshire's Sandy Park, stated that he raised the issue of a Nairn by-pass every time he meets with ministers and was hopeful that the by-pass would soon get into the capital plan. On other traffic matters Cllr Graham Marsden outlined that he had discovered that a fault in an underground cable may be the cause of the problems at the Lochloy/A96 junction traffic lights. The settings on the traffic lights are shouldering the lion's share of the blame for the delays in Nairn at the moment. Councillors showed their approval for a version of the 'Streetscape Project' that will still allow traffic up the Brae but will reduce speed to 20 m.p.h.
There were reports on the Sandown Lands situation and the town centre project - Nothing much to report was the theme there, the council still waiting for a supermarket planning application for the town centre.
The Gurn has not been slow in the past in criticising the Highland Council but credit where credit is due, the Ward Forum is an excellent democratic arena, with local interest groups and the community councils and the police all allowed to contribute to the debate, questions are also invited from the general public. Long may it continue says the Gurn , it is an excellent antidote to the increasing 'Invercentric' feel of many things in this area. The Meeting was capably chaired by Provost Liz MacDonald who demonstrated the wealth of political skills she has learned in her recent years of public service.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Concerned residents start protest group but are they too late?

The Gurn had heard that a petition against the 51 flats on Maggot Road was doing the rounds and now a protest meeting is being held in the Community Centre tomorrow. Maybe those upset by this development have something they think can halt the process or at least force a reconsideration but to all intents and purposes it seems that the decision to build the homes is done and dusted. Four storeys is out of character though isn't it? It would be nice if a last minute compromise could be made to reduce the height to three storeys.

In the picture you can see the turn off to the Maggot. Click on it to see a larger version if you like. The blue car is trying to cross the stream of traffic heading west. You can see the two keep clear areas that are just in front of the traffic lights. Will there be a need for a third one in front of the Maggot Road turn off as the traffic movements of the 51 households are added to the existing movements up and down that road?

Good weather and some heat at last

A little bit of overnight rain would be useful though.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The joys of motoring in Nairn

Welcome to Nairn (well nearly welcome to Nairn), your wait starts here please be patient! - we might have a by-pass in about 20 or 30 years! (Isn't it about time we had another of those pictures of a politician standing by the side of the road to show us how busy it is?).
And anyway just down from here our civic leaders are contemplating a housing scheme of 500 houses and a nice big roundabout.
Click the pic for a better look - more of the jams can be seen here at the Gurn slideshow vault.

More and more people are using Sandown Farm Lane as a rat run. This is leading to a new smaller jam on Marine Road at peak times. One Fishertown resident reports that she took her car up to the Cawdor Road Post Office, the Harbour Street one no longer being an option, and it took her 45 minutes to get back to the Fishertown.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sewerage bridge continues to deliver valuable nutrients to riverside trees

Heavy rain obviously did the business once more.

Blackstuff down

What a difference a day makes!

Message in the window of former Post Office in Harbour Street

Forres spin on Nairnshire Gaelic culture

In 1676 the Presbytery of Forres reported 'rud, barbarous and ignorant Irish people...betwixt Ardclach, Calder and Moy, who had long been without any form of religious provision.

Found in 'Gaelic in Scotland, 1698-1981. The Geographical History of a Language. By Charles W. J. Withers'

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Victorianisation of the Fishertown? Iright is scunnered with it all and he has a megagurn for us...

Iright writes:

'Another phase of fake Victorianism is hitting the Fishertown, more street lighting is being replaced by plastic Victorian like gas lights. It would probably be a sociologist's dream to study the effect on the populace, will they adopt fake Victorian principles as well? The new old lights are replacements for the aging 60's? lamp complete with new placements of the pole. I wonder as to how many folk are going to be scunnered by a new view of a street lamp as the the new poles are going in places many feet from the old ones? And one can only hope that the old lamps will be put into storage by the council so that when a plea comes to replace the fake Victorian efforts they can wheel out the genuine 60's article. Alongside telegraph poles and overhead wiring (Would the money not have been better spent putting the wires underground?), satellite dishes, road signs, phone booths, flat roofs, cars etc the new lights really do give a quaint effect to the Fishertown? I think not! Fake plastic is on the move though as there are even reproduction plastic plant holders on the lamp postsSquinting through sepia coloured specs the end result is... well fake. Whatever next, a genuine gnome in every fishertown garden, or maybe a fake outside lavie?'

Friday, April 11, 2008

More than pedestrian to say the least...

That is to say the debate about the brae at Wednesday's River Community Council meeting. The Gurn understands that an upset citizen may have made some sort of official complaint. It could be another reason to rush out and buy a copy of the local mainstream media on Tuesday morning citizens!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More for the blue box soon

'Recyclable materials such as paper, card, cans and plastics will be collected under the scheme.' Good idea but make sure you don't fall foul of the recycling police however. 'The committee also agreed to appoint four waste awareness officers at a cost of £126,000.' The Highland Council is going for 40% recycling by 2010 - it's all here in the Courier
It's all about 30 years too late but a start has to be made somewhere.

The roof is off, change is in the air

Waiting, waiting, waiting for a bit of the black stuff

Surely the Highland Council can spare a penny or two to finish the job off?


Journalist Donald Wilson has been digging:

'A SENIOR civil servant moved across the city from a development agency to a top £100,000-a-year job at Highland Council this week – and also picked up a £138,000 payment from the public purse on the way.'

More on the Highland News site.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Only 23% do the majority of their shopping in Nairn?

That is one of the results of the Survey done by Pettifer Estates and it is probably not all that far off the mark if you consider how many Nairnites you can see in Tescotown or Tesco's in Forres. The survey is well worth a read and you can get in here (just keep pressing on next from the first page onwards.
It has been, of course, no secret that lots of Nairn money goes out of town each week. It still will of course when you spend in a chain store in town but at least a few more people won't have to travel 16 miles to work everyday. 
If Sainsbury's are successful maybe they could construct a rail halt over at the industrial estate and keep a few more lorries off the road?  Could they take advantage of HIE's review of northern freight routes?

'Workshops will be held in Inverness and Aberdeen in May.
The aim will be to bring together operators, businesses and authorities to discuss the key issues and ways of improving freight facilities.''
More on the BBC site

Inverness councillor discussing Nairn planning matters

Have you got your Nairnshire yet? No, well rush out and buy it, the front page article is a treat. 'Confused over Nairn Plan'. A Nairn planning matter was discussed at the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey planning committee. Councillor John Holden let fire with some very old Labour comments. He is quoted in the Nairnshire:

'We don't see our major developers going around town on bicycles or walking. We actually see them in their big Rolls-Royces and Mercedes; so stop conning us in relation to developer contributions. The developers don't pay it; it is passed onto the purchaser of the house.'

Now that is absolute rubbish, Donald Trump doesn't have a Rolls-Royce - he has a plane. Things must be desperate in Inverness if Cllr Holden sees so many developers driving round in their big Rolls-Royces and Mercedes but here in Nairn the Gurn knows of at least two developers who are prepared to walk the streets amongst the rest of us. Are you a developer? Is Cllr Holden right in what he says?
Answers on a postcard to 'Behind the bikesheds, Glenurquart Road, Inverness.'

The Gurn notes from Cllr Holden's non-financial interests that he is a 'Giant Carboot Sale Organiser'. Well if you have a giant Rolls-Royce or Mercedes better not turn up at that one then.
And thank's to John Holden's party's policies a lot of people have to use their car more to get to the nearest post office, be it a Mercedes or a Trabant they possess.

'Don't follow leaders, watch the Parking Meters.'

Monday, April 07, 2008

A reader asks...

Would Nairn accept a not so ethical supermarket or do we not give a shit?
Sorry if the swear word upsets you, the Gurn rarely uses bad language but that question seems such a normal question in this new uncertain millennium that it is almost a polite blast from the past. And the reason for the question? Well the Guardian reports
'The supermarket chain Asda wants overseas suppliers excluded from a new code of conduct which is designed to ensure that the big grocers do not use their buying power to impose unfair trading terms.'

More here 'Asda wants ethical code for UK suppliers only'. And of course that is if Asda ever was or still is one of the permutations for the Nairn supermarket scene (A thought process that can be quite dizzy at times).

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Somerfield and Woolworth partnership

It's hard to keep up with but it looks like the two chains are planning a close relationship.
Meanwhile elsewhere there is another theory: 'A break-up of Woolworths appeared to be on the cards today when the High Street chain said its long-struggling retail arm was back in the black.' More at This is money.

The times they are a' changing', and the High Street as we know it in the near future? Retailing in turmoil as the credit cards are culled?

Movement for the Cooperative Movement?

Just type in'Somerfield sale' into Google to keep up with the latest rumours, facts and speculation. Interesting indeed is a page on Crain's Manchester Business site.
Crain's suggest that if the coop made a move on Somerfield then they would have to sell some stores on again, would that include Nairn?

'In the convenience store sector the Co-op has 7.9 per cent and is third behind Tesco (9.6 per cent) and Spar (9.2 per cent). With the addition of Somerfield's convenience stores it would have 9 per cent.

But James Flower, from research group Verdict, believes the Co-op would have to sell some of the 955 Somerfield stores if the deal went through.'

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

'From Littlehampton to Blackpool, Nairn to Poulton, Kenilworth to Great Doddington, the furies are massing'

'Try this experiment. Go to a search engine of your choice and type in "post office protest". When I did so, Google gave me over a million results. Scan through them, and you'll find a remarkable similarity in the stories.' Writes Paul Kingsnorth on Comment is free at the Guardian website.
He detects stirrings in the population concerned about their vanishing identity: 
'They are rising up, now, all over the nation. Recently, researching a book on just this subject, I was surprised to see just how widely this is happening, usually far below the media radar. '