Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Co-op scales down Nairn plans

Looks like the Co-op have finally put their cards on the table and are going ahead with slimmed down plans for Nairn town centre. The King Street store is in line for a six week revamp, not quite the grand culimination of the town centre masterplan that Highland Council were after is it? They are obviously worried by the competition that the proposed Sainsbury's operation will pose and point the finger at the Highland Council's decision to grant planning permission at Balmakeith. They promise us a wider range of goods but frankly they will have to go some way to improve on their present dismal choice. To this observer it looks like Nairn is getting the bare minimum from the Co-op.
The Press and Journal reports: 'Work will begin in October on the £700,000 transformation of the King Street Somerfield supermarket, which will be completed in mid-November. It had been hoped that a bigger development would mean the removal of the eyesore site of the old Regal Cinema.' More here.
The Moss-side store is also in for a re-vamp and the petrol station will have money spent on it too. It looks like the mess that is the rest of the town centre in the supermarket area will stay as it is for now anyway - unless buyers can be found or someone comes up with a bright idea. The P&J quote Danny Alexander:
“Local people will be rightly concerned that the nearby disused petrol station and vacant buildings are to now be put back on the market and I hope that discussions with the council will now take place to look at how the centre of Nairn can develop. I hope the Co-op will take steps to mitigate the visual impact of the petrol station and Regal Bar until a long term solution is identified.”


Anonymous said...

So, a cop out by the Coop. What will the re-vamp consist of? A quick rejig inside (so we can't find anything) a bit of paint here and there, some new freezers and tills. Still £700k is quite a lot of money to cover all that; maybe we will be pleasantly surprised.
I hope they spend some money on the flooring at the High Street shop, I know they put in some new lino not so long back but new holes have appeared (one by the fruit and veg for example) which, frankly, are unsightly and dangerous to the public. Up until yesterday the ubiquitous black tape had not even been utilised to cover the said holes!

Anonymous said...

no mention of the High Street store then. When will it close?

Anonymous said...

what a surprise! Not. High st shop must surely be for the chop now, they can just use health and safety as an excuse due to the reduced accessibility of the revamped high street landscaping!
Good job they got rid of the tagline "your caring, sharing co-op". They certainly dont care about Nairn and certainly dont want to share their £s around, £700k doesnt go very far these days!!!

Spurtle said...

As much as anything, this decision by the Co-op illustrates what they think of the town. Can you think of another supermarket operator that would give up the chance of a prime town centre site for a new development ?

It is understandable that many people supported the proposals for a redeveloped town centre , after all, it is just that, the town centre and I think that they will be disappointed that the Co-op have taken this very short sighted decision.

No matter how they revamp the existing store, you can't polish a turd and I hope they will be decent enough to sort the Regal and former filling station out because,if they don't ,their £700,000 investment will be totally wasted because even those who opposed the Sainsburys store will likely be shopping there, purely on a point of principle.

glass half full said...

The Co-op news might not be what we want to hear, but at least they are investing in Nairn for which we should be grateful?
Just like streetscaping it's easy to snipe and say what a waste of money, but at least it is money that is being spent on improving Nairn
It's a shame that the issue of the empty buildings along the A96 is still not being addressed. I wonder how long it will take for them to fall into such disrepair that they can at least be demolished?

Graisg said...

Sputrtle said: 'you can't polish a turd'
Agreed Spurtle, perhaps Rosemary Young and the other volunteer painters had better stand by to at least paint the turd a fresh colour.

At least the Co-op did the caring, sharing thing and chucked £3,500 in the Nairn Games fund. Conscience money?

Anonymous said...

Desperately bad news for the town. Just when things seem to be moving across the road at Rosebank. Even if the Regal and filling station sites go on the market tomorrow I fear we are stuck with them for years.

Brush Up said...

It might be a fresh colour,but I bet it will still stink.

Anonymous said...

The Nairn Somerfield store came under co-op ownership as part of it's nationwide acquisition of the Somerfield group

If the Nairn store came on the market today as a single entity I cannot see that any major supermarket chain would wish to purchase it when the shadow of the out of town Sainsbury's looms over Nairn retailing

Times have changed and there just isn't the room at the King Street site to develop a modern store stocking the items we expect to see and a descent sized car park

Hopefully Sainsbury's will open soon as will the revamped co-op.

A question I have is how long will it be until parking charges come into place in Nairn. It must be an obvious source of money in these austere times and would be as big a worry to High Street retailers as the new out of town store?

As a car owner would you pay to park and shop in Nairn High Street or go elsewhere?

Graisg said...

Parking :-) Was speaking to a resident who lives off the High Street today. Said resident had just received a phone call from an delivery company's Inverness office. They had tried to deliver a pracel from an Inverness store. They claimed that they had driven round the High Street 5 times and had been unable to find anywhere to park.

Anonymous said...

Stuff the co-op - never shall I enter their crap shops again. If thats their attitude they have no chance now. Nairn set for a poor Town Centre.

Anonymous said...

Time to boycott their crap stores and filling station as well. They have had their chance and not taken it - we are now stuck with an eyesore for goodness knows how long. Take the Regal/Community Centre etc. premises off them now and try and do them up a bit at least before next summer. 700k will do nothing much except a lick of paint and maybe new checkouts.

Graisg said...

Boycott the Coop in Nairn?
I think most Nairnites already do (for the big shop anyway). The two shops in the town centre are nothing more than convenience stores anyway. Convenient if you run out of cider for example :-)

Sainsbury's bring it on - we love you already and the diggers have not even turned a sod yet!

Anonymous said...

Boycott the co-op in Nairn?

Glad this is gaining joined up thinking, where would you suggest we shop for those of us without cars?

Nairn is co-op town, lump it or leave it!

Nairnac said...

I really don't understand planning law and it's enforcement.

What would the planners say if I submitted an application to build a new building on a prominent corner of Nairn's main thoroughfair, and in support I submitted a picture of the Regal as it stands today - telling them this was what I proposed.

I would be rightly told in no uncertain terms it was ridiculous and an affront to the town then laughed out of the council buildings and rightly ridiculed in the local area. There would be protests and petitions and it would quite rightly never be allowed to happen.

Yet, once they actually own the premises, people like the co-op are allowed to run their buildings into the ground, blighting the reputation of the whole area in the process.

The same applies to the owners of the church and bus station.

It seems a bit like the police saying ' well, the crime's been committed, there's nothing we can do now, except watch the perpetrator get away with their ill-gotten gains.

It's completely illogical.

Surely there must be a way through the council or courts of enforcing the tidy up of these eyesores. To do nothing is outrageous. To not even try to do anything is shameful.

growtosow said...

what about a facebook page asking for a boycott on the co op. maybe they would take some notice then of how the townsfolk feel about the way they have been treated. nairnacs comments are i am sure sharead by most of the townsfolk including myself.

Shoddy said...

I'm afraid Nairnac that there are several times in the past when I would have been locked up if the planning police could put you away for a stretch because your house was in need of a lick of paint.

I fully agree that the empty buildings you mention are far from attractive, but along with the filling station and the old community centre the main crime is they appear what they are, empty and unused. I would suggest that this is what needs to be addressed

If flats are the only development that developers will consider than so be it. Lets just hope they too won't look an eyesore after a couple of years

Graisg said...

Maybe a facebook page to shame them into a bigger spend than 700K - just to clean their part of the disaster zone up properly?
It is hard to boycott the Co-op 100% when the only opposition to their stranglehold on Nairn is the is perhaps the Harbour Street Stores. When Sainsbury's is up and running however, I imagine most folk will vote with their feet and tyres (bicycle and cars).

By the way, wasn't there some talk last year of a 'social business' or something like that going in the old petrol station? Whatever happened to that idea?

in the stockroom said...

"When Sainsbury's is up and running however, I imagine most folk will vote with their feet and tyres (bicycle and cars)"

You're right, but don't let the Co-op know or they will withdraw the £700K and leave as is!

Nairnac said...

Shoddy - I wasn't intending jailing them, but just enforce the clean up of the bloody eyesores on the main drag. If they won't do it voluntarily, then there should be some way of doing it through the council or courts and forcing the owners to pay the bill. Grafitti artists and vandals who mess up our environs get punished in this kind of way. What the coop, church and bus station owners are doing to the town is much worse.
I speak to lots of people from outside Nairn who comment on what a dump the main road looks, and they tell me that as a result, they wouldn't consider stopping in nairn to visit any other areas like the High Street, harbour etc. The bloody mindedness of these few faceless individuals who own these properties is pulling the whole town down.

As for Shoddy & Big Ears' house, I'm sure they can't live in Nairn, because the regal, bus station and church are far far worse than any private residence I've seen anywhere.

Come to think of it, who does actually own the church and bus station. Can anyone put names and faces to the faceless shameless despoilers of Nairn ?

Graisg said...

Worth remembering too that the Co-op invested a lot of money at the public inquiry into trying to stop Saisnbury's, it would be interesting to know how many 'K' that came to.

Anonymous said...

Even though they were represented at the public enquiry, the Co-op's case was not prepared well. Was it just them showing face, so they could say they objected, when they knew fine well what they intended to do all along.

If they had really been that bothered from the outset, they would have surely bothered to turn up at the original planning meeting in the Court House where the Sainsbury's application was decided in front of a packed house & the Co-op wasn't any of them :)

Anonymous said...

maybe we should all remeber that the somerfield store has been owned by safeway, morrisons and somerfield all before the coops aquisiton of the store and they all promised the same things so why are we not slagging them off. i stopped working in the regal years ago and theres was plans in place then long befor ethe coop took over so maybe we should all give them a break and leave the blame to the council who wouldnt know how to re develop a town if it jumped up and bit them in the ass