Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
There it is Gurnites, it is worth considering supporting your fellow citizens because such a planning application could affect your area next.
Those concerned about this development have until Tuesday the 1st of September to register their objections that's only 6 Days
With the application now no longer “a live local planning application” for our 4 Councillors as it has been passed to the Reporter and ultimately the Scottish Exec, are there likely to be costs from the process of the appeal being set against the loan/ Common good Fund/asset?
If the appeal by Deveron fails is there anything in the contract that states they would get some form of compensation/ golden goodbye presumably to go towards costs incurred by them from the onset of the application. I understand there may be. Can this be thoroughly checked and as well as checking it ascertain who would actually be liable to pay it – THC or the Common Good Fund?
The original contract seems to have been for 300 + houses, as Deveron increased that to 500+ and if the appeal fails was the original contract not then broken by Deveron when their planning application greatly exceeded the agreed number of homes? If the answer to that is yes then presumably there would be no right to compensation.
All these questions arise as the contract for the sale of a common good asset has been kept secret and, it is my opinion, it is now time for “the residents of Nairn” to start seeing some transparency regarding the contract.
Have the 4 Trustees seen and fully read the contract between Deveron and THC/Whois the legal second party? Presumably under the Freedom of Information Act if someone asked for a copy they would get it or would it be time barred?
I am concerned that the Trustees might personally be liable if this all goes pear shaped. Have they ascertained that the Indemnity insurance covering them as Councillors also cover the wider remit of being trustees?
More importantly as our 4 Councillors are wearing 2 hats – one as a paid HC councillor and one as a Trustee of the Common Good, there could be a perception of conflict of interest when acting as Trustee. The small matter of allegiance comes to mind, if there was a conflict which side would they support?
Personally I feel they should seriously consider including other “trustees” from the wider community and also include one or two volunteer Professionals with legal and accountancy backgrounds as it’s clear from the various blogs and the media that the present representation is not acceptable to many in the local community and, in my view, needs to be swiftly revisited.
'We did wonder if this would be a good year for tourism and it does seem that for many it has been an excellent year - and I'm told on a par with the mid-90s.
As a group VisitNairn continues to pursue issues of importance to the town and to our visitors.
1) We have campaigned for changes to the tourist information signage. The major problem was that the requests for new signage had be made by VisitScotland to BEAR - and that all took time. It is now better but not perfect. We have sought to bring a number of other issues to public attention and have succeeded quite well with articles and letters in the Nairnshire and Courier.
2) We were grateful for Council support in the full page adverts placed in two brochures. 10,000 extra copies of the Nairn Leisure Guide were distributed elsewhere in Scotland and the 120,000 Inverness and Loch Ness Guide gave Nairn additional exposure. We also had a full page in Highland Life to compensate for an omission in the Leisure Guide. It would be nice to think that the town was busy because of this additional marketing.
3) Our partnership with VisitScotland and the Community Centre is working very well. It was reported to us by guests that the courtesy and help offered by Sam and her team was by far the best out of all the TIC’s they visited on their trip to Scotland. The Centre has worked hard to find accommodation and we have done what we could to advise them of known vacancies during the busy periods. There is more we need to do as a tourism group to encourage more businesses to join us and thus have better information to hand. But alongside the Community Centre, our own network with B&Bs and hotels has worked well. We have struggled to identify vacancies on a particular night. For that reason, Visitnairn.com now has an availability and online booking engine so the potential is there, but sadly, few have signed up for that. We'll be doing all we can to get people use this facility as it is frustrating for us and for our visitors when we get to the point of not knowing who to phone next.
4) VN members have actively promoted local businesses and restaurants but we'd like to see more of them joining our Association. We would also welcome greater input from retail as the combined partnership with accommodation is important. Only when we know each other's product can we market effectively.
5) VisitScotland has always advocated participation the Quality Assurance Scheme but an increasing number of providers are withdrawing from that. We only have 5 VisitScotland registered B&Bs in Nairn. VS are now pushing very strongly the use of Trip Advisor believing that one the best judges of service are actual customers. Nairn now has its own Travel Advisor site where visitors can add their own reviews - www.cometonairn.com. Whether a business is doing everything right or could do better, we now have a good way of getting the feedback we need.
6) We have formed close links with the Nairn Ceilidh Group and have given practical help and support in the work they do. A large number of tourists make up the audience on Thursday evenings and with our input the venue and decor has been improved and they are just about to install new sound equipment to improve the visitor experience. We are keen to support any group that has vision for a better and more beautiful Nairn. We support the explorations into a new centre in the town to compliment what others are doing. Such a centre has the potential to benefit tourism and the town - and maybe even increase tourism into the winter months by enabling us to provide facilities for business tourism and educational tourism. The economic benefit to the town would be keenly felt if the shoulder months were filled more effectively.
7) Survey - A number of B&Bs have been using a survey form as one means of trying to assess people's view of what we offer. We also had a online survey form. People are generally very positive but there were lots of comments about the shabby appearance of the town. We need to do more to publicise what we have. Visitors and locals do not know about the Tourist Information point; it seems they struggle to locate restaurants; they hate the traffic and complain about the number of traffic lights. But people are generally impressed with what we offer in terms of the beach and the views. However, responsibility for the townscape is down to us.
8) The big issue we have to deal with is the Regal and associated areas. Our visitor survey clearly identifies that the Regal is a blight on our town. Many see beyond the obvious - but a good number do not – and first impressions count. We did meet with Danny Alexander with a view to getting a meeting with the Co-op. Via Danny we did get a Land Registry report on ownership of land but as yet we have had no meeting with the Co-op.
As you may be aware, others are pursuing alternative ideas for the use of the area around Somerfield. For those concerned about the image of the town, the matter of the Regal and town centre development is the most pressing issue. A number of ideas are coming forward - BUT - we are quite frustrated that no one in authority appears to have made any effort to address the visual impact of that building. We simply don't accept that nothing can be done - and worryingly - it could be 5 years before the Co-op do anything. Nairn cannot afford to wait that long. We therefore challenge those who have the power to influence change make an effort to get this onto the agenda. There are some in this room who could make a difference and perhaps we need some new party-political stickers delivered to every home advocating - "A New Town Centre for Nairn". '
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I am writing to you in support of all residents affected by the above proposal and object for following reasons:
The proposed type of development is not in line with the 200 years old historic character of this quarter.
The number of houses and their size, height, material and architecture will have a most negative impact on the future sympathic and distinctive development of Nairn's town center.
The proposed development will massively constrain the Water Lane residents' quality of life: loss of daylight (height of the buildings), loss of privacy (narrow Lane - opposite windows), increased traffic / noise. The parking situation is doubtful, the quarter's infrastructure (drainage/sewage) with such an overdevelopment questionable.
Loss of substantial business premises (suitable for attractive larger retailers, desperately needed!) is also a concern re the necessary revitalisation of Nairn's High Street and reactivation of tourism.
At least, even the quality of life in the proposed new houses (same problems as described before) will be very low. Following the drafts supplied, the houses are very narrow with few windows only towards the frontage - but are three stories high - this will be only suitable for a very small segment of population excluding disabled people, elderly people and families with children.
Mssrs. McCracken / Polson
Area Planning Office
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It was a difficult game with Rothes playing really well but the script went according to plan at the end of 90 minutes, Nairn are in the final again. Goals by Steven MacKay and Craig Campbell sealed the event and allowed Nairn to progress once again to what seems their yearly right of passage. Hats off to the Rothes fans though, they kept us all entertained with their constant singing, 'We're Rothes until we die', was sung with Gusto. That's what it's all about in the Highland League, supporting your local side all your days.
A few jobs available this week and a comprehensive report on NCFC losing at home on Saturday.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
UPDATE: sooner rather than later here are some more pictures.
UPDATE: Monday morning and a report in the P&J Broch 'fortunate' at Station Park.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Nairnshire Partnership and Ward Forum 26th August 18.00 - 20.00, the Courthouse - an item for debate that Gurnites may wish to hear in person
10. Highland Development Plan Scheme – presentation by Malcolm Macleod, HC’s Development Plans Manager
This may all sound a bit dull but we have to show an interest because if we don't then the voices of ordinary citizens will be lost and we may get the kind of future that others want to impose upon us. If you care about your community and other communities in the Moray Firth and the Highlands then get involved in planning issues, make your views known, talk to your friends and neighbours about it and let's make the agenda something that is citizen led and not council, government or developer led. Sometimes we like to bitch about how we think things are going wrong and how we feel we are ignored but this time let's make 100% use of this new chance to have our say.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The proceeds from the sale of the book (£3.99) are for Nairn museum, so rush out and buy yourself a copy soon. Just right for nights by the fireside now the days are drawing in.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Another issue connected with development is of course sewage and the meeting had hoped to have a representative from the Petty and Ardersier community council as they would be at the receiving end of all the new sewage produced by the new communities. Unfortunately the Ardersier rep was unable to attend. Councillor Laurie Fraser was in attendance however and added to the conversation with asked, bringing the benefit of his years of experience as a Highland and previously Nairn District councillor to the meeting. Laurie can get a bit of stick at times, just like his three colleagues, but he certainly is good at his game given half a chance and his insights are often very perceptive, helpful and revealing.
The West members had hoped to attract a larger attendance to the meeting but it was pointed out to them that it was par for the course for community councils to have small turn-outs until something happened that affected large members of the community and then rooms and halls could soon fill up with citizens seeking help.
There was more conversation about a single community council for Nairn (one of the raisons d’être of the resurrected West CC). Graham Vine told his colleagues that he had been told that the Highland wide consultation on community councils would begin sooner than expected but would take longer than expected. An extremely complicated process of consultation and re-consultation looks as though it will take 18 months plus. In the meantime there were various suggestions as to how the 3 councils could work together and become (de facto) a single council in all but name and thus be ready for the end of the process. It could be interesting times in the near future Gurnites, should the make-up of the River Council change in the end of year elections and become more supportive of the link-up, then could Nairn’s community councils declare a sort of UDI and form a single council for the town anyway? A move that would surely be endorsed by the town’s four Highland Council members and receive massive public backing and goodwill?
Sadly news too of a renewed threat to the Maclean Court day care facility and the West CC are to write a letter supporting the centre. A call from Jimmy Ferguson for an enforcement of the dog ban on the central beach, tempered with a plea for information to holiday makers, telling them where they can take walk their dogs. There was more, much more and once again a main stream media representative was there. They always make such a better job of recording the whole thing than the Gurn, so if you’re going out on the ran-dan this weekend make sure to save yourself 40p so you don’t miss out on all the details on Monday night or Tuesday morning when the most important paper in the North once again hits the local newsstands.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I did spot that the original notification advised me to go Barron House which I knew was closed. It's encouraging to note the Court House has copies of the plans but I am usually away from Nairn Monday to Friday 9 to 5. Then I noted that the plans could be inspected in Inverness and as luck would have it I was able to visit the planning office in Church Street during my lunch break today. Only to be told, after some searching, that I couldn't inspect the plans as 'the file has gone to Kingussie'!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
The article states:
'A DEVELOPER appealing a decision by councillors to rerfuse planning permission for 550 homes and a business park on the outskirts of Nairn has had its wishes for a public inquiry ignored.'
However this morning the Scottish Government site still maintains that the case is still 'Ready for allocation to reporter.' You can see the inquiry file here plus all relevant documents.
The Courier article does rather confusingly state, 'However the final decision will rest with the Scottish Government on how the appeal should proceed.' This article also mentions that councillors 'agreed this week they would rather the appeal be heard at an informal hearing.'
Perhaps things will become clearer as the day proceeds.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Well done Murd and more power to your campaign to enable access for all across this bridge, something that would enable those less mobile or agile than the rest of us to enjoy the round trip along the riverside walks.
'Could we at last be seeing some progress on one of the eyesores of Nairn which has been a blight on the town for three decades?
The owner of the Rosebank Church seems to be doing some serious work on the restoration of the roof of the building.
One would suspect if he is spending this kind of money there could be developments in the offing.
Or at least he is making the property a more attractive option for potentital buyers. Let's hope so.!!! '
Monday, August 10, 2009
Nairn Residents Concern Group have a working party that not only worked up and presented a "citizen objectors" case at the May 12th hearing-but continues to proactively work the issue right up to the present.
We are prepared to construct, register and present objections to Deverons appeal submission when the public enquiry date is announced. The developers are likely to argue, on the basis of the very limited survey exercise they conducted, that there was no clear public view among the people of Nairn either in favour of, or against, their proposals. This is despite that fact that no-one spoke in favour of the development at the Planning Committee hearing in May.
The goal which we all share, is of a Nairn which retains its unique character and qualities, and where development is appropriate, proportionate, and reflects the views and aspirations of the town’s residents. Therefore the Nairn Residents Concern Group response will cover several principal objections, the key one of which is specifically related to the large number (550 houses), and high density of the proposed development and its impact on infrastructure. We believe that the submission the Group makes to the appeal will carry more weight if we can demonstrate to the Appeals Reporter that it reflects the collective views of a substantial number of the people of Nairn. We are therefore keen to incorporate the comments of local residents into our document.
So can I seek input from all those readers of the Gurn who have concerns about any aspect of Deveron's plans for the Sandown land (whether specifically about the number of houses, or about the wider impact of the proposal on the infrastructure, traffic, services and facilities of the town)? To express support for the Group's position, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or write to the address below) giving your own name and address and indicating any points about which you are particularly concerned.
(For Nairn Residents Concern Group)
"Benview": Sandown Farm Lane, Nairn'
More pictures of how this health hazard is entering the river are available here on the Gurn's flickr account.
Plus more background to this story on the Swan Blog. It seems SEPA have been informed, will the environmental authority act quickly?