Monday, December 21, 2009

Sainsbury's 'a wonderful Christmas present for Nairn!'

The Reporter wifie said no but the minister from the Scottish Government he say yes!!! Rejoice Gurnites! The Co-op can do what they like now! Nairn to get a supermarket fit for the new millennium. All praise be to the Scottish Government!

+++ Jean Tolmie tells the Gurn: ' A wonderful Christmas present for Nairn!'+++

Here's the guts of the Scottish Ministers' reasoning that allows us to have a decent supermarket:

'7. The Scottish Ministers note the Reporter's findings of fact and agree that the proposal is contrary to the development plan. The Reporter has identified five main material considerations in this case, as set out and discussed in Chapters 10 and 11 of the report.
The Scottish Ministers accept that these are all material considerations, but do not agree that the public interest in this case lies with refusing planning permission. The Scottish Ministers consider that significant weight should be afforded to the following matters which are addressed in the report, and that these material considerations indicate that planning permission should be granted:
• there is likely to be benefit to the Nairn economy resulting from reduced leakage of retail expenditure (both convenience and comparison shopping) from the town which this development is expected to achieve;
• although the proposed redevelopment of the Somerfield site will provide a larger replacement store it is significantly smaller than the proposed store at Balmakeith and therefore likely to be less effective in reducing leakage of retail expenditure from Nairn;
• public support for the supermarket by Nairn residents reflects a reasonable aspiration to have a larger supermarket and wider range of goods than the size of store the Somerfield site can accommodate;
• there is no other suitable town centre or edge of centre site which is realistically available and large enough to accommodate the proposed development;
• the site is within reasonable walking distance of the town centre;
• the recommended conditions limiting the amount and range of non-food floorspace will mitigate impacts of the development on the viability and vitality of the town centre and on efforts to regenerate it;
• a contribution towards town centre improvement works, to be secured through a Section 75 Agreement, will further mitigate impacts on regeneration of the town centre; and
• the site can accommodate the development proposed without significant detriment to residential amenity and with sufficient landscaping.'

More from their consent letter here on the Scottish Government site. And the reporter's decision presented to ministers can be accessed here.

The Gurn congratulates all those who campaigned long and hard to get this result, especially Jean Tolmie and Margaret MacKintosh and their colleagues on the River Community Council.


Nairnac said...

Good Heavens !

I'm genuinely surprised.

Maybe 2010 will be the year Nairn starts to fight back.

Anonymous said...

Will it be open in time for us all to do our shopping when the High Street is effectively closed for a few months in the summer for streetscaping?
Will even more visitors flock to the town to shop at the new store?
And on a serious note the majority of Nairnites are going to be very happy with this decision, well done to all the pro campaigners

nairnbairn said...

Excellent news! Well done to the Gurn, as well as River CC and others, for campaigning to raise awareness and support for this proposal.

With Sainsburys now in prospect, the Trip Advisor recommendation likely to encourage more tourist visitors, and the High Street due for a facelift, let's hope 2010 heralds a revival and reinvigoration of Nairn as a great place to live, to work, and to visit.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Superb news - thank goodness for common sense. :)

- Brian

Double-edged divi said...

The Co-op who cares? They put in a team of lawyers to try and stop this!

Anonymous said...

Intelligent planning cuts through the ice, maybe we'll get 550 homes on Sandown next!

Anonymous said...

Quite interesting how from the start, the experts said no, yet the ones that want votes said yes! Doesn't that make you think.

Anonymous said...

You don't need to worry about the high street closing down for a few months. This will cause it to close down for years!! Well done everyone, you must be very proud at the thought of killing off your own town, and bringing the roads to a standstill with traffic congestion. I Can't wait... to get out of here!!

Graisg said...

'It is another boost for the seaside town after being voted the second-most favoured global destination for 2010 by TripAdvisor, the world's most influential travel website.'
More in the Scotsman: Supermarket set to create 300 jobs in Highland town.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of having a planning system to look at the facts and implications, only to have their expertise over ruled. It makes a whole mockery of the system and the puclic inquiry was a complete waste of everyones time and money.

It is a disgrace!!

Anonymous said...

Nairnac said...

I don't see how people think the traffic is going to grind to a standstill and the High Street is going to die.
People in Nairn are not going to be buying any more food than they do at present - it's just that they'll now be buying it locally, instead of trailing off to Forres or Inverness to get it. We regularly do our 'big shop' in Tescos, either Forres or I'ness, spending £100+, and both stores are full of other Nairnians doing the same thing. Then, whilst you're in Forres you might pop into McKenzie and Cruickshanks for some stuff for the garden instead of going to Tradeway or Broadley since you're already there, or in Inverness, you'll maybe pop next door to Boots or Homebase instead of getting what you need in Nairn.
Forres has proved remarkably resilient to the presence of Tescos and Lidl's (or is it Aldi ?) and I suspect Nairn will do the same, plus the addition of people from I'ness/Forres who will prossibly come to Sainsburys to get away from the tesco monopoly and do the same thing with their additional shopping in Nairn as we currently do there.
That's before you consider the benefit of the addition of a good number of new jobs for the town.

The decision of the unelected planning department was overturned as a result of a democratic process.
I can't help but believe from the evidence of Highland Region's planning departments attitude to the town that they see Nairn purely as a dormitory suburb of Inverness, which it never has been and never will be if the people of Nairn have their way.

Spurtle said...

There is no doubt that the arrival of Sainbury's will do a lot to stem the leakage of shoppers away from the town. If forecasts are correct , it may even attract people from elsewhere, particularly those looking for a change from Asda/Tesco, and those whose first choice grocery shopping , prior to moving into the area, was done at Sainsbury's.

In these circumstances, there is a chance that the High Street may not be affected too badly. With the streetscape scheme and some promotion at the new Sainsbury's store, it may even benefit.

The substantial reduction in floor area of the non-food units is a sensible approach. After all, it was the thought of improved supermarket facilities that got everyone excited, not the prospect of a 'Suite Centre', or a similar aircraft hanger type retail unit on the edge of town.

I hope that the developers follow the recommendations on the details of the site from the reporter, regarding the impact of the development on those living close by. There are considerations to be made in both the layout of the site, the architecture of the buildings and the measures taken to reduce noise and light impact. Those currently celebrating this news should be magnanimous in victory and encourage Sainbury's to genuinely consider the needs of those living close by.

Anyone who has experienced the prospect of an imposing development on their doorstep knows that having the understanding and consideration of others in the community makes a difficult time more bearable (as has been recently experienced at Gurn headquarters I believe).

When it comes to traffic though, I would urge anyone thinking that the town will not be impacted by this new development to spend some time to read either the Scottish Government or DPEA reporters findings, particularly the Conditions/Appendix 1 section.

I have no doubt there is a need for a better supermarket in Nairn but,along with the new Sainsbury's and non –food units , we are going to get four completely new sets of traffic lights, one new roundabout and at least one new pedestrian controlled crossing. All of this new road furniture will be on the A96 itself. There may also be another pedestrian controlled crossing on the A939 Grantown Road. It is mentioned in the report but it may be the details may possibly be contained in the 'green transport plan' that has to be produced.

Now I don’t about anyone else but, if someone said to me –

“ Right, we’ve got a busy wee town, bit of a bottleneck on the A96. Sometime over the next 5-7 years the road through this town is forecast to reach its maximum traffic capacity at peak travel times. So , we’re going to stick in four new traffic lights, a new roundabout and a couple of pedestrian crossings.........................What do you think?..... “

Call me a maverick but I’m prepared to stick my ironic neck out on this one and say “ Fantastic, guaranteed to make the traffic flow so much better.”

The requirement for the traffic lights and other road engineering works has always been there in this application, some folks just didn’t seem to get a grasp of the potential impact though. It might actually be quicker at times for the people of Forres to get to Sainsbury’s at Balmakeith, than the people from the West end of Nairn.

So could it be that, ultimately, the greatest legacy that Sainsbury’s bring to Nairn is not one of an improved range of groceries and Jamie Oliver’s face plastered all over the town but that the need for a bypass is catapulted much nearer the top of Transport Scotland’s agenda.