Perhaps it is slightly ironic that the Community Council that represents the most affluent area of Nairn should so often be the one that speaks up for the rights of less well-off Nairnites but so it was again on Wednesday night when the subject of affordable housing in Nairn appeared on the agenda. Graham Vine started the debate:
“I’ve had great difficulty trying to get consistent stories out of Highland Council. One of the questions that we were asking is whether people in Nairn get priority and I got a sort of Civil Service answer. Yes people with a local connection, if you have got a lad with a new wife in the back bedroom of his mum & dad’s house with a baby they get priority but their priority is 30 points and somebody that has landed in Inverness and is homeless has a priority of 70 points. So somebody with no connection to Nairn has a much greater priority than a family in Nairn that is overcrowded in one back bedroom.” Graham thought it was a bit of a con and added, “Yes you do get priority but you are 8th in line not 1st in line.” He summed it up, “When affordable housing becomes available it’s not going to be for Nairn folk, it’s going to be for homeless people from all over the Highlands or even the Central Belt.”
Brian Stewart commented:”If this is something where each Regional Council has any sort of discretion as to the weighting they give to the various different factors then one obvious things for us to argue is that the formula, or allocation of points, the weighting given, should be more significantly influenced by the local resident element, in other words we could presumably argue for a shift in the formula.”
Graham Vine said a little later: “If you force out the younger generation because they can’t get a house then who’s going to look after the mum and dad when they are 80, if the kids who might have been fifty and living in Nairn somewhere else because they couldn’t find anywhere else in Nairn to live?”
Tommy Hogg, (River CC observer at the meeting) stated: “But it’s always been the way, it’s been doctored so much now it’s just commonplace and people just accept it and the Council are getting away with murder.”
“Well let’s do something about it!” Exclaimed the Chair, Rosemary Young. The West CC then decided to take the item forward to the joint meeting of CCs on the 11th of July and to simultaneously further research the subject with a view to vigorously lobbying for changes in the policy.
Well done the West folk, it is monstrously unfair that local people are effectively well down the queue for affordable housing in Nairn. Not so long ago we had a housing manager in Nairn and the Nairn District Council decided who got a house – it was all done within the boundaries of Nairnshire. It is worth reflecting just how much influence we have lost over our own affairs under the rule of Highland Council. Yes, well done indeed the West folk and here’s wishing them all the best in getting further backing from the other community councils at the joint CC meeting. “Let’s do something about it!” said Rosemary Young – yes let’s do something about that and the other issues facing Nairn and Nairnshire in general. Freedom for Nairnshire! – End Inverness rule!