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?

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