Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why Iright supports the Sainsbury's proposal: Maybe those who oppose it could seek funding for fake Victorian lampposts to illuminate the empty shops?

Please look at lower articles to keep up to date with all that is happening on this issue!  

Anyway Iright submitted a comment, in the Gurn's opinion it merits being a post itself. If you have an opinion or news on the Planning proposal (for or against) then please contact the Gurn via the e-mail address in the banner above or via the comments: please remember that we are a media outlet like any other and thus have to play the game by certain rules so please nothing libelous or offensive, thanks.

Here's Iright's take on the situation

The world has changed
I am sure that if asked, the overwhelming majority of folk in Nairn would say yes to a new large supermarket.
The lobby that are against a new store on the edge of town are the minority. Like many high streets in the UK Nairn’s is in decline. For Nairn shopkeepers to think that a new supermarket development in the town itself (Somerfields?) will maintain and even boost their businesses is head in the sand mentality, councillors who support this view are just sharing this short sighted bucket?
We are no longer a nation of shopkeepers but a nation of shoppers, shopping is a leisure pursuit. We want choice, we want keen prices, and if it takes a trip to Inverness or the Internet that is where we will go. Further to that the store is dead, witness Currys closing branches, and other companies will surely follow soon?
We are a nation who loves our cars and for the moment Nairn is one of the few towns to enjoy free parking. If nothing else green pressure is going to take that away, never mind an out of town supermarket, parking meters will really hit the high street business.
I like many would like to see Sainsbury’s build an out of town store. Busses and taxis could easily transport folk without cars, fitter members of the community could always walk there!
I for one would continue to support and shop in the high street, and it might be with rising fuel costs that the town would enjoy a boost if there were a descent supermarket that didn’t involve a journey to another town?
My dream would be for Nairn to have its own near daily local food market but until that happens I am behind the new store proposal
Maybe those who oppose it could seek funding for fake Victorian lampposts to illuminate the empty shops?

Inverness councillor urges his Nairn colleagues to back the Sainsbury store application

Councillor John Holden is quoted in this mornings P&J:
'Bearing in mind Nairn's proposed expansion, I feel it is essential that this development is given the go-ahead. This would give Nairn a much-needed level of competition and service. I urge my colleagues to be brave and bold and support this application unanimously.'
On the subject of the move of the meeting from the Community Centre to the Courthouse the P&J quotes a spokesman for the Council:
'Asked why the the venue for Tuesday's 10am meeting had been switched at late notice from the spacious Community Centre to the cramped Courthouse building, he said: 'Because the community centre was not available.' It was unclear who else had hired the venue.'
As the Gurn has said before, it may get very crowded if a sizeable proportion of this project's protagonists turn up on the day.

Giant Hogweed thrives close to the River Nairn

Articles on the Sainsbury's planning appliction below and more to follow soon.

Thanks to Joe Telfer for this picture of a serious Hogweed infestation close to the Granites on the River Nairn. It was interesting to see on the BBC that the Scottish Government has declared war on invasive species that threaten the indigenous flora and fauna. Nairn would be a good place to start, we have all the three main culprits, Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. Nairn, the front line in the fight against alien species? Maybe SNH will act soon on the situation on the River Nairn.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The stark choice facing Nairn's councillors next Tuesday morning at 10am

Our councillors will have to decide if they wish to back their own planners' view of life on Earth or the demand from the majority of Nairn consumers who back the Sainsbury's project. 
The Press and Journal report on the story today, picking up on the change of venue etc. They quote the thoughts of the Highland Council Planners: 

"They say the proposal breaches the guidelines because it would “introduce a retail development in an out-of-centre location, of a scale unrelated to Nairn’s status as a local centre in the retail hierarchy” and with “the potential to have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Nairn town centre”.

Almost needs a translation doesn't it? The Gurn has thought for a long time that Nairn High Street has been suffering from the Golden Mile and other developments in Inverness. If folk had Sainsbury's in Nairn the Gurn thinks they would have more time on their hands to visit the High Street as well instead of having to drive 10, 16 or even 22 miles to have the choice that many other towns take for granted.  

The Press and Journal article goes on to say:

"While the names of 30 objectors – largely existing businesses – are listed in council papers sent to committee members, there is no mention of the 160 people who registered their support for Pettifer Estates’ proposals in a recent survey commissioned by the developer."

Should those existing businesses be allowed to dictate the future of the thousands of us that would like more choice in the food we wish to put on our tables? It is understandable that some traders might fear for the future but who doesn't these days? If Nairn consumers don't get more choice in Nairn they will continue the daily exodus in search of something to buy.

Again the choice for our councillors could again be summed up in the words of Mary Scanlon MSP who is quoted in another paper today (Inverness Courier):

"It is time planners and the councillors started listening to the local consumers who are desperate for some choice."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pettifer estates very disappointed that the planning officials have recommended the Sainsbury's application for refusal!

The Gurn can reveal that Pettifer estates are urging supporters of the Sainsbury's planning application to contact their local councillors to express their support for the proposed supermarket in the face of the recommendation for refusal and they state in their letter to supporters:

'Our proposals for a new Sainsbury’s food store and retail units at Balmakeith, Nairn
Please note that The Highland Council have informed us of a change of time and venue for the Hearing to consider our outline planning application.
Date: Tuesday 3 June 2008
Updated Time: 10.15am
Updated Venue: The Courthouse, High Street, Nairn

Although we are very disappointed that the planning officials have recommended our application for refusal we will be putting our case to councillors at the Hearing on Tuesday since it will be they who ultimately make the decision.
It is important that elected members of the council are aware of local support for our plans and it would be very helpful if you could convey your support to your local councillor before
Tuesday’s Hearing. Contact details can be found at

So fellow citizens, if you want more choice it is up to you, contact any or all of your four local Nairn councillors before it is too late and above all, turn up at the Courthouse. A source close to the Gurn has said that the meeting starts at 1000 so that would be a good time to arrive.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Supporting the Sainsbury's planning application - possible change of venue? Yes there is!

Update 28 05 08

The Gurn has received confirmation from a second source that the meeting venue and time have changed.  It is at the Courthouse on the 3rd June at 1015 - 15 minutes earlier than was scheduled at the former location (the Community Centre).

We leave in the remainder of this post for your interest.

The Gurn has received a message that there has been a change of venue for the planning meeting.
We are trying to confirm this as the poster is unknown to us.  
Previous post and details here. It is taking place fifteen minutes earlier and at the Courthouse according to the mystery poster. Anyway please turn up if you support the project and would like more choice for Nairn consumers and are fed up with having to drive to Inverness or Forres or even Elgin to get it. Turn up too if you would like to see more jobs in Nairn. Yes, not everyone wants to work in a supermarket but at least those that do would have the chance of doing that in Nairn instead of travelling elsewhere as well.

meeting might now be at THE COURTHOUSE, Nairn at 10.15am on Tuesday 3 June

instead of the  Community Centre at 10.30am

If this is the case might it not be a bit tight in there if even just a few dozen of the hundreds of supporters of this project turn up, wouldn't the Community Centre hold more people?   We'll get back to you confrim this news as soon as possible.

Monday, May 26, 2008

One man and the war on dog poo

A reader tells the Gurn that they phoned up the TEC services of Highland Council in Nairn to complain about doggie jobbie outside their house. The response was that there is only one dog warden at the moment but reinforcements will be joining the anti-poo squad at the beginning of June. One more man means a 100% increase in the fight against the menace coming soon?

Eleanor Scott discovers the plot!

It would have been great if we'd had a bit more of this a couple of years ago but better late than never and this is an issue that has been bubbling away in many communities along the A96 for some time.

'The Green Party has urged Highland Council to scrap its masterplan for developing the Inverness-Nairn stretch of the trunk route and instead focus on growing existing communities.

It has written to the local authority seeking justification for wanting to attract an additional 30,000 people to the area, and for the council to publish any studies carried out to properly gauge the impact such a huge population influx would have outwith the Highland capital.

Party spokeswoman Eleanor Scott told the Press and Journal: “It is focusing too much development and increase in population in the Inverness area when other parts of the Highlands could really benefit from the investment.'

More here on the Press and Journal site.
How will the Green Party's support for 32 houses at Kilnhill Wood, Lochloy help the focus on existing communities however? Isn't it just a new developement along the corridor? Here's how the Gurn saw that issue. No more new developments unless they are for well off Greenies who want to move out of town?
At the time Eleanor Scott said "We believe that this has the potential to be an innovative scheme which would give people the chance to live and work in a woodland setting.'

Friday, May 23, 2008

Supporting the Sainsbury's food store planning application

The Gurn urges all readers to support this application. It's simple we need more places where we can buy food! It costs to drive to Inverness and Forres so another supermarket is long overdue in the town. Staying in town to do your weekly shop has to be the greener option! There would be a few jobs in it too. There will be a special hearing of the outline planning application:

10.30, 3rd  June at Nairn Community Centre

Why not go along and show your support if not for Sainsbury's themselves then simply for the right to have the shopping facilities that other towns have. If you want to write in and express your views to the planning department then you can write to:

Mr David Mudie
Team Leader, Development Management
Planning and Development Services
The Highland Council
Glenurquhart Road

Nairn beaches make it into the good beach guide but only with 'statutory minimun' status

These are the gradings given by the Marine Conservation society in their Good Beach Guide 2008.

Recommended = MCS Recommended. Highest water quality standard & good treatment of any
continuous sewage discharges

Guideline = Good water quality standard only

Basic Pass = Passed EC Mandatory standard for water quality (statutory minimum)

Fail = Failed EC Mandatory standard for water quality (statutory failure)

A basic pass then for Nairn's two beaches. More on the BBC site about a general drop in standards around the uk: 'The MCS blamed the drop in water quality on an increase in storm pollution.'

Thursday, May 22, 2008

$135 a barrel - the end of the tourist season for Nairn?

Nairn resplendent in the sunshine but with the rising cost of fuel will the tourists come this year? On another front no word of Somerfield putting in a planning application for a new supermarket, maybe the cost of fuel is making their business less profitable too, will they consider building flats instead and pull out of Nairn completely? Are we all simply starting to pay the real price for slowly destroying our planet?
All quiet on the dog poo front too but you still have to watch that you don't step in it but it does look like the recent publicity has had an effect.

Time to grow your own?

Could scenes like this become more common place in the local landscape as the price of food in the shops continues to rise? The Gurn has heard that a local organic farmer is considering letting out a section of his land to folk wishing to establish allotments. Let's hope something comes out of that proposal. A little further afield a group in Elgin is trying to start allotments in the town and believe that they have succeeded in persuading a developer to give them land.

Gurn Knotweed watch

Japanese Knotweed enjoying the mild weather close to Nairn town centre.

Changing skyline

No the best of pictures but the latest new houses on Lochloy Road have become a feature on the skyline.

Rolling on

Could there soon be an interesting new feature on the beach?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rosebank School clean the beach up for us

Things certainly needed a helping hand and yesterday that's what happened.

'More than 50 children from P2 and P5/6, plus teachers and parents, from Rosebank Primary School, Nairn, spent the morning picking up litter as part of the Eco-schools programme, and in the afternoon they tidied up their playground.'

More on the
Press and Journal site. Well done kids!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How long before we have to go to Inverness to use a post office?

3,000 more post offices 'at risk' according to the BBC. More on their website.

The Joe Telfer Wildlife Photography Exhibition

The Joe Telfer Wildlife Photography Exhibition can be seen this week in the Nairn Public Library. Hope all the Gurn readers get a chance to see it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shuas mun Chnoc-fhaire: Derek MacLennan and his version of Rody Gorman's Gaelic translation of Bob Dylans 'All along the Watchtower'

Graham Marsden - a value for money councillor - fighting the litter problem on the seafront

Graham Marsden is proving to be a very useful councillor in the opinion of the Gurn and last night he was spotted by one of our regular correspondents down on the Links. The Councillor was picking up litter - well done Graham, perhaps a few of the well paid suits could be enticed out of their offices to do a bit of the same to help the council catch up with the backlog of trash that is building up in areas of the seafront that are heavily used in the Summer. The area of the beach just opposite from the Links car park looked very infested with litter this morning. Yesterday afternoon another correspondent spent some time in the dunes on the West Beach picking up the mess that, perhaps, a family group had left behind. Disposable BarBQ, disposable plates, disposable everything and all disposed of in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Nairn welcomes the disposable society? Time for some full time litter police or at least a few more councillors and officials prepared to follow the example of Graham Marsden?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Duck, hook and painful death

A Fishertown resident sent the Gurn pictures of a dead Mallard she encountered on her regular evening walk on the beach. She believes the duck may have died of starvation after swallowing the line. The hook was still attached to the line but free from the carcass of the unfortunate bird. The duck and the line and hook were removed from the beach to prevent any danger to other creatures that might have taken the opportunity to have a feed on the corpse.
This just goes to show how careful we must be with what we leave behind in coastal and river environments as we enjoy our favourite sports and pastimes. We are so fortunate with the abundance of wildlife that we enjoy in Nairnshire, we all have a responsibility to take care of it. Please don’t leave anything behind that doesn’t belong in the river or sea environment such as, in this case, fishing line or any other type of rubbish.

This just goes to show how careful we must be with what we leave behind in coastal and river environments as we enjoy our favourite sports and pastimes. We are so fortunate with the abundance of wildlife that we enjoy in Nairnshire, we all have a responsibility to take care of it. Please don

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cawdor gets to keep a sort of postal service

Well, nearly, almost, just another consultation session to get through:

'Post Office Ltd has begun a six-week consultation for a proposed hosted outreach service for the village of Cawdor near Nairn. The proposal is part of Post Office Ltd’s Network Change programme to modernise and reshape its network of branches.

Post Office Ltd proposes running the hosted service from Cawdor Community Centre on Mondays from 12noon till 1.30 p.m. and on Fridays from 09.30 a.m. till 11.00 a.m.'

More on this crumb of comfort here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The art of picking up dog poo - should the local authority listen to the young as well?

Regular readers will remember the recent Gurn articles concerning dog poo and the young folk who have approached this subject in a diplomatic, non-confrontational way. Well, is it time the local authority played its part more effectively? This is the scene down at the East Beach today and its not only the dog poo bins that are overflowing in that area. Time for someone to get out of a highly paid seat in an office and put on a pair of strong rubber gloves?