Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nairn 2 Inverurie 2

Pictures from official club photographer Donald Matheson. See individual pictures here. Match report from Nairn soccer journalist Kenny MacLeod here.

Isobel Gowdie to get the Hollywood treatment?

A Nairn based script writer, David Ness, wants to take the story of Isobel Gowdie to the silver screen.
'Ness wants Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan to take the leading role of Isobel Gowdie and also hopes to persuade Oscar winner Tilda Swinton to join the project.'
More on the Herald site.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Grantown Wedding

The bride and groom earlier today. Michael Bisset lives in John street and works for the town. The bride Gillian George is from Grantown .
They were married at the registrar this afternoon and a reception was held in the Ben Mhor.
Murd reports the weather was kind for them although cold and a fair sized crowd gathered to wish them well.
Here's Murd preparing for his wee driving job today with the aid of his grandchildren. If you need a stylish ride to get you to the church on time why not contact Murd.

Harbour Street Parking

Thanks to Tommy for this picture

Bulb planting

Thanks to Billy for this picture of the bulb planting by the Grantown road today. Keeping Nairnshire Colourful planted thousands of muscari to create a cascade effect down the brae.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Climate change in Nairn - here already or coming very soon?

Jingle Bangle's picture of the high tide eating into the dunes on the 31st of March 2009. Can we expect even higher ones sooner rather than later?
Over the past three Wednesday evenings SNH ran a climate change panel in the Community Centre. Participants were asked to detail what features of the local environment were important to them, what changes they had personally seen taking place in the locality and what should be the priorities for preparing for climate change. Those taking part were told that the current predictions were for a 40cm sea rise by 2050 and the temperature increasing by 2.5C with dryer summers and wetter winters.
Much was discussed about all aspects of Nairnshire and how climate change would impact. Foremost in the minds of quite a few of those taking part was how we could defend the Fishertown and the seafront and the golf courses from the combined dangers of the sea rising and flooding from the river. It maybe that further action to prevent flooding might be a priority for Nairnites but just where would the funding come from? Would other bigger communities that were threatened with flooding be first in the queue? Of course, as mentioned above, climate change will present us with many difficulties and may come sooner rather than later. So just how do local people ensure that the authorities prepare effectively for that day? Or in the final analysis just how much can be achieved before you have to abandon some inhabited areas?
There was one suggestion that the debris that has built up in the river over the past few generations between the harbour and the railway bridge be removed to give more space to the larger volumes of water coming down in the spates and another that the Maggot should become part of the flood plain of the river again. How will the Nairn golf courses fare with rising sea levels, will there be any cash to protect them when priority will obviously be given to areas of habitation? There are tourism implications here too, will we get more tourists if we get warmer or will we lose them if the Golf courses go? Should we really be so occupied with trying to get a by-pass when perhaps an effective sea wall along the promenade might be needed sooner rather than later as we head into the next 10 to 20 years of this new millennium? Cash is scarce, the likes of Highland Council might have a climate change document out to consultation at the moment but where would the money come from to implement any recommendations?
The results of the climate change panel will eventually be fed back to those who took part, when we hear more we'll let you know.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Co-op swings and roundabouts?

An interesting article over on Brian's

Meanwhile the safety fencing around part of the Co-op's desolation row seems to be manifestly unsafe these days.

Had a nice time

With lots of like-minded people this evening...


No sign of demolition of the newer part of the building yet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fears over the Common Good fund – an interesting suggestion from Laurie

Gurnites will by now have probably read the latest instalment of the debate over Nairn’s Common Good cash in the Nairnshire this week. Sandy was once again giving reassurances to the community through the good offices of the local paper. Last night at the Suburban CC meeting Cllr Graham Vine of the West CC raised the issue of control of the Common Good Fund under ACOB. He stated that there seemed to be contradictory information coming from Sandy and William Gilfillan the Corporate Manager.
The point the West has been making recently is that the four Nairn councillors have no veto if the rest of the Highland members should decide to do something with Nairn’s Common Good money. There are rumours, however, that there isn’t much in the Nairn Common Good at the moment but one day if Sandown were sold then it might get a fairly large top up (once £2.3 million or so owed for the new Community Centre were docked from any windfalls).
The debate livened up when Laurie stepped in with an very interesting (and perhaps slightly mischievous?) suggestion. He told the meeting,’Well, the best thing to do is get them both to a public meeting and ask them the same question and see what happens.’
Once the laughter died down Graham Vine stated: ’Perhaps we should ask for it to all be on the next Ward Forum?’
Laurie indicated that he had no problem with that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sainsbury's dragging their heels over Balmakeith?

Tonight at the Suburban Community Council meeting Cllr Dick Youngson gave an update on planning applications. He said that the Sainsbury’s outline permission still had to be approved by Highland Council. There then followed a brief discussion in which Cllr Graham Vine of West CC asked: ‘Could I ask, do we know if it is Sainsbury’s dragging their heels or whether it is Highland Council playing silly wotsits?’
Provost Laurie Fraser, also in attendance, said emphatically, ‘No it’s Sainsbury’s not Highland Council.’

Want a University (or at least bits of it) in Inverness?

This evening on the way to the Suburban meeting this observer was stopped in the street by a regular Gurnite who feels that it would be tremedous for the town's young people if we had a Uni in the Highlands. He urges fellow Gurnites to take part in the following Scottish Government consultation and see yes. You can download a doc, fill in a few boxes and e-mail it back to the Scottish Government at The instructions are on this Scottish Government page.

Nairn Town Centre mind map

Gurn Staff have been playing with a piece of mind-mapping software, click the picture to enlarge and see the first effort. If you're having any difficulties seeing the image you can also try this Gurn flickr page.
Has anyone else got suggestions or ideas and at some date we will update the map?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday night press review

The Nairnshire splashes with 'Nairn will share in Moray's misery'. The local paper presents an in depth look at the what the closure of Kinloss will mean to Nairn's economy with comments from some local leading figures. It doesn't look good, in fact very, very bad. Iain Bain also has a hard hitting editorial on the matter too.
Lots more in this week's paper including Sandy insisting that the Common Good Fund is still under the control of the local members plus a report on the town centre consultation. There's a few traders gurning about loss of income from the streetscape and Fergus Ewing wants clarification of the future of the Fort. Is it really possible that there will soon be no military presence in the area at all?
On the subject of Kinloss there is now a rather large Facebook group, Save RAF Kinloss, campaigning for its retention. Browsing the site there are suggestions of demonstrations, petitions etc but it is really hard to see how anybody could get this ConDem government to go back on this decision.

Madainn Diluain - Monday morning

Co-op's 700K investment materialises

92% want a Town Council for Nairn

130 votes in now in the Gurn poll over in the side bar. Unscientific yes, but broadly in line with a larger sample of public opinion conducted by the Suburban Council for the public meeting held last year in the new Community Centre.

If you agree then tell your elected representitives, both on Highland Council and the town's 3 Community Councils. As the cuts bite so the challenges that Nairn faces will stack up. We will have to do more for ourselves if we want to preserve what is best about our community including the seperate identity that Nairn & Nairnshire still have at the moment.
This can be achieved by combining Nairn River, Suburban & West Councils into a Town Council - it won't cost anymore than it does now - Community Councillors provide their services for free!
The Royal and Ancient Burgh of Nairn needs a single voice to deal with the hard times ahead.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Climate refugees to resettle in the Highlands?

An interesting section in a Highland Council Climate Change consultation document reads:

'One future impact of a changing climate could be the in-migration of people from places worst affected by changing weather patterns both in the UK (low lying areas such as East Anglia) and Europe (Mediterranean and areas affected by excessive heat waves).
Couple this with the expected renewable energy potential of Highland region and the potential is for a population increase with more mixed cultures and languages.'

There's just so much consultation out there that it really is difficult to keep up with it all but should anyone want to browse the relevant climate change documents you can find them in the side-bar of this Highland Council web page.

Nairn 0 Cove 1 - A dignified exit this year

A pulsating end to end match that might have been a bit short of shots on target but still had a mesmerising quality. Here's a slideshow of club photographer Donald Matheson's pictures

Friday, October 22, 2010

‘The Death of Nairn’ – most interesting Gurn article so far

The Death of Nairn post has inspired 48 readers to click ‘interesting’ in the feedback gadget, this surpasses the previous record held by Hugh McBean’s sensational walking video.

Sainsbury’s still in discussion with the planning department.

The Courier has a wee article today about the ongoing Sainsbury’s saga. They report that the store has been granted a liquor licence. The paper says, ‘No work can start until the planners approve the final details but a decision is expected over the next few weeks. A Sainsbury’s spokesman is also quoted:
‘We are aiming to have these matters finalised next month, after which Sainsbury’s will hopefully be able to announce the details and timing of the new store’s construction programme.

Laurie, Graham and Sandy want to put up your council tax!

That is presuming they agree with the administration that they are a part of?

‘SENIOR Highland councillors want to raise Council Tax to help close the authority's £53 million spending gap.
Members of the ruling Lib-Dem/Independent/Labour coalition insist it is the only way to stave off cuts to frontline services and their plea was backed yesterday by Inverness MP and chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.’ More in the Inverness Courier.

Splashing out

A regular Gurnite sends us these wet weather pictures of a part of the streetscape. He’s generally pleased with things but is a bit concerned that water seems to be lying in places. Perhaps there’s still one or two final touches to be completed?

Dragh gu bheil coltas Inbhir Narrann a' milleadh na turasachd

Worry that the appearance of Nairn is spoiling tourism – one for the Gaelic contingent here. Tha Lachlan Macleòd air a bhith bruidhinn le BBC Alba mu dheidhinn cùisean ann an teas meadhan a’ bhaile.
Lachie MacLeod has been speaking to BBC Alba about Nairn town centre issues.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nairn Town Centre regeneration group formed – more time wanted for consultation with Highland Council

Over thirty people attended a meeting in the Courthouse this evening to discuss the formation of a Town Centre Regeneration Group. A steering group was formed to investigate possible options for setting up a formal constituted organisation. Several suggestions were put forward including a CIC (Community Interest Company), a Company limited by guarantee, or a Development Trust. The steering group will meet next week at a venue yet to be confirmed. It was also agreed to write to Highland Council to ask for an extension to the consultation period until Easter of next year. The town’s three community councils and the Nairn Business Association will also write to the Highland Council with the same request.
Liz declined to be a committee member but will take ordinary membership and give advice to the project.
It is painfully obvious that the new organisation will have a lot of work to do and will need the support and active participation of as many Nairn residents as possible. Time to get involved Gurnites.

That time again

Thanks to Jingle Bangles for this picture showing the white stuff not very far away.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Highland Council behaving like the bankers?

More criticism of the draft Highland Development plan at the West CC on Tuesday night. Brian Stewart had a quick recap of the situation so far and outlined the progress of the plan from the Main Issues Report to the first stage of the consultation and now the opportunity to comment on the draft plan. He was very concerned about the draft however, like many Gurnites out there who wonder why there is so much development planned for the Nairn area.

After his introduction Cllr Stewart said: ‘It’s kind of surprising and depressing that the Highland Wide Draft Development Plan is actually so little different from the original outline that they prepared. I was surprised and disappointed that they seem to have been so patchy and inconsistent in what they have picked up from the feedback they got.’

Brian believes there are three main problems, he continued, ‘One is that the plan as it is set out is still dogmatically attached to the aspiration of massive population growth, high migration, high expansion. It is also still based on suspect and, in my view, excessive predictions of housing demand and need. It was interesting that at the public Ward Forum, the most telling questions were raised by a member of the public who challenged the figures of Malcom MacLeod that were in the plan and Malcom MacLeod, who is the principle planner responsible for it, simply wasn’t able to explain or justify the arithmetic.

The broader issue is that the Council seems to have failed to notice that since they started thinking and talking about the plan the environment has changed radically. When they started thinking about development, the Country was booming, the economy was booming. Inverness was expanding rapidly and there seems to be a belief that somehow, that magically, this is all going to carry on irrespective of what’s happening in the real world. I’m beginning to worry that the Highland Council are behaving like the bankers. They just keep on doing what they’ve always been doing. The goal is growth, if we keep on planning for lots of growth then we’ll get lots of returns.’

More from the West CC debate on the plan later this week if time permits. In the meantime Gurnites may wish to read articles concerning the plan that have appeared recently on the APT blog.

Demo outside Danny's office

The BBC is reporting that a demonstration against the cuts has been staged outside Danny's office today in Inverness. A one-off or will we see more of this in the weeks and months to come?

'The future of the town centre site should not become a political issue!'

At last night's West CC meeting Councillor Brian Stewart outlined, gingerly, his fears that the political divisions between our four Highland Councillors could impact on the Town Centre Development Group that is expected to be formally launched in the Courthouse at 17.30 on Thursday night.

Cllr Stewart said,' The future of the town centre site shoudl not become a political issue, political in the party sense. It is too important to become a matter of political point scoring between the ruling group & the opposition on the Highland Council. Ultimately for anything to happen we're going to need at least the acquiescence, if not the active support, of all Nairn's councilors.'

Brian is spot on with his comments and this observer feels that the community will deal harshly at the ballot box with anyone that tries to sabotage any group formed for their own political ends. Of course the issue is already political in a non-party sense, and with a big P too. That is to say that we have the aspirations of our community at loggerheads with what the Highland Council's vision for the town centre. Hopefully there will be one massive outbreak of peace and love to take the town centre issue forward in a positive way.

Have you got anything you could offer to the group that will probably formed on Thursday night? Why not go along and see if you can help?

Nairn loon Fraser Nelson ponders the forthcoming cuts at Kinloss & Lossie

'Moray used to be a Tory stronghold, now it's SNP-held. Part of me wonders if this is what happens if the Tories give up on Scotland. There are other things Highlanders worry about: the end of the sleeper train to London and future of Fort George. The MP now representing my hometown of Nairn, incidentally, is one Danny Alexander. Something tells me that he won't be very popular on his next trip back up north if these services are cut away'
Read more on Fraser's blog on the Spectator: ' The unavoidable cruelty of necessary cuts'

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Corsee demolition work starts next week

West Councillor Jimmy Ferguson told his organisation's meeting this evening that he'd been informed that demolition work on the more modern part of Corsee would begin next week.

Highland Council ignoring West CC on Common Good concerns?

Councillor Graham Vine of the West watchdogs told the meeting that he’d met with Fergus Ewing again to discuss Common Good Fund concerns as nothing had been heard from Highland Council. He’d also raised the issue with Mary Scanlon’s office. Graham had heard from a Moray councillor that although all Moray elected members were trustees of the Forres Common Good fund it was the Forres members alone that had sole control of that Fund.
‘That is what we feel we should have for Nairn, so that only the Nairn elected members can decide on the use of the Nairn Common Good,’ said Mr Vine.
Brian Stewart said that the ball was very firmly in the Highland court and that a letter had been sent to to local councillors and to Mr Gilfinnan, the Corporate Manager and author of the current policy document. He also stated that they had set out a range of amendments to the Council.
‘Highland Council, seem to prefer to ignore us and go their own sweet way,’ said Graham Vine.

Lisa from Nairn worried about infrastructure

Lisa is from Nairn, Austrailia but what she has to say has a certain familiarity to it.

Sainsbury's start date slips - Nairn waits for Liberation from Co-op domination

Work will not now begin until the start of 2011. Nairn continues to wait paitently for liberation from Co-op rule. If you are fed up with having to drive to Inverness, Forres or Elgin for the choice of food that most other towns of our size take for granted then hang on - it may be some time yet before your dreams come true.
Full details in this week's Nairnshire Telegraph.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Floods of 1956 more pictures from Tommy & Murd

These latest pictures above unearthed by Tommy Hogg clearly demonstrate the power of nature when the river flooded in July 1956 .

Murd Dunbar's picture of the damage at the Granites also shows how the landscape can change overnight when the power of Mother Nature is unleashed.

Tog Blog - treudaiche (aggregator) nam blogaichean Gàidhlig

Just a post for Gaelic readers that browse the Gurn sometimes -Air sgàth 's nach deach Tìr nam Blog ùrachadh o chionn fhada agus le bloglines gu bhith dùnadh ann an ùine nach bidh fada, chaidh làrach-lìn ùr a chruthachadh gus na blogaichean Gàidhlig a' cruinneachadh aig an aon àite. Gheibhear e aig Tog Blog.
Bloglines are closing soon and there's a problem with another Gaelic blog aggregator so the folks from Fòram na Gàidhlig have created Sin thu Fhèin GC agus Akerbeltz.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nairn County 1 Formartine United 0

To read Nairn soccer reporter Kenny MacLeod's account of the match click here. For a full screen slideshow of official club photographer Donald Matheson's images click here and to browse individual pictures click here.

Inbhir Narann aig briseadh an latha - Nairn Daybreak - 17/10/10

We are moving towards winter yes but one of the benefits of that is that there is more likelihood of being out of bed when the dawn breaks. In Nairn the break of day can be just as spectacular as the sunset. The slide show is quite long, for individual pictures click here and for a full scale slide show click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The launch of Donald Wilson's book on Nairn soccer legend Davy Johnston

A very special moment at Nairn Book Shop as Donald Wilson's book dedicated to the soccer career of Nairn legend Davy Johnston is launched.
You can get a copy of the book from the Nairn Book Shop
or from Amazon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Breaking up Highland Council - new SNP policy on the way?

SNP MSP Dave Thompson has suggested breaking up the Highland Council into smaller units. Could this be Nairnshire's chance to make a bit of a comeback or at least a chance for the Royal Burgh of Nairn to run its own affairs once again? Or would it just be a short-cut to full Inverness control which is what some think we already have anyway?
More on the BBC website about Dave Thompson's suggestions Could there be a vote-winner in the pipeline for next year's Holyrood elections?
Update: we have been contacted by Dave's office, it appears his comments on the Highland Council were simply part of a much bigger effort to stimulate debate on Governance of the Highlands and Islands in general. You may wish to read further on the little gadget below or in a more conventional web page here.

River Nairn Floods of July 1956 - can you identify the two loons?

We're delighted to publish more pictures of the 1956 floods that Murd has kindly sent to us. Can you help Murd identify the two loons in the second picture?

Update: Mystery solved, see below

Update from Mrs Gurnmeister: the picture shows Brian McDonald, Tommy Hogg and the dog's name is Sally.

Nairn's New Arts Centre?

Speculation tonight on

'We have just observed that the striking Community Centre logo has been removed and the building is now called Nairn Community and Arts Centre. We wonder why the change?' Why not pop over and have a read.

River Community Council Winter Programme

Hot off the River CC press and exclusive to the Gurn, the following information for all followers, admirers and interested citizens who might wish to attend the monthly meetings of the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Nairn's senior Community Council (all meetings to be held in the new Community And Arts Centre):

9th. November 2010 - 7.30pm (Youth Cafe)

7th. December 2010 - 7.30pm (Music Room)

11th. January 2011 - 7.30pm (Music Room)

8th.February 2011 - 7.30pm (Music Room)

8th.March 2011 - 7.30pm (Music Room)

Nairn's Davy Johnston - 'a hero to hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, long before he made his Aber­deen debut '

'It’s time the tale were told,' says David Innes in a review of Donald Wilson's book on the Wee County legend. David writes:
'Draw­ing on for­mid­able local press research and anec­dotal evid­ence from star wit­nesses such as Davy’s con­tem­por­ar­ies and fans at Nairn, Aber­deen and Inverness Caley, Wilson paints a pic­ture of a prodigiously-gifted foot­baller whose mod­esty almost out­weighed his tal­ent. Unfor­tu­nately, so did his lack of self-belief and his inab­il­ity to come to terms with the demands of the city and the expect­a­tions of a full-time foot­baller ulti­mately saw him return to his High­land League com­fort zone after less than three years in the sac­red red. Hap­pily, John­ston car­ried on where he left off and he thrilled High­land League fans for a fur­ther seven sea­sons, play­ing a bit part in Nairn’s finest hour, their dra­matic clinch­ing of the 1976 championship.'
More from David's review here on Aberdeen Voice.

Tommorow (Saturday) Donald will be signing copies of his new book 'Pittodrie's Silent Assasin - Davy Johnston' at 11.00 a.m. in Nairn Book Shop in the High Street.
Another review also online in the Inverness Courier - Shy Highland League legend possessed a deadly finish

West & Suburban input to Combined Community Council meeting on the town centre

Nairn's West Councillors present Brian Stewart, Graham Vine, Jimmy Ferguson and their Suburban Colleagues Dick Youngson and Alistair Noble made some valuable contributions to the debate.

River’s Chair Jeanne Tolmie was also chairing the combined meeting and she asked Dick Youngson to open the debate.

Dick told the meeting that it had been clearly conveyed that the Council’s options for the town centre site were not the best ones. Dick wants to see the existing old buildings retained and used imaginatively and feels that the old School should not be used for offices but something that would be more beneficial to Nairn’s tourism industry. This was a point taken up by Graham Vine later who also thought that this building would be better used by the private sector instead of becoming another ‘sterile’ area.

Dr Alistair Noble again stressed who the bus station area should be taken into an regeneration plans.

The meeting progressed with a memorable quote from Graham Vine, ‘Flats will just sterilise the town centre.’

Brian Stewart then asked the meeting to consider what the area under consideration actually was, was it a transit zone, an entrance to the High Street or a destination in its own right.

The meeting then seemed to focus itself in what was perhaps the inevitable direction when Jim Ferguson spoke:‘We as a community have a Common Good fund which owns Sandown, and maybe there’s a case here for us to actually in some way realise some of the values of Sandown Common Good and we as a community take ownership of the Town Centre. It may require us approaching the owners of these bits of land and asking them to donate them into the Common Good Fund and then as a Common Good project that the Community can get behind and come up with something that is suitable for the town centre along the lines of what everyone has been suggesting.’

More from the Combined Community Councils meeting will be posted on the Gurn this weekend if time permits.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sainsbury's building warrant applications

Thanks to Eileen for pointing the Gurn in the direction of the above information from the Highland Council weekly lists of Building Warrant applications.

Duncan Brown's Nairnshire Country

More pictures of Nairnshire on Flickr, here's Duncan Brown's Nairnshire Country.

Bus Service coming for the Fishertown but next year

Liz told the River CC on Tuesday night that Forres Taxis were in the process of surveying a route for the Fishertown which will start next year. A minibus will run from the Fishertown to the hospital and the elderly will be able to use their bus passes on the service.
This will be excellent news for those who have been campaigning for such a service for several years now.
Hopefully the service will perhaps consider those holidaymakers who check out from the caravan site for 10.00 on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Families making their way to the railway station with all their luggage can be a familiar site during the season and if the price of fuel keeps rising more of them might chose to come to Nairn for their holidays via the train.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Royal and Ancient Burgh’s Community Councils to form Town Centre Project Group

The Royal and Ancient Burgh of Nairn’s three Community Councils decided at their combined meeting earlier this evening in the Laing Hall to back a proposal by former Provost Liz MacDonald to form a project group to take an Action Plan based on the Community’s ideas for the town centre forward.
Virtually all those present agreed to meet next Thursday to consider an issues paper, outline the community’s proposals for the site and possibilities for funding.
It was a meeting full of realism, those present well aware that there is little or no money to go around but positive about coming up with imaginative solutions to the problems. There was a good feeling in the air Gurnites, as the town’s Community Councillors and members of the public paused to chat in wee groups outside the Laing Hall before they made their way home.
This observer has felt for quite some time that we will have to do more for ourselves because once the savage cuts begin to bite there will be less and less that the Highland Council will be able to do for us even if they want to. But then perhaps that’s the best way forward – the community doing it for itself? Nairn unleashed?
More from tonight’s meeting over the next few days.

'The whole area holds its collective breath to hear the fate of the Moray air bases'

In this week's paper, the Nairnshire's Editor, Iain Bain, welcomes that the Highland Council no longer seems intent on rushing straight into an alternative plan for the town centre. He speculates too on how the economic landscape could change dramatically if the bases close. Iain also comments on the issue of Policing.
Lots of local news too, all yours for 40p, available now in one of Nairn's newsagents or one of the many Co-ops in town.

RG IV12's photostream

There's quite a lot of interesting Nairn related photography to be seen in RG V12's photostream on Flickr.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Streetscape - the beginning of the end

Work started today on the road phase of Streetscape, it is expected that the work will be completed within two weeks although permission to close the High Street has been given for four weeks if necessary.

Donald Wilson Makes Book-writing Debut with Biography of Highland League Hero

'A senior reporter with the Highland News has published his first book, about a former Highland football legend.
Donald Wilson has written a biography on his boyhood hero, regarded by many as the greatest ever player from the North. Davy Johnston started his career with Nairn County at 16 and was touted for stardom, but his career was blighted by homesickness and he returned from Hearts after a year - back to Nairn County, where he made his name as a striker.'
Donald will be signing copies of his book at the official launch at Nairn Bookshop in the High Street on Saturday at 11.00 a.m.

Sandy, Pressure and the 800K

At last week's Ward Forum we heard the asssertion from some present that the Highland Council's development brief for the town centre was being driven by the 800K debt incurred to help finance the new community centre. Sandy was emphatic in denying that this was the case however. On two occasions he spoke about the influence of the debt:
In the first part of the meeting he gave a very long answer to Councillor Graham Vine of the West CC who asked about the role of the 800K in the Council's thinking.
Sandy said:
'...if there’s money you know from this development, yes that will have to go into the HC coffers, but we’re not held to ransom by the £800,000.'
Later on a member of the public asked:
' Tell me how much pressure you are under to make this, for this to generate money, how much pressure are you coming from the centre?'
Sandy said (here's part of his longer reply):
'...I'’m sitting in the hot seat in the council and that there’s been no pressure put to me or the administration in the Highland Council who say, 'right you’ve got to turn this round quick we need money back into the council', this money has gone through the system. The council's handling that and we are not under pressure...'
Tommorrow night (Tues) there will a combined meeting of the Community Councils of the Royal & Ancient Burgh of Nairn in the Laing Hall, starting at 07.45 p.m. and they would like you to attend and give your views on the Highland Council's plan for the town centre.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Clach 0 Nairn 0

Match report here, view individual pictures here and a full screen slide-show here.

Pictures from official club photographer Donald Matheson

The Death of Nairn!!!!!!!

The overuse of exclamation marks came in a comment received in reply it seems to some satiric comments on another thread. Someone had jokingly said: 

NAIRN it is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of our beloved Nairn who will be sorely missed by all, a good friend to many, who fought the battle bravely & with great dignity but Father Time has caughtup & the heart beats no more. All friends respectfully invitedbut no councillors please.
Further arrangements published later later

Further comments included:

'It was very sad to read about the death of Nairn as a friend I knew for a long time that its not been in the best of health, but i will always remember the good times we had. RIP'

'Nairn suffered from the terminal illness brought on by centralisation, firstly losing its identity and sadly eventually fading away with barely a whimper.'

In reply we have now received the following:

The Death of Nairn!!!!!!!
What about everywhere else in the Highlands?
The area around Inverness and Nairn must grow in order to produce a trickle of prosperity to all other areas across the Highlands.
The population of the Highlands is increasing but the numbers of elderly are increasing at the fastest rate, so things must happen quickly in order to put as much as possible in place during the course of this administration.
We need new investment to compensate for the widespread predicted loss in public sector jobs as well as securing as many as possible of the public sector jobs.
The new airport business park will bring jobs very soon, and the University will bring us new young people who will choose to stay and we will also keep those young people who would otherwise leave. The new town at Inverness East will pump investment in and bring lots of affordable housing and plenty of shops. The new addition to the exisitng retail park will facilitate a diversity of retail experience in this area.

Inverness Town Centre will prosper, not decline as the naysayers would have us believe thanks to the forthcoming city vision.
Get real folks, we must expand and urbanise or die. We must build and sell much smaller units in order to still balance the books.
Oh and stop moaning about not being consulted most of you do not take an interest until it is too late to do anything about it anyway.
It is a fact that barely anyone will bother to write in about the local plans. Oh and I look forward to barely anyone bothering to take an interest in what their local community council is doing either.

And for goodness sake stop wingeing on about increased traffic, so what, other places have problems too, it is a natural consequence of prosperity and a few extra minutes on a journey is a small price to pay for investment.

Whinnieknowe Pool erosion

This picture in from Murray who is concerned about erosion at the Whinnieknowe Pool.

A Gurnite's thoughts on levels of road traffic and development

The following received recently:

'If I recall correctly the conditions for getting plans passed includes a requirement that the roads in the area must not suffer a net degradation.

Install nuisances in the roads, e.g. traffic calming measures to "protect" pedestrians which will make the road practically unusable at peak times. Then when it comes time to initiate measuring techniques they may reach up to the pathetic level thus when after the development is completed they can successfully be measured to be no worse, allowing the developer to move onto their stage 2.
Educate the road users early to avoid the area (by the same method) and the road users will find alternative ways to travel to avoid any bottlenecks. This, of course, does not solve any apparent problems (e.g. vehicle traffic endangering pedestrians) but simply shifts them to a less politically sensitive area and can indeed make things worse as drivers go faster to make up "lost" time. Again when it comes time to measure the results they would be much more positive from the Developers perspective.
This way no real engineering is done, no real improvements are completed, no real net gain but all the correct boxes get ticked. Day to Day inconveniences to the Public can be explained away and even built upon as Safety Measures and any objectors are thus marginalised.

Of course I am not implying that our glorious leaders would ever stoop to such measures.

A Resident of The Royal Burgh of Nairn - Nairnshire.'

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Last night's show

Thanks to Jingle Bangles for this image.

Just a little too narrow now?

For many years the night-time economy of the High Street has been just as busy, if not more so, as that of the 9-5 scene. Traditionally those seeking meals from many of the take-away establishments have parked on both sides of the road with little or no problem. The customers get their food, the owners of the premises their profit and quite a few others some employment.
As the Streetscape progresses however it appears that many drivers are having to park half on the pavement and half on the road to safely allow traffic past. The best laid plans of mice and planners?
Will those problems we've seen on the brae just be repeated further up the street? For the sake of a couple of feet and inches here and there couldn't things just have been allowed to carry on as normal?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Nairn town centre issues being driven by Inverness?

Duthie Hay was at Wednesday's meetings too, here's what he said:

'I would suggest this is being driven by finance. Somebody in Inverness is being putting pressure on this piece of land to provide some income. This is why we’re getting what I think is a fairly rushed affair short timescales this is a thing it’s not just one generation it’s generations to come that this is going to be here for. Flats is, I don’t know, it’s the quick answer but it’s the wrong one.'

More parking needed - Phillip Konzack

More from Wednesday night and the thoughts of town centre resident Phillip Konzack:
'First, yes, the idea of doing something is, we need to do something and soon, but I think putting building onto there is not the idea. What we need is more car parking space, you say that we want access to the town centre and we have limited car parking space for tourists coming in, residents, people who want to shop in Nairn. That is limited to no car parking space most of the time.'
Phillip is certainly right, parking is quite an issue in Nairn and at times it is almost impossible to find a space in the town Centre, he continued:
'Having more car parking space would open up maybe more retail, more people going to our shops. Certainly we’ve not been fighting trying to get car parking space especially for residents in the area who find it difficult to park their cars especially at busy peak times of the day. You could do, building car parks is actually a cheaper option than building, you could also have landscaping at the edge of the road with trees, bushes making it nice and attractive at the side of the road, that way you could try and alleviate the sort of backside of the town centre. '

Liz on the Councils 800k town centre debt

Here's Liz's thoughts from Wednesday night's Town Centre session at the Courthouse:

'Can I just make a point Laurie? At the resources paper yesterday the Council are paying £36,700 per annum as the cost of borrowing our £800,000 I think what the Council should be doing now, when you look at Nairn town centre there’s not £800,000 or anywhere like it in the size of the development that is being put forward and I think they should take a corporate view on that £800,000 and sort of disconnect the two things from Nairn and just consider what is best for the town of Nairn so I think you have to take a corporate decision on that one now because it’s obvious that it’s not going to come out of the land that’s available for marketing just now but there’s still going to be a massive shortfall so I think that we really need the best option for Nairn and to disconnect that, take a corporate view on it Sandy.'

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Have the Co-op burnt their bridges in Nairn?

This observer may be wrong but I thought that Sandy was scaring the officials a bit when he said that more time was needed and more folk had to get involved in a series of meetings. It was to have all been done and dusted in November. That is to say consultation in Nairn and the decisions made in Inverness. Now it looks as though it will stretch into 2011. Could Sandy be on the verge of joining the Nairn Liberation Front?

You can actually avail yourself of a map from the Council that you can fill in with your own design and preferences. In a way we are back to where we were around 15 years ago (if my memory is not deceiving me on that) with a call for ideas for a new town centre. Sandy mentioned himself the old plan to demolish the building that is now the Library and make that the area the centre of a new, improved Nairn experience. Somewhere along the line that morphed into what became an increasingly desperate set of negotiations with a rotating list of company names as our so called ‘supermarket’ changed hands at a dizzy pace. So here we go again, the only difference this time is that there’s no money any more. Hopefully something will come out of it all but even if the Highland Council manages to achieve something with its property holdings, and by that we mean something acceptable to the community, what will the cuckoo in the nest, the Co-op, do? This was a question that Liz put to Tim Stott (the HC’s duty Powerpoint wallah – and we must say what an exception this man was, he used the Powerpoint as a basis for his talk – he didn’t just read from it like so many of these officials visiting Nairn do – well done that man!)

Anyway here’s what Liz asked:
“I guess I’d like to ask Tim has there been any Co-op’s feedback on the plan, what’s the Co-op’s opinion of it and is there any opportunity that they will want to work together with the Council in the future which I think as members we’ve all said well, they’ve burned their bridges, but I think they’d be interested but has the Co-op given any information of what they plan to do with their acquisition of the site?”

Tim Stott replied: “Yeah, we had a meeting with the Co-op a few weeks ago their Planning division are now in Manchester and we met with Acquisitions Manager and the Assets Manager who didn’t seem to know a lot of detail about the site itself if I’m honest, and they didn’t offer any point of view on the future use of the buildings what we, we obviously left them an early copy of the development options, of both options one and two, we made it clear to them the impact if the Council proceeded with the development as we’re showing on our options it has an impact on the net loss of the parking bays they have for their clients so hopefully they’ve got a brain in their heads and realise that it’s going to have a direct impact on the trade that they can have and I think that should be sufficient to prompt them into action so I would hope that before the end of the consultation, they still believe that the consultation period ends on the 26th October, so I hoping by that date we will have formal written confirmation from their planning division in Manchester as to what they think of the development brief, it might be a sort of planners view rather than a landowner’s view, I think there’ll be their planner will be talking to their asset manager in Glasgow and deciding what they want to do with the site but it makes no sense for them to have surplus buildings it isn’t an asset for them to so they I would hope that our action, our development brief, plus the fact that they have an asset doing nothing for them would be sufficient to prompt them into action, but yeah, I would hope that we would get a formal response from them to the development brief, I think if I don’t get one I should maybe give them a call and ask them for one and so when it goes back to committee at least we have a formal record as to what the Co-op’s attitude is.”

That’s it then Gurnites, the Co-op would be a major player in any clean-up/ development but are they even capable of responding to the Community? All they’ve really done for us in recent times is invest a lot of money in lawyers and other experts in a failed attempt to stop us getting a decent supermarket. Perhaps once we get a Sainsbury’s we can give the Co-op a caring, sharing wake-up call and boycott them until they do something with their part of Nairn’s Desolation Row?

MSP urges Highland Council to keep Nairn Museum open

"Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has urged Highland Council to provide enough money to keep Nairn Museum open.
He has written to the local authority’s Chief Executive Alistair Dodds asking him to ensure the council maintains its £14,000 a year service level agreement with the museum’s trustees.
The council owns Viewfield House, the museum’s home, and leases it rent free to the museum’s trustees, for which they are extremely grateful.
However the museum would find itself in serious difficulty if the council adopts a suggestion in a consultation document to reduce funding by 66.66%, to less than £5,000. "

Superfast Broadband for the Highlands?

The P&J seems to have good news:
'A SUPERFAST broadband network will be created in the Highlands as part of a project which could cost up to £35million.' More here.
Perhaps a vote for 'Infinity' is a wasted vote after all if we are going to get upgraded anyway?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

'This is the heart of Nairn, it needs surgery it doesn’t need a bloody band-aid.'

Brian Stewart at last night's Ward Forum meeting speaking against the flats and more flats options for the town centre:
'Thank you Chairman, I’ve very conscious of the fact that the Nairnshire Telegraph says this week that there really ought not to be negative comments from people who are retired in the town I’m going to try really hard to be positive. They asked for comment from people that live and work in Nairn and I live and work in Nairn and I want to start by saying that if the planners are taking the Maggot as the inspiration for the development of the centre of the town then I think we’re doomed. I want to see Nairn have a vibrant effective, attractive town centre and with all due respect Mr Stott I don’t think what you outlined delivers that but let’s try and be positive, your plan talks about regeneration, your plan talks about revitalising the town centre and then it offers blocks of housing. Now with all due respect that is not good enough. I think Nairn deserves better than that, we do need a bit more imagination than just housing. We need something which actually, this is the heart of Nairn, this is the heart of Nairn, it needs surgery it doesn’t need a bloody band-aid. I’m sorry, what you are proposing here is simply misconceived and it’s wrong and more to the point I would agree with Sandy who said right at the start, ‘This is really, really important.’ This is more important than Sandown or Sainsbury’s because it is right in the middle of the town. This is more important than Corsee or Lodgehill because it affects everybody, not just the neighbours, and it’s a hell of a lot more important than the by-pass or South Nairn because they’re 20 years away. This is right here and right now and the important point is that the Highland Council is prosecution, judge and jury on this one. They own the site, it’s our land! It’s the town’s land they are the people who make the decision. That’s why it’s crucially important to get it right and so what I want to suggest is that we want to be more imaginative. We want lots of ideas. I don’t think that a single building line, a ‘Berlin Wall’ of housing down the A96 is actually going to enhance access to the High Street. I don’t think the views of the backside of the High Street shops is improved by building an archway like the one at the entrance at Royal Walk. I don’t think residents or visitors or tourists will flock to see flats parking and toilets.
I think we need more than that and I think we need something different to that. I have some ideas and I’m not going to take up the meetings time with them now but I do want to mention something about timing, I think the planners are right there is a timing issue here, I think Sandy and Liz have both made the point that we might need more than they’re giving us. We’re all pretty impatient, you know we’ve been hanging about for 10 years and this has been an eyesore, sure. We know the Council is desperate for money, but neither of these things are justification for the wrong plan and for a bad plan. If we make the wrong choice, if we allow the rules to be framed in such a way that it delivers a bunch of housing blocks then we’re stuck. I don’t think we need to give up an ugly, derelict old site for an ugly new site of housing blocks. We can do it quick or we can do it right. I’d like to see us get it right, I’d certainly like to see it better and I certainly don’t think what’s on the table now, either of those options are acceptable. I think Nairn deserves better than that. Thank you.'
Brian's words were very well received by those present in the Courthouse.

Plans for 'Berlin Wall' of flats along King Street kicked into touch (for now)

It didn't take long for Sandy Park to hoist the white flag as the opposition to the flats & more flats options for Nairn town centre began to articulate their views in the Courthouse tonight.
'A case of having to go with the flow or swing from the lamppost,' said one Community Councillor afterwards.
More from this evening's events later.

Another Nairn but spooky parallels?

Another political Laurie(r), dereliction, tourism and a by-pass one day.

Provost Laurie Fraser's wee faux pas now on Youtube

Gurnites will remember that the video of a recent planning meeting in Inverness was withdrawn from the net in a rather Orwellian fashion by the high head yins in Glenurquhart road. This video contained comments that some found objectionable, even racist. Now the part of the video concerned has made its way to Youtube.
Here at the Gurn and knowing Laurie, we subscribe to the the theory that these are simply bizarre comments but of course highly inappropriate and damaging to Nairn given the circumstances. More proof of why Liz should still be Provost. It is a pity the video was pulled because we would liked to have seen the full debate on the Social Club proposals

What a shame the three loons got rid of her. They could have simply left her as Provost and let Laurie chair the highly paid individuals reading out aloud from Powerpoint sessions, sorry Ward Forums.