Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ward Forum - Archie Tect's view

We will bring you more soon we promise - insights into how Sandy and Laurie see the process but in the meantime here's some comment from Archie Tect who was obviously an eye-witness to the proceedings:
"Well, the Ward Forum at least revealed what Council officials think consultation on the HwLDP consists of...and it certainly isn't a two-way dialogue!
First, a Powerpoint presentation telling the audience that the planners have taken on board all the comments made by the public on the Main Issues Report. Yeah right! Odd, then, how little the latest draft plan differs from the earlier version.
Then, short questions from the audience on familiar and predictable points of detail, which led to long explanatory responses.
First up: how many houses, and why don't the figures add up? Answer: the figures are indicative, estimates, aspirational... (Does that sound familiar?)
Next: why build on prime agricultural land at Broadley/Balblair? Answer: because the plan says so!
Best of all - what about increased Cawdor Road traffic under the railway bridge? The brilliant solution proposed ..... make it narrower, as that will slow the traffic down and protect pedestrians (Yeah, right!). As a member of the public pointed out, if you create worse bottlenecks, you create more back-road rat-runs.
All good entertaining stuff. The meeting was even told that yes, the Council had a vision and a plan for the regeneration of the whole of Nairn town centre. What was it? Answer: well, we plan housing on the King Street site, and we have the Streetscape. And, um, that's it, folks.
After this, the lack of further audience questions was perhaps unsurprising. But when a member of the public sought to offer comments on the Plan, this threw the top table into a tizzy. Comments on the plan were certainly not welcome at a public consultation meeting! Any comments would have to be submitted in writing (it's so much easier then, y'see, to file them away in the WPB without other people noticing). If comments were allowed, then we might (shock, horror!) have a discussion, or even a debate.
And who knows where that might lead? "
Wouldn't be a Ward Forum without torture by Powerpoint would it? A member of HC staff reading out what we are all capable of reading for ourselves, c'est la vie.

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