180 votes have now been received in the Gurn's (admittedly unscientific) poll and 93% of Gurnites would like to see a single town Council for Nairn instead of three seperate Community Councils. There is an ongoing review of Community Councils in the Highlands so here's a chance for Laurie, Sandy and Graham to be remembered for giving Nairn back a measure of democracy - a chance for the Administration Councillors to get some good karma - Give Nairn a Royal Burgh Community Council!
Here's why we need one if you are not already convinced:
Nairn is increasingly struggling to maintain its identity in the face of the growth and centralising influence of Inverness. ‘Invercentric’ attitudes are a major problem when it comes to fighting Nairn’s corner. One effective weapon for Nairn would be the creation of the ‘Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council.’ Nairn would then have a vehicle to effectively punch its weight in the world. Things will only become worse as the cuts bite, more power will disappear to Inverness unless the community mobilises.
Nairn with a population of nearly 9,000 is an anomaly within the Highland area in that it has three community councils. Just look at other towns in the Highlands and nearby that have a single community council to represent them:
Fort William with 9,908 has a single council
Wick (7,333) too
Thurso (7,737) as well
and Tain (3,500)
Elgin (20,829) also
Forres (8,967) our neighbour has a single council
Buckie (8,059) about the same size as well
Lossiemouth (6,803) (Lossie CC has been prominent in fighting to keep the RAF base open)
Keith (4,491) - Keith has a single voice but not Nairn
Nairn is a distinct cohesive community and there has been a democratic deficit since the demise of the former District Council. A Royal Burgh Community council would fill that void and give the town a strong voice again.
The three existing councils are not in a position to effectively put across the town’s views and thus they tend to focus on issues in their own individual areas. Take the Sandown issue, although in the Suburban area, the effect of 550 houses and the accompanying traffic would have an impact on the lives of everyone in Nairn. Wouldn’t it have been better if we could have coordinated a reaction to this planning application on a community-wide basis?
Things can go seriously wrong too when three councils are involved – take the recent debacle concerning bus services in the town were two councils had submitted conflicting proposals. A case of united we stand divided we fall?
The inner Moray Firth area is changing rapidly and we have to be on the ball if we are to make sure that any future development is on terms that the community wish and not on a basis that gives carte blanche to developers or Highland planners. Again it is safer to prepare our response on a collective basis as future large-scale planning applications are submitted.
The workload of community councils is increasing as the number of consultation documents from various agencies multiplies. Having observed Nairn Community Councils for some years and the former District Council as well this observer believes that some community councillors must now be as busy as the former District Councillors but without the administrative and secretarial support and resources and hardly any budget. This workload will increase, why duplicate it across three separate councils? This way the burden would be shared and there would less danger of any controversial projects slipping through the net without effective consultation with the community.