Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A single community council for Nairn - it nearly happened in June of 2003

As the community prepares to enter into another round of consultation into what is the best way to organise the town's three seperate community councils it is worth reflecting on a previos meeting when Nairn councillors approved something similar but it never happened for one reason or another:

Item 7 of the minutes of the meeting of the Nairnshire Committe held on Tues 24th of June 2003.

PRESENT:Provost A S Park Councillor L Fraser Councillor E MacDonald Councillor J N Matheson Councillor B Dunlop Councillor A Gordon...

There was circulated Report No N/84/03 by the Area Manager proposing that the statutory process be initiated to revoke the current Scheme for Community Councils for Nairnshire and substitute a new scheme which would provide for there being one Community Council for the town of Nairn as oppose to the existing three.The Area Manager spoke to his report and advised that these proposals had arisen given that many of the issues affecting Nairn, such as the Town Centre Development and the Sandown Lands proposals, had an effect on the entire town rather than a single sector and that as such there was merit in considering the formation of one Community Council to represent the whole town as opposed to the existing three. They had been discussed at a recent meeting of the Community Council Forum when there was agreement that the proposals be progressed, noting that there would be a wide consultation exercise prior to any final decision. He advised that single Community Councils operated successfully in other comparable settlements throughout The Highland Council's area and that, if there was to be a single Community Council for Nairn, the boundaries of the three remaining rural Community Councils would remain unchanged apart from any minor amendments required to reflect the expansion of the town.The Area Manager further advised that in terms of the Council's Scheme of Delegation the responsibility for preparing, amending or reviewing Community Council Schemes rested with the Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee which, obviously, would wish to have regard to the Area Committee's views on any such proposal.The report outlined the statutory mechanism for revoking the existing Scheme and adopting a new one, including public consultation prior to the Council determining the matter.In discussion Members considered the question of whether any new Scheme might also take account of recent developments in voting arrangements to help encourage greater community participation in Community Councils and the Area Manager undertook to consider this as part of the proposed new Scheme.Thereafter the Committee AGREED that the Area Manager should prepare a draft Scheme for Community Councils for Nairnshire with one Community Council for the town of Nairn and with the existing three rural Community Councils continuing subject to any necessary boundary changes due to Nairn's expansion since the original Scheme was introduced. The draft Scheme should then be submitted for consideration by the Committee and thereafter, if the Committee was so minded, onward transmission to the Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee for consideration.'
The Gurn's posistion has been made quite clear in the past, we support a single community council for Nairn, it would be the ideal democratic vehicle to fight for Nairn's identity against the dominance of Inverness and ensure the community's voice is heard clearly by those in authority. We look forward to the debate during the next period of consultation. The arguments of 2003 are just as valid today, in fact even more so.

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