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.

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