Friday, March 11, 2011

Joan Noble's submission to the Development plan

There are a lot of folk in Nairn that feel we are being forced into a situation where Nairn will be allowed to grow too big and too soon with profound consequences for the Community. Now that the Highland Council has listed all the responses to the their Highland Wide Development Plan it will presumably go forward to the Scottish Government for determination and thus a public inquiry. Scroll down two articles to see links to the material concerning Nairn.

To this observer Joan Noble captures the feeling of many in the town in her submission to the plan. Below are three extracts from her paper covering important points that many Nairnites will find common currency with, you'll have to click on them to enlarge to read the text clearly. Her entire submission can be seen here.


Anonymous said...

Joan Noble is spot on with her comments. I was in Forres high street yesterday and it was deserted, as were the shops I went into - this is before the demise of RAF Kinloss so goodness knows what like it will be when this happens. Many RAF servicemen stay in Nairn and more houses will be on the market. To build hundreds more houses in Nairn is total madness. The same houses have been for sale in Nairn for months or even years. The sad demise of John Jack shows you that the building trade is in ruins.

nairnbairn said...

Joan Noble's analysis is accurate, measured, clear and backed up by compelling evidence. Many points within it are echoed by other submissions, such as that of the NRCG.

The demolition job Joan and many others have done on the population growth figures is crucial, because those projections underpin the whole plan. The Council postulates unrealistically high aspirational figures for growth and migration which are then used to justify the Council's assessment of housing need and demand. This, combined with the self-interested pressure from developers, in turn leads to the plan's ambitious allocation of more land for building - not least in Nairn and the Inner Moray Firth.

We can all be impressed by the comments and analysis. The acid test is to look at the Council's reply. On Issue 86, "Population", the Council fails to answer any of the specific criticisms made in public comments, but simply reiterates the line that "...national policy is to allocate lots more land for housing", claims a need to provide more houses to meet a "backlog", and aims to build 25% more houses than the forecasts require, "in order to provide choice". The Council goes on to express the hope that mortgage loans will in future become easier and more plentiful. (The lessons of Ireland have clearly not been learned in Scotland).

So,in response to all the expert, considered and well-informed public comment and carefully-argued challenges to the population projections, what changes does the Council intend to make to their draft plan to reflect changed circumstances and current realities?

At the bottom of the Issue 86 (Population) document is the Council's one-word answer: "None".

A more cynical observer might describe that as the precise verbal equivalent of a well-known, but non-Churchillian, two-fingered gesture.