Friday, January 30, 2009

Ayeright on Trojan Horses

Deveron Highland hand delivered an envelope to myself and I suspect the majority of Nairn residents today.
I felt as though I had unwittingly dragged a Trojan horse into the house, as all the niceness with regard Deveron slipped out over the table as I opened it. Inside are three written sheets, plus one of plans (.pdf file if you have not seen it)
Deveron are a very kind company, proposing over £100 million of investment into the local area. Presumably this includes the land purchase, building costs, and sale value of the housing.
The creation of 500 jobs I suspect will depend on all the units on the proposed industrial estate being let or sold, and new businesses moving to the area. New Industrial parks usually attract grant monies to be built, so this is not a move out of the goodness of their hearts. Does Nairn really need yet another Industrial site? We already have the Balmakeith and Granny Barbour’s. They are hardly tourist friendly attractions to the town.
Deveron tie needs together. Meeting the shortage (Have they seen the long lists of housing for sale at Solicitors recently?) of family housing, is in the same breath linked to affordable housing. According to a later sentence, the number of ‘affordable’ homes for sale will be just 34 out of 138 the rest will be rented. Not an impressive figure.
In trying to tick our ‘right on’ boxes we are informed that there will be provision of low energy homes. All new builds have to meet certain standards of insulation, and therefore hopefully use less energy to heat than older buildings.
Their ecological wetlands is that already – just leave it alone
The whole tone of the letter is that Deveron are really doing Nairnites a big favour in building here, heck they are even prepared to scale down some of their high-rise flats from 4 to 3 stories.
What is not mentioned is the density of the estate, with little space for each dwelling.
Working on rough figures, 500 new homes with an average of two residents (Family homes will have more) is equal to 1000 people, this equates to an increase in the Nairn population by 10%.
I wonder what work has been put in to scale up our already over stretched services to accommodate such a rise in demand?
Another 500+ cars are going to be competing for space on the A96 and the High street.
Nairn has suffered many times before at the hands of developers. At a time when many residents have identified (Iain Fairweather for one) a need for a real plan to include all-important tourism, I cannot see the Deveron plan offering anything towards that.
Tourists entering Nairn from the west will be confronted with a modern development that they could see anywhere in the country. It reflects nothing of Nairn, only a developer trying to make as much money as possible.
I’m not against change, and can see the need for development, but I can see this is going to become a very large sore thumb on the Nairn landscape.
Now time to nip over to MyNairn fellow Gurnites, have a read of Brian's take on this, he has a couple of other very important angles on this issue.


Graisg said...

To be fair AyeRight I gather there will be a tourism element connected with the community centre?/faciltiy? next to the wetlands if all goes according to plan.

dr-grigor said...

"welcome to Nairn, miles of sandy beaches,great riverside walks, an ideal base for touring the highland's

"excuse me" (tourist)

"yes how can i help" (helpful local )

"could you tell me where your local tourist information centre is please" (tourist)

"yes certainly 15 Miles west in Inverness" (slightly embarresed local)

"oh ok then" (slightly puzzled tourist)

Anonymous said...

If you wish to help please plaigiarize the contents of the letter below and send it off to Highland Council. Thanks

FROM: Mr J N Hart

Mount Pleasant
Sandown Road
IV12 5NW

Highland Council,
Planning and Development Services,
Barron House,
88 High Street,

4th February 2009

Dear Sirs,

Proposed Development at Sandown, Nairn Ref: 07/00188/OUTNA

I refer to the notification dated 26 January 2009 received by me in connection with the above development.

I wish to express strong objections to this proposed development for the following reasons –

While the Deveron re-submission purports to address many of the concerns of local residents it still fails emphatically as regards the density of housing nor does it address the traffic problems that a site of this size will consequently create. It fails to recognise that the Local Plan was designed to accept 130 houses into the area and that the Highland Council Development brief called for a maximum of 230.

The only way that Deveron can conceivably believe that 550 dwellings will pass planning consent is because Highland Council Officials have intimated and given an implicit but “unwritten consent” that 550 houses will be passed, perhaps with a cursory reduction, on approval, just to ameliorate “local concerns”.

The so called Deveron consultation process has been derisory in the extreme. Meetings at which the stakeholder local public were deliberately excluded, with only a few permitted to enter, due to the force of numbers. To add insult to injury the stakeholder local public were only admitted as “observers” and were not allowed to “comment”. What are Deveron afraid of; difficult questions that they are not prepared to answer? It is interesting that Deveron should have recently engaged a PR agent, whose apparent underhand activities in Edinburgh resulted in the resignation of a Councillor!! (Mountgrange`s Spin Doctors | Canongate Community Forum) . Is it significant that Deveron are on the 5 Feb 09 holding a further meeting with interested parties but which again apparently excludes the stakeholder local public.

I strongly reiterate my objections to this planning application and look to our Councillors to seek the views of the people of Nairn, whom they represent, and act in the people’s interest rather than just seeking to appease targets for affordable housing.

Yours faithfully