Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Objections to South Nairn stacking up

The South Nairn planning application has received almost 50 public comments now and this observer can report that after browsing through a lot of them there seems to be fierce opposition to the plan for 319 units (232 houses and 87 flats). Leading the fight against the proposals are many of the residents of Firhall Village. Objectors complain that the B9091 Balblair Road and the B9090 Cawdor Road are not suitable for more traffic and elaborate about the deficiencies of the Railway bridge area for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on the Cawdor Road. The loss of agricultural land and the danger to wildlife are other factors. Others ask where the jobs would come from to provide employment to the proposed residents of Nairn South. The proximity to Gordons sawmill is also mentioned.

There is one objector calling for the development to be sited in another part of town where access is not a problem. (given Nairn’s traffic problems this observer wonders just where that could be?). Mention is made of a ‘plethora of houses for sale’ in the area – there certainly seems to be quite a few and the prices of rentals seem to be falling too (in this untrained observer’s opinion).

The density of the proposed development is compared with that of Firhall, which some no doubt feel should be a bench mark for all new development on this side of town. And then there is the potential disturbance to residents of Firhall which one objector describes:

“We moved to Firhall Village for peace and quiet, which we have at the moment, but if this development goes ahead it will ruin our life completely.’ This is expanded upon further into the objection:

“At present our little community is well kept, no noise, litter of dog feces (sic) to be seen anywhere. If this project is built we will suffer the consequences of lots of families walking through our area to get to the river, leaving the litter, creating noise, and in general ruining the reason we live in Firhall Village.”

Some, perhaps, might feel annoyed by such a sense of desired isolation but that’s what they paid for and that’s what they want to keep at Firhall. It is understandable that they want to fight their corner to preserve that.

One wonders, however, in the long-term, if Firhall is just simply too close to the town. One day Nairn will grow and that field opposite Firhall may well be built on but in the meantime the reasons cited in these objections will give our councillors much food for thought and more objections may be received yet as the application has been readvertised in this week’s Nairnshire.

This observer has looked through most of the comments received and hasn’t found one submission in favour of the scheme yet. There is a comprehensive call for rejection from River Community Council, West is waiting for a copy of River’s submission before drawing up their own and this observer imagines they will side with River. Odd man out may well be Suburban this time round who will not be submitting an objection but just ‘observations’. From their meeting last week it seems that they are not opposed to the scheme.

Any Gurnites wishing to read the comments received for the application can do so here. Click on the documents tab and scroll down to see the objections. If anyone feels that they too would like to object or even support this plan then they can do so on that same page by clicking on the ‘make a comment’ tab. Anyone who lives in Nairnshire can make a comment - do you agree with the protestors or not? Why not have your say too?


Hire a hubby said...

It's with amazing optimism that anyone can submit such an application in the current climate

Perhaps they know that the green shoots of economic recovery are just around the corner, or is it due to the fact that that they know their application is going to be a long and drawn out battle to get approval?

Brian Turner said...

The application has been in the planning for a few years now, and by all accounts, they've taken serious care to ensure that they look to plan a development in every detail that people would genuinely enjoy living in.

Of course, there are likely to be real issues to address further, such as the impact on Gordons and traffic planning that may need revision to make it acceptable.

However, much as I try to sympathise with Firhall Village residents, I can't easily sympathise with one small group trying to hold expansion of the town hostage, on the grounds that they don't want common families living anywhere near them!

Graisg said...

I have to admit Brian that there was a lot more peace and quiet up at Firhall before 90 homes were built there :-)

1.2.3.testing... said...

Stupid question, but why are we trying to expand a town that has over 200 properties for sale?

Where is the infrastructure to support such such a development?

Spurtle said...

I would the the first to accept objections for development at Nairn South, based on the present state of the Cawdor Road, particularly under the rail bridge & I would also not be too keen to buy a house without earshot of Gordons.

They are , after all, a success story and one of the few 'major' employers in the town . I know a buffer zone is built in to this development but there should be consideration given to the the saw mill's future needs - the danger being of course that folks by the houses in the full knowledge that the saw mill is there, then start griping about the noise - a bit like those that buy a place in the country, then moan about cocks crowing and church bells ringing.

The planning workshops held by Scotia et al did make every effort to take account of the views of interested parties - I found them a breath of fresh air as far as planning applications go , I'm not sure how much notice some of the most outspoken objectors took of the process though.

Reading through the objections, the biggest elephant in the room ( though one or two do at least pat the said elephant) seems to be the concern that all the folks from the proposed development are going to trudge en-masse , down the river , via Firhall roads, which are of course adopted , and therefore freely available for trudging on.

Overall though, trying to take the grand view, I can't help but be drawn to the conclusion that there should not be any further development south of the rail bridge on Cawdor Road, until major investment is made in a new rail bridge/ distributor road.

Bearing in mind that the bypass will not be accessible from Howford, you would have to go to the Foynesfield/Grantown Road to get onto it & , even when built, I suspect that over half the traffic leaving Nairn South would still come into the town , making Waverley Road & Cawdor Road even worse than they are. Now there's a thought.

Of course the Highland Council planning officer has already said that the existing road system can cope with up to 250 houses at Nairn South, so what do I know?

Perhaps he sought advice from Transport Scotland, they do seem to know their stuff, unfortunately for Nairn, their stuff doesn't seem to involve any great knowledge of roads.

Graisg said...

"Of course the Highland Council planning officer has already said that the existing road system can cope with up to 250 houses at Nairn South, so what do I know?"
He actually said 250 if it fitted in with traffic modules.
So three cherries come up on the computer program and permission for 250 houses?

Spurtle said...

I think the exact phrase used was something along the lines of mitigating measures being taken to ensure ' no net detrimental impact' on the free flow of traffic.

I, for one, would like to see exactly how that could be guaranteed. I'd wager it would involves a set of traffic lights at Waverly Road/Manse Road/A96 & a series of sanctuaries, carved out of the wall at the side of the station brae, to allow pedestrians to leap to safety , should the need arise :)

Brian Turner said...

I thought transport changes were listed as part of the south Nairn development, not least an additional road crossing for vehicles?

Or were these aspirational recommendations outside the remit of immediate development criteria?