Thursday, April 02, 2009

Getting the Government cash for High Streets – Best for an independent Nairn group to put in a bid rather than Highland Council?

More is coming to light about the Scottish Government’s town centre regeneration fund. According to the Government website:

‘The new information on the operation of the £60 million scheme was issued by the Scottish Government and COSLA today.
The fund will complement efforts already underway to support town and city centres across Scotland which are feeling the effects of the economic downturn.
A wide range of bodies including local authorities, Community Planning Partnerships, Business Improvement Districts, Town Centre Managers, local Chambers of Commerce, businesses and third sector groups will be eligible to apply.
In addition the new details reveal that the fund is open to any area identified in local authority development plans as a town centre.’

The full article can be seen here. Application packs and final detail on the assessment of applications to the fund are currently being finalised but if Nairn wants a share of this money it is time to get our act together. Thanks to Samantha and others encouraging folk to nominate Nairn on the Conservative campaign site Nairn is on the radar. Other politicians will know that enough Nairnites bothered to get the town up to 4th place on the list of nominations for funds. Well, can the town get it together to make it a reality and get some cash for Nairn? We’ve heard on the Gurn of requests for a market. Why not do just that, indoor or outdoor, put in for funds to get it up and running for a couple of years? We could wait for our councillors to do it on our behalf, Sandy and Liz did say that they were getting involved in this. The danger is that Highland Council will try to get money for all Highland towns across the board and not just Nairn, this seems to be their position if what was recently reported in the Press and Journal is correct:

‘Following the Scottish Government’s recent announcement of funding of £60million for town-centre regeneration, the council is actively exploring how a proportion of these funds might be secured for Highland towns. The government will announce the criteria for allocation at the end of March 2009. '

Gurnites may wish to read the entire article, in it Liz talks about the forthcoming traffic disruption to the brae. Anyway, time for action? The Gurn votes for a market, other ideas will be out there. Whatever, it is time to decide what is the project most likely to attract cash and move quickly on it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't want to sound to much of a cynic but read this closely: COSLA says: The fund will complement efforts already underway to support town and city centres across Scotland.
A wide range of bodies including local authorities, Community Planning Partnerships, Business Improvement Districts, Town Centre Managers, local Chambers of Commerce, businesses and third sector groups will be eligible to apply. Now what place do we all know that ticks three of these boxes - BID, Town centre managers and local Chambers of Commerce. Want a clue - it just had £6 million spent on a streetscape redevelopment!
ANONYMOUS

iRight said...

There is a chance that the fund might just see the Brae streetscaping as a 'project underway' with more cash needed to take the makeover further up the street.
But before we all get too excited the pot is £60 million which is not a lot to share out should all 300 odd Scottish towns apply for their share, the Brae spring clean alone comes in at £500,000.
Still, someone has to win the money and Nairnites have clearly succeeded so far in pushing the town up the Tory poll.
Maybe we now need to fill more boxes so we can tick them as it were (If only!)

Samantha. said...

How good is it to see Nairn fourth in the list of towns applying for this money. It would be even better for us, and a shot in the eye for H.C. and their abiding interest in Inverness, if we could top that list. All it takes is more Nairn folk to vote and if we did achieve that spot, then it would be something to show the H.C. All it takes is the will of the people.

On the subject of how the money could be spent, we need lots of ideas, a Market is good idea and one that should be pursued with or without this money and what about continuing the upgrade of the High Street by doing something about unifying or cleaning up the frontages of all the shops in the Street. There are some beautiful architectural features on shop frontages which are obscured and marred by an ill assorted conglomeration of plastic/wooden hoardings and boarding. Could something not be done to reclaim the architectural beauty of this part of Nairn -maybe some advice from an association with experience in architectural restoration first. Nairn has lost part of its attraction in the last few years, and the fact that Nairn is primarily a Victorian seaside town is now not reflected in its architecture. Also, remember how the town looked during the year of the Walker Cup. Never seen so many happy faces looking at all the stunning and colourful flower and plant arrangements throughout the town. I felt so pleased to be able to recommend Nairn to out-of- towners - the place looked so attractive and welcoming, it was a pleasure to drive up the Inverness Road . Perhaps a fund could be set up to continue this sort of cosmetic but effective approach to making our town look attractive. The business community, being in the thick of of it, should be coming up with ideas about how to improve the High Street, they are the ones who actually dictate the look of it for the most part. The shop windows and frontages are what people see in passing. Collectively, these businesses are what give the instant impression of our High Street. what is their view? And just as importantly, what is the view of the man in the street. Sieze the Day people. Don't let this chance pass us by. Don't wait for others to do, heed The Gurn, it is time to get our act together.