Sunday, April 18, 2010

'Nairn faces summer of disruption'

Sunday evening and back to the top for this article. Mainly for the thoughtful (as usual) comment from Spurtle.

Another Courier headline and quite frankly not one that is likely to encourage visitors to come to the town this summer. 'Temporary traffic lights will be in place', reports the Courier. There seems to be some mystery now as to how much traffic will be allowed up the High Street. The Gurn gathers that there was some irritation expressed with the Nairnshire telegraph (the paper reported that the High Street would be closed) at yesterdays 'suits and stakeholder' meeting to discuss the forthcoming 24 week operation to give the High Street a makeover. Perhaps everthing will become clearer once the work starts but whatever happens how many holiday makers will want to listen to pneumatic drills as part of their vacation?
The Gurn hears more people asking how, given the cuts and hard times, that there is a million pounds of funding to do up a high street that only received similar treatment 23 years ago. Councillors can explain different funding pots etc but any explanations will be lost on most folk that don't speak the language of local government. Many people would prefer to see the money spent elsewhere and just don't understand why that can't happen.
Any truth too in the rumours of a street party at the end of the Streetscape and 60K for shopkeepers to do up their frontages?


Nairn said...

The AA route planner suggests that Forres is 10.9 miles from Nairn with a journey time of 15 minutes. Times two this is 30 minutes for the round trip but that is quite possibly quicker than trying to find a car parking space for those of us that need to drive into Nairn during the next Streetscaping phase of works
Apart from valuable car parking spaces being given over to contractor's machinery, Nairn already suffers from a shortage of parking in the town and thats with all the bays on the High Street open, today (Friday) being particularly problematic
If there are to be lights to allow some traffic to enter the High Street that means traffic backing up, and there is only one place for them to go, onto the A96
The building works might be costing £1.3M but the cost in terms of disruption and loss of trade is immeasurable
This will be a summer all Nairnites remember for a very long time but for the wrong reasons
With the desperate need to save money is there no one on the council who is prepared to stand up and take a stance against this scheme
The general election might just be a few days away but this could be a real vote winner for any candidate who can bring some common sense to this issue, save Nairn swimming pool and divert the Streetscape monies, this is your ticket to win!

Anonymous said...

Should someone paint 'THE MONEY CAN'T BE SPENT ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE HIGH STREET' in fifty foot high letters, do you think people would perhaps finally understand?

If anyone wants to argue the wisdom of the allocation of the money to the town, would they please do so with their MSP, as the decision was made at Holyrood, as was the decision that resulted in ludicrously short time frame that the money needs to be spent in.

The Gurn's information from the Stakeholders meeting seems to be patchy and selective.I'm sure that the actual facts relating to the Streetscape will be published soon , for anyone not fluent in jungle drums or hearsay :)

Banksy said...

"Should someone paint 'THE MONEY CAN'T BE SPENT ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE HIGH STREET' in fifty foot high letters, do you think people would perhaps finally understand?"

Aye, I think we all know that, but I for one would paint 'WHAT A CRYING SHAME' above this sign if it was painted

It all sounds like a day out to see my great aunts with my father saying 'you will enjoy this'

We didn't!

Anonymous said...


"Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality."

(Eliot; First of 4 Quartets)

Anonymous said...


Rope is thicker
but string is quicker

Spike Milligan

Nairn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graisg said...

'I'm sure that the actual facts relating to the Streetscape will be published soon'
Cheers anon,
That would be really useful given the confusion now. Hopefully traffic will still get up the High Street and there will be no knock-on effect for other areas of the town such as Waverly Road for example.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Nairn, for putting into words your thoughts about the 'Holyrood said' issue, I agree with you totally. Many people don't understand the workings of bureaucrats and can't understand why this seems to be set in stone, "you're getting a new street whether you want it or not!"
If the money is there why can't it be allocated to something else? If it's a case of it has to be for streetscape, why can't they come up with some creative rewriting of the specifications so that they can 'streetscape' the pool for the next couple of years?
But they won't cos rules is rules.

Nairn said...

“If anyone wants to argue the wisdom of the allocation of the money to the town, would they please do so with their MSP”

For anyone who has been living under the tide of electoral leaflets for the past few weeks, Nairnites have become galvanized by actions which suggest that their swimming pool is in line for closure due to much needed (but not wanted) council cuts.

The wisdom of spending £1.3M on streetscaping of our High Street that few seem to want seems absolutely ludicrous. ‘Because Holyrood said’ is about as spineless a statement as you could possibly wish to make?
Many prospective Westminster candidates have been keen to pledge support for the retention of our pool, so how about they now put those words into actions and approach their Holyrood colleagues to see if £1.3M can be used in this instance to fund our pool?

I apologise to the few shop keepers who have been promised a lick of paint and perhaps a tube or two of No Nails glue to sustain the rotting plaster a little longer, but most folk in Nairn would rather have a pool than a few new paving blocks. If this fails, perhaps the Christmas (sorry if you don’t like that) pageant on the street could this year feature synchronized swimmers in memory of our pool?

Another factor that may have escaped the notice of some is that the pool is due to close this year to allow £170,000 of work on new tiles. I could be very wrong but after the doors have closed for this work is there any chance that a) the work will be carried out b) the doors will ever reopen

In the age of televised debate perhaps a few of those in Nairn’s political world would like to tell the Gurn if indeed the £1.3M allocated to street scape could in fact be used for something more useful, or should Nairnites just accept ‘Holyrood said’ roll over, and accept that our leaders are inept?

Spurtle said...

Obviously the threat of closure hanging over the pool is proving a major concern to those that use the facility,and no doubt a lot of people who don't use it but do appreciate its importance to the town.Talk of 'smokescreens' to draw the attention of the active and vocal campaigners may have some foundation , and may be given more substance when combined with the threat of closure to the Links school. Will there be a raft of potential cost savings brought in with associated reduction in services to other facilities in the town, to save the pool ? Or are we witnessing the application of a divide and conquer policy by the Highland Council?

While we all know that the pool is one of the prime leisure facilities open to the public , and, its cause will not be helped by unrealistic calls for money to be pulled from schemes already allocated funding - no matter how much that expenditure might stick in some people’s crop.

As I understand it the Streetscape project has been on the drawing board for 5 or 6 years now. While there are obviously some who think the money that is being spent is a waste, there are others who look forward to the town centre being brightened up. If you consider how much angst has been expressed on the Gurn about the state of the Regal and the bus station (aka Beirut) you would think that there would be a fair amount of support for spending more money and tidying the whole area up.

Obviously there aren’t many people posting on the Gurn who actually run businesses in the High Street but I’m sure the shopkeepers themselves will appreciate the concerns that have been expressed about the potential impact that the streetscape works might have on their businesses. When talk of a scheme to promote the High Street itself, or freshen up the shop fronts to make them more fitting of the completed Streetscape is ridiculed though, it must make them reassess how genuine the original concerns were.

I have no strong feelings about the Streetscape itself .I would certainly hope it proves to be part of a generally improved town centre ,preferably completed before the arrival of Sainsburys ( is it me , or has their arrival been imminent for quite a while now? -rumour has it they are making the Highland Council planning department jump through hoops & answer all sorts of bizarre and time consuming questions at the moment )...............but, if it is effective and boosts business in the long term then , in protecting or creating jobs, it is surely a good investment .Suggesting that the money that came from wherever it came from should be spent on the pool will not help save the pool though.

Making a good case for the pool is what will save it. Ensuring policies are implemented that see the actual cost of a admitting a paying customer being less than the money they pay on admittance, rather than more as it is at the moment , would be a good starting point. The trouble is of course, in dealing with the Council you are at the hands of an oil tanker captain, in that the vessel under their command takes many miles to stop or turn round.

Nairn needs a pool, the High Street will benefit from an overhaul, King Street needs razing to the ground, and the Links School should be saved. We shouldn’t have to pick which ones of these we want, we should be able to have them all. Sensibly applied and considered policies, particularly supported by such a well organised group as those campaigning to save the pool can make thing happen. Trying to scupper other projects is neither effective nor helpful to their cause though.

However you feel about the Streetscape , or using money to fill potholes, or supporting Gaelic, or arts events, if anyone thinks that a candidate in the upcoming election can exercise influence that would see funds diverted from that type of project to the pool, they are deluding themselves ( and have no understanding of contract law).

The other thing to remember of course is that, whoever you vote for , the Government always wins

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the points that have been made so far by both Spurtle and Nairn

The Streetscape plan has taken a while to come to fruition and in many ways it would be a shame for it not to take place. In some ways it reminds of the new community centre into which so many people put in so much work only to see plans scrapped when objections about certain sites were raised

I would of course like to see Nairn swimming pool kept open, but I would also like to be assured the Streetscape project is not sucking funds from more vital services, and would be happy to see it cancelled if that were the case