Friday, March 11, 2011

Sainsbury's road works starting Monday

According to the Inverness Courier this morning, work on both the roundabout and the traffic lights will begin next week.


Spurtle said...

It's certainly going to be an interesting time for the town.

On one hand we are getting a supermarket that in theory should reduce the amount of folks leaving the town to do their messages, while, on the other , we are getting four sets of traffic lights, a roundabout and a pedestrian crossing that'll do he-haw for anyone wanting to just use the A96 to get through Nairn.

While it could be argued that the additional congestion that will inevitably ensue may well focus the Scottish Ministers' minds on the timescale for the bypass, it may be at the expense of significant increases in traffic volume using the unofficial Cawdor/Foynesfield/Auldearn rat run. Collateral damage that will also need addressing by the authorities.

Let's just hope that the new store does not have any effect on the town centre. After all the developers, our Highland Councillors and one Community Council were convinced that it would it not. Here's hoping that Nairn is protected by some intangible force that protects it from the same sort of downturn seen in practically every other town in the UK that has had an out of town superstore built.

Still should have been in the town centre. Two birds, one stone.

We suffer from developers showing an utter lack of imagination for anything other than building out of town, and a planning system governed by policies and guidelines that both local and national government choose to treat as elastic, when it suits, to keep the developers happy.

After all, who these days would dare to contradict the might of the supermarkets?

The one thing Alec Salmond has said recently that I would agree with was 'Supermarkets have become the political barons of our age'. We still may be fighting the individual battles but I fear the war is lost.

I use local shops whenever I can. Not just because I get good value and personal service but, a little bit like steam engines and my Granny, I know I'm going to get very nostalgic about them when they're gone.

eternal optimist said...

In my opinion the arrival of Sainsburys heralds the end of the Tesco monopoly of the Highlands. there is no there Sainsburys between here and Aberdeen so I can see this store as almost a Tourist Attraction in is own right. People travel from all over to use a Tesco store in a bland retail park, maybe those same people may just say lets go the extra 15 miles and try Sainsburys. We flock to Elgin for the joy of an ASDA.

Whilst these hypothetical retail tourists mob our town perhaps they may choose to have a stroll on the beach or lunch in a local establishment......perhaps even a quick stroll up the High st.
I agree it would have been preferable to have a town centre store but now Nairn has to rise to the challenge and start improving the “experience “ it offers to shoppers. Service is often inattentive, disinterested and sometimes rude. Many of the stores are cluttered and shabby, proprietors seem to think it is the taxpayers responsibility to cough up for a lick of paint

Graisg said...

This observer also subscribes to to the theory that Sainsbury's will bring people to Nairn - and that more locals will now shop in town to instead of hitting the road to Tesco Toon or Forres or Elgin.

Tiptoes Bargains said...

I cant wait for the price wars to begin between the Coop and Sainburys heres to a good bargain for us deserved Gurnites

ShopTillYouDrop said...

Spurtle makes some valid points. But he is blaming Sainsburys for problems that are not of their making.

The arrival of Sainsburys is good for Nairn. It offers shoppers an alternative both to the local Co-op monopoly and to making a trip to Forres or Inverness. The price and quality competition will push the Co-op to sharpen up their act. Sainsburys will attract to Nairn those many shoppers who resent Tesco's regional dominance - and such visitors may linger and explore Nairn's other shops and services (provided these local places offer good service and a warm welcome).

The other local works that the Highland Council has obliged Sainsburys to pay for as the price of getting planning consent do however threaten to be a disaster for the town. Four more sets of lights on the A96, and the prospect of more congestion and more rat-running, will make the present difficult situation worse and may deter the visitors and shoppers we all want to see.

But this isn't Sainsburys' fault. On these infrastructural changes, they simply have to be prepared to pay for what the Council and/or Transport Scotland proposes.

So Spurtle is right to warn of trouble ahead, but wrong to blame Sainsburys. Local anger should instead be directed at the foolish planning officials who don't seem capable of understanding, never mind solving, the problems of access, congestion and traffic-flow in Nairn, and also at the Ministers and Councillors who employ and direct these officials.

There's a moral to this story. It is not, "Be careful what you wish for." Rather it is that more vigorous and careful local scrutiny of the plans might have prevented some of this stupidity. The relevant Community Council had its chance....

Take Me Back said...

Maybe you should have listened to "Granny Barbour" Spurtle.You would be quicker going that way.A straight run through the woodie right to the front door.

Spurtle said...

I'm not blaming Sainsburys.

They are, after all, just doing what they do.

As you say, my criticism is more of the system & those charged with implementing it. Who seem very willing to pander to developers.

I'm still not sure why Transport Scotland insisted on so many traffic lights but I know for certain that a lot of people who supported the new store coming to the town ar e going to get a shock when thye see the work start on the road junctions.

As has been said 'be careful what you wish for' , or perhaps 'the Devil is in the detail'.

Anonymous said...

The traffic lights will indeed come as a bit of a surprise to those who haven't been paying much attention to the proceedings.

Anonymous said...

I have heard on the grapevine,that once all the roundabouts are complete
Zebedee & Dougal are coming to Visit
Nairn and do a grand tour of the town

Graisg said...

With the price of fuel still going up, will anyone be able to afford to drive up there once it's built?
Time to get the pushbikes out and head up via the riverside and Boath Park?

Anonymous said...

I for one am not excited by the prospect of the out of town Sainsburys in Nairn.
Since the revamp of the King Street Co-op I realise at what could have been had the Co-op decided not to be threatened by Sainsburys and built a large store at the King Street site.
I can only see that Sainsburys will bring more traffic congestion to Nairn as people flock to it for a bit or retail leisure. I doubt very much that it will bring more shoppers to our High Street, after all, how many of us head to Forres High Street after going to Lidl?
I like our High Street shops, and I’m more than happy to pay a little more for goods rather than the near £10 for petrol to get to cheaper prices in Inverness or Elgin.
I also appreciate that for the most part our High Street shops are open rather than boarded up and would hate to think that the new out of town shopping mall will damage their trade.
It seems to me that some people have very short term solutions. Highland Council wanting to build flats in our town centre and some Nairnites wanting out of town shopping on their door step. Neither will benefit our town in the long term

Nairnac said...

I've obviously missed the bit about the traffic lights - can someone 'enlighten' me.

Spurtle said...

Nairnac said 'I've obviously missed the bit about the traffic lights - can someone 'enlighten' me.'

Well,in all the excitement & general hat throwing when Sainsburys got permission, I always suspected there may be some folks ( or more likely most folks) who didn't have a Scooby about the associated arrival of a raft of road engineering measures that came in the same box.

Even one of our beloved Councillors had it that these proposals were bunkum, until he was shown the report from Transport Scotland.

So , for the benefit of anyone who didn't read the small print, as a condition of being granted permission to build opposite Balmakeith Ind Est, Sainburys have to supply the good folks of Nairn with :

Traffic lights at:

Moss-side Road / A96 junction
Seabank Road / A96 junction
Albert Street / A96 junction
Grantown Road A939 / A96 junction
( & I'm fairly sure that each of these traffic lights has pedestrian controlled crossings integrated into at least some of the roadways)

Plus a new roundabout at Balmakeith Ind Est /A96 junction & a pedestrian controlled crossing on the A96 close by.

and apparently works starts Monday.

One of Sainburys tag lines was 'Try something new today' , perhaps following the Gurn's lead, walking or cycling may be the only resonable suggestion

Data Miner said...

Nairnac - you can be forgiven for not spotting the traffic lights story. The Council has hardly been trumpeting it from the rooftops. In fact it is buried deep in the inner recesses of the Council's e-Planning website.

Try this link

or Google "Highland Council e-Planning", and on the relevant page type in the reference 10/02995/MSC. Under the "Documents" tab there are 95 documents. Scroll down a couple of dozen. There is one submitted on 12 July 2010 titled "Traffic Signals Technical Note".

There you have it, complete with map.

Welcome to the world of the Highland Council's transparent planning processes and public consultation!

Graisg said...

Anyone that bothered to read the reporter's decision would have known what was coming too and it was mentioned in the Nairnshire. There may be a vauge idea abroad that Sainsbury's have to make some road improvements but the full extent may indeed as Spurtle suggests not exactly be common knowledge.

The Whitebridge, Cawdor Auldearn route may become even more popular.
The Sandown Lane rat run too.

Traffic lights or not, surely we must all welcome the pedestrian crossings, getting across the A96 on foot is not exactly a fun sport. With these lights cyclists might also get more of a chance. This observer ferquently cycles out to the allotments and turning right down Sandown Lane is often impossible, it is safer to get off and wait for a gap in the traffic and then walk across.

Magic Bus Pass said...

I suppose a Sainsburys Bus Driver
would be able to negotiate all these
roundabouts,no problem.Why bother with a car.?

nairnbairn said...

More on the subject of the extra traffic lights, now listed in Spurtle's comment above.

Have others noticed that while there are to be lights at the Tradespark, Seabank Road and Albert Street intersections, the planners in their infinite wisdom are not proposing lights either at Sandown Lane (the first significant junction at the entry to town, dangerous for cyclists and difficult for those turning to go to the allotments); nor at the A96/Manse Road/Waverley Road intersection (which is busy and significant as it is the designated turning to get to the hospital and Cawdor Road).

Ain't it just typical - putting lights where they are unnecessary, and failing to install them where they might serve some useful purpose.

Graisg said...

Wasn't there meant to be a roundabout and a pedestrian crossing at Sandown as part of the Deveron Homes plan?

Spurtle said...

Have they started yet?

Can't hear any windy picks.

Graisg said...

No idea, too busy to go up this morning. Today would just be the delivery of the tea hut and stuff like that wouldn't it?
Let's hope it's not another false dawn!

(sent from my Granny's Smiths)

Graisg said...

According to a regular gurnite there are now folk in situ, waiting for plant etc to arrive, the frame for the store itself will come via boat to Inverness it seems.

Anonymous said...

Is it not sad to think that plant machinery is to lie idle at Jacks Construction Yard in Balmakeith Industrial Estate due to the company's cash flow problems with job losses while just across the road excavation work is about to start on the Sainsburys new supermarket site.

Anonymous said...

The traffic lights... does this mean some of the already here traffic lights will go ??
That would be nine sets traffic lights if not,it will be interesting to see if we get a yellow box junction at the Manse Road crossroads and the road coming up from the maggot.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading somewhere that Sandown Farm lane was going to be access only and bicycles only.. no shortcuts there then..

Spurtle said...

While there may not be any sign of new traffic lights yet , the ceremonial turf turning ceremony is to be held for invited guests at the Balmakeith Site on Thursday 25th March. Followed by afternoon tea at the Newton.

Spurtle may well take up his invitation, as long as they serve Ashers cream slices & MaCleans dough rings.

Anonymous said...

I was passed by yesterday and saw nothing or nobody! Are they really starting?

Graisg said...

Spurtle seems to know more than the rest of us anon :-)