The NICE folk are very much looking beyond the town centre now and branching out to look at many other aspects of development and infrastructure in Nairn. In their own words (lifted this very minute from their website).
"Although people had joined NICE as individuals, some people warned that unless it reflected the full range of local opinion, there was a risk that the group would become no more than a “talking shop for busybodies”. For NICE to comment effectively and credibly on all the wider planning issues affecting Nairn, it needed to engage with other local interest-groups, including farmers, local businesses, environmental groups, the tourism sector and others."
Bearing that all in mind they have set up the following working groups with named co-ordinaters:
- Housing: Matthew Hilton/Vivien Munro
- Industry/Employment/Enterprise: Graham Vine
- Retail and Tourism: John Oliver
- Recreation/ amenity/green spaces: Iain Bruce
- Transport and other infrastructure: Shane Rodgers/Brian Stewart
The Gurn also notes that three representatives (Shane Rodgers, Graham Vine and Brian Stewart) will attend the forthcoming meeting with Highland Council and Transport Scotland officials about A96 issues.
Now I suppose one would have to have been there to have the full background to that meeting but one hopes that Highland Council and Transport Scotland will extend the same courtesy to the three Community Councils (elected or unelected be their members). Perhaps they already have and apologies from the Gurn if this is so.
It seems that NICE with its three (four?) directors is moving into territory that could best be pursued by a democratically elected Burgh of Nairn Community Council (that is to say a single one instead of three) with working groups of citizens with or without expert knowledge, but in the absence of such a body then I suppose the efforts of a "Company Limited by Guarantee" will have to do. Not an ideal situation but hey, c'est la vie.
Or perhaps to put it another way, Highland Council could simply have a Nairn Community Council on its hands or, again in the Nicest way possible, a Revolutionary Citizens' Forum. It remains to be seen if NICE is a suitable vehicle for taking us forward but dissent will out in one way or another.