Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Corsee Concern at the West Council meeting

Last night in the Community Centre provided more evidence of how far Nairn’s revived West Community Council has come in a short space of time. The Gurnmeister was impressed to hear a high standard of debate on subjects affecting the West area and the town in general. Nairn is really lucky to have such a capable bunch of citizens willing to give up their time for free. Oh, if only we had a single Community Council for the Royal Burgh! The strikingly competent West mob plus the best of the rest of Nairn’s community councils would be strong voice to put forward the aims and ambitions of our community.

There is concern in the West area about what might happen to Corsee when the council social care and other health and welfare offices relocate to the hospital site. The building will fall vacant and Highland Council have made public their intention to develop and dispose of the Corsee site. Concern was raised that whenever development sites come on the market in the town centre area then the default is to put up cheap housing. Mention was made of the Maggot flats. Could the same happen in the Corsee Gardens? It seems that the Highland Council wish to build 8 houses on the garden area and sell the building itself for redevelopment. Brian Stewart who has been canvassing local residents outlined several concerns including the fact the building has significant historical interest for Nairn and there were currently contentious issues over the provision of housing and care for elderly people. He thought the council’s proposals could result in a substantial quantity of new housing. There was no longer a realistic prospect that Corsee would revert to its former role as a care home given there were other facilities in Nairn. There had been suggestions that the original title-transfer may have included convenants on the future use of Corsee specifically for the benefit of the elderly people of Niarn. If the Council’s proposals were withing the spirit of such an obligation but there appears to be no provision for common facilities or amenities. Mention was made of what in fact was the Council’s position on housing suitable for the elderly given that houses that had been reserved for that purpose in Nairn in the past were now deemed suitable for other individuals too and sometimes that was not always a successful policy. Could the proposal for housing for the elderly only be guaranteed?

There’s no doubt that the plan for eight houses and the sell-off of the building would increase the housing density of the area and increase existing parking problems. Brian felt that any parking should be provided within the site and not on the street. Jim Ferguson thought that there was a chance to do something imaginative to the site given the proximity of the town centre. There was a suggestion that housing was perhaps not the best outcome for what was a very valuable are to the town.

The Community Council then debated a series of questions and options they intend to put to the Highland Council outlining their and the residents’ concerns. Most prominently they felt that it would be helpful to have clarification as to what the Council plans to build - sheltered housing or simply bungalows for sale. Brian Stewart will write to Louise Clark and planners and also intends to raise the issue at the Nairnshire Ward Forum this evening.

The Gurn feels that this issue highlights how we have to look out for each other in Nairn, be it infill over-development in Water Lane, over the top numbers of houses on Sandown or Corsee or any where else in the town. We have to stand together to make sure that all residents have their voices heard fairly by the planners and if necessary we must be ready to act together if that doesn’t happen. These are important times for Nairn’s future – don’t let your eye off the ball Gurnites!

More from the West meeting later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some of the problems that occur with cheap or social housing are due to the poor siting of such accommodation.
The Maggot flats are right next to the A96, hardly a prime position and are quite dense in terms of the number of flats
I appreciate that there may be an element of NIMBY'ism with regard such housing being built in the West end, but it would be good for once to see some quality social/cheap properties being developed