Monday, April 27, 2009

The Inverness-Nairn 'city region' - is this how the world is seeing us now?

Alasdair Rae is a lecturer in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield and blogs on urban policy and planning among other things. In a recent post he uses the phrase 'The Inverness-Nairn 'city region' '. Is this how the outside world is begging to see us now or at least those in the planning and development world? If we are going to fight to keep a seperate identity for Nairn then we might have quite a battle on our hands. Alasdair's blog post can be seen here.
It is perhaps appropriate to now re-post a comment made by NairnBairn on a previous thread, it has echoes of all this and very importantly comes back to the planning issue:
'I'm flattered by the Gurn's name-check and link to my comments over on the MyNairn blog. So in the interests of democracy, fair play and equality, I feel I ought to throw a pebble into the Gurn's pond too...Two observations, I think. One is about change. Spelding and a couple of the Anonymous commentators above need to understand that those who are actively looking at what can be done on the tourism front are not necessarily seeking to change Nairn into something, or somewhere else. The aim has to be rather to preserve, protect and promote the existing good features of Nairn; and (as Iain has observed above) to try and do something positive and constructive about the currently blighted parts of the town.The second point is about planning. The status quo is not an option. The Inverness-driven "growth" agenda is generating huge pressure to build - houses, flats, business parks... and more. The challenge is how to manage this to ensure that any development in Nairn delivers the right results. The harbour redevelopment is a classic example not just of a missed opportunity, but of a planning failure. Calling for affordable housing and more jobs misses the point. It is clear from recent and proposed developments (Bridgemill, Sandown, and others) that the default approach, which yields most profit, is cheap, high-density housing, with perhaps a bit of business space and a token gesture to the community. Such proposals won't enhance Nairn's appeal either to residents or visitors. If the plannners give priority to tourism then any resulting developments are less likely to be dismal eyesores. And increasing the flow of visitors is more likely to stimulate local commerce, and increase spending on local goods and services, than the construction of yet more unattractive 'affordable' housing and under-occupied business parks. Nairn may have an extensive beach of lovely sand: but this does not mean that its residents should be adopting the ostrich position. '

2 comments:

Spelding said...

In response to NairnBairn, I have no problem with some of the ideas being mooted, but not all those ‘actively looking’ may have sensible ideas! Not all those ‘actively looking’ may be connected to the same groups. I feel that a tight rein has to be kept on some of the ideas put forward. In fact, I’m in agreement with NairnBairns statement ‘aim has to be rather to preserve, protect and promote the existing good features of Nairn; and (as Iain has observed above) to try and do something positive and constructive about the currently blighted parts of the town.’
Maybe I’m just an old cynic but I’ve seen and heard too many ‘new dawns’ in the past when either nothing has come to fruition or what finally appears is watered down and a waste of space. My head is not in the sand, it’s firmly keeping a beady eye on what’s going on! ;)

Pookie Candelabra said...

Could you please, please demonstrate the 'Ostrich Position'? But just give me a sec while I hook up the webcam... and get out my toys...