Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The bride and groom earlier today. Michael Bisset lives in John street and works for the town. The bride Gillian George is from Grantown .
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.
Friday, October 29, 2010
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
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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?’
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Provost Laurie Fraser, also in attendance, said emphatically, ‘No it’s Sainsbury’s not Highland Council.’
Monday, October 25, 2010
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?
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.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
‘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.’
‘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.
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
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.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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.
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.
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?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
‘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.
Monday, October 18, 2010
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.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
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
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
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
Speculation tonight on NairnMatters.com:
'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.
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 '
'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
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
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
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.
Monday, October 11, 2010
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.'
Sunday, October 10, 2010
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.
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.
JLR - IHHC
A Resident of The Royal Burgh of Nairn - Nairnshire.'
Saturday, October 09, 2010
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
Thursday, October 07, 2010
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?
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. "
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
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.'
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Special Ward Forum on Nairn Town Centre Consultation to be held on Wednesday 6 October at 7.00 pm in the Chamber, The Court House, Nairn.
This will be your chance to try and stop the flats or more flats Plan B options for the town centre should you feel so inclined.
Tuesday October 12th:
Joint Community Council meeting on the Development Brief for the town centre - a chance to join the resistance if the Highland Council doesn't get the message on the 6th?
Suburban, West & River meeting together - Why don't they do that all the time? We could then call it 'The Town Council of the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Nairn.'
The joint meeting will commence at around 7.45 p.m. in the Laing Hall, before that there will be some River CC business starting at 7.00 p.m.
If Highland Council could manage a month without agency workers then there would probably be enough money to keep Nairn Swimming Pool open
'A COUNCIL faced with making £42million worth of cuts is spending almost £400,000 a month on agency workers, according to new figures.
Highland Council is also imposing a recruitment freeze, but yesterday it emerged it spent almost £3million on agency staff in the last financial year, around £250,000 a month.'
An item on the Resources Committee meeting agenda today through in Inverness:
19. Financial consequences resulting from the Co-operative Group
Ltd/Somerfield decision to refurbish but not expand their store in King Street, Nairn
There is circulated Report No. RES-140-10 dated 20 September, 2010 by the Corporate Manager (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) which outlines the financial consequences to the Council resulting from the Co-op/Somerfield’s decision not to expand their store in King Street, Nairn. In particular the report highlights the loss of the £800,000 capital receipt which had been due to be received by the Council from the Co-op/Somerfield.
The Committee is asked to note the financial consequences to the Council resulting from the Co-op/Somerfield decision on 3 September 2010 to withdraw from the Missives.
Monday, October 04, 2010
BT is investing in the future of our internet by rolling out next-generation fibre optic broadband. Join The Race to Infinity today and your area could be next to enjoy superfast speeds."
Thanks to Andrew King for alerting Gurnshire to this one. Just head for that page and put in your postcode.