Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A NICE masterplan for Nairn Town Centre

The Gurn has obtained a copy of the NICE masterplan, we understand that more comments and postive feedback were received at Monday Night's meeting and thus another update to the masterplan may follow. Picture will enlarge. A version is also available in googledoc format here and for a high quality PDF pop over to the NICE site.
Also view various sizes on the Gurn Flickr pages.

More from the meeting on Monday night soon


Nairnac said...

Not related to the NICE thing. Just noticed though, that Nairn doesn't seem terribly interested in the fastrack to superfast broadband thing being organised by BT....only 3% have voted for it !

I seem to remember the link being posted on The Gurn a while back. Looks like it's too late to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

looks good welldone

Brian @ said...

I don't understand this "masterplan". The big furore was over the use - or lack of - of the Co-op owned buildings.

However, in this masterplan these buildings, rather than designated for any particular use, are marked as "refurbished retail/business/residential".

It comes across as "we're really not sure what to do with these, and residential options are still on the table", even though I thought this was a core part of the objection with these buildings being in Nairn's Central Business District.

In fact, instead of addressing the key issue of their issue, the masterplan instead seems to have focused on replacing the bus station and parking there, removing the chip shop/pizza place, and instead build some vague large "civic building" - built with god knws what money for what purpose - with a few trees around it.

Unless I've completely misunderstood this masterplan, then what appears to have happened is that instead of considering practical options for the derilect buildings in question, instead a group of people have dreamed up the creation of an entirely new building in a completely new location, and thus completely lost focus of the original objective in the first place.

The only progress appears to be the removal of the petrol station, which seems a given anyway, but aside from that, it's easy to get the feeling the NICE project has become confused as to what existing priorities are.

Simply feedback, and am happy to be corrected and have the matter explained.

Graisg said...

Hi Brian,
I remember that it was stressed at the meeting that nothing was in tablets of stone, especially the bus station area - ideas were still coming in - that was more of an exercise to jolt members of the public/land owners/developers into putting their thinking caps on for the other side of the road. That's how I came away from the meeting, perhaps I'll have to go back and listen to that part lol.
Should have come up Brian it was a very good gig.

Iain said...

Brian. Good to get your take on things - but yes, you may have missed the point. There is a limit to what can be done by way of detail in just 6 weeks. The objective at this stage is to ask if flats will benefit the town centre. Will they stimulate business; will they bring jobs; will they do anyting to improve the attractiveness and appeal of Nairn? NICE seem to be saying that there are better answers - here is the space, let's see what it could look like. How buildings are used is the next debate - and as one who has always complained about the lack of business space - you could be part of that debate. Anyone who wants to reshape the town centre for the good of the next generation has a duty to be involved. Do nothing and you'll get more flats!

Brian @ said...

That's what have difficulty understanding - I was under the impression that a key motivation for forming NICE was to especially tackle the council's poor planning for the derelict buildings owned by Co-op.

However, this issue in itself appears completely passed over by the masterplan.

And instead there is a grand plan for a civic building over an existing business and parking spaces.

I appreciate we're dealing with hard working volunteers with a genuine interest in the town and that is of course to be lauded.

I am simply left confused as to why the immediate issues of unused buildings appears to be overlooked, and why the focus on creating a new building over existing used land has come up.

Re: flats - how can flats bring jobs if there is little available commercial space to set up new businesses?

Also, hasn't the HC already stated there are fundamental structural problems with the old community centre, hence why it was put forward for demolition?

Anonymous said...

Perhap's part of the problems with the area which Brian refers to is that it's owned by private developers (who have not developed it)? I don't know if Brian was at the NICE meeting on Monday but he would have heard an explanation on how the NICE plan came about. Maybe he, or maybe he already has, could send NICE some of his Ideas?

Anonymous said...

Where's this Central Business District that Brian's talking about?

Anonymous said...

'That's what have difficulty understanding - I was under the impression that a key motivation for forming NICE was to especially tackle the council's poor planning for the derelict buildings owned by Co-op.

However, this issue in itself appears completely passed over by the masterplan.'

??? Regal goes, petrol station goes, Old Community Centre goes.

Brian @ said...

"??? Regal goes, petrol station goes, Old Community Centre goes."

Into what, though? That was my question - there's a clear vision for a civic building across the road where there's no immediate need for planning, but there seems no vision for what the derelict buildings may become.

That appears somewhat strange and confusing, but I simply wanted to raise the observation, rather than sound like I'm trying to broadside NICE, when I appreciate there are good people with good ideas within the group.

Graisg said...

Here's some more from my notes of the meeting:
The NICE ideas group said:
"We make no apologies for the fact that we are still looking for ideas, we've been working fairly hard but we're still looking for more ideas."

Why not outline what would be your dream office Brian, something that would entice you to move your business to the town centre? It's the Council that have forced this rush onto NICE. I'm speaking for myself here by the way and not for anyone else, but that Council have got a cheek to ask the Community to get a move on - they've had 15 years to do something and all they've come up with is nearly £3,000,000 worth of debt to the Common Good Fund so far. (rant over)
Back to the buildings, again from my observations of the meeting the titles on the proposed blocks are all still 'aspirational'. Take the block proposed over what is currently the library car-park. If anything gets built there the land-owner will have to be on board. A land-owner that allows the Council to rent the library and owns the car-park but allows us all to use it on a grace and favour basis. Obviously a carrot of a tasteful development of some sort might get that owner on board.
Just a few thoughts. Try the next NICE meeting Brian - still time to get on board.

Brian @ said...

No probs, Graisg - am sure the NICE members are working out a consensus solution, and I'll make more effort to attend the next NICE meeting, especially as workload is winding down for Christmas now. :)

Highland Terrier said...

As a keen participant in the process to forge a set of well considered and well supported town centre proposals, I have two observations :

Firstly , it would seem that while criticisms have been made of the council's performance on the town centre situation to date , it has been refreshing to see that the proposal from NICE, and those from the council, share many similarities.

Given that the council will have to be on board for any scheme to progress, it shows that the 'two camps' , as portrayed by some, are not as far apart as some people assume.

Surely the ideal scenario is one where the council development plan goes forward for adoption having embraced the best aspect of both plans.

My second point relates to Brian's observations. I do not know Brian but it is obvious he has not attended any of the NICE meetings to date , even though they are open to all.

He also makes the comment that there are good people involved in NICE, though, on balance, the overall sentiment expressed in his statements leave one to consider that a rather disingenuous compliment.

I'm sure the members of NICE ( including architects, town planners etc.....) have broad shoulders though, and won't take offence at a few online comments - and that really is the crux of the matter. No matter how much debate or disagreement rages online and no matter how much trolling takes place, it changes nothing. The Gurn is a great and popular blog but we still live in an age where getting yourself to meetings and playing a part is the only way to actually turn masterplans into reality.

Graisg said...

"Given that the council will have to be on board for any scheme to progress, it shows that the 'two camps' , as portrayed by some, are not as far apart as some people assume."

Yes, at the design worshop they did seem willing to go some considerable distance from their initial Plan B options 1 & 2.

I was there too said...

The plans reflect the submissions so far - it's as simple as that.