The Nairnshire’s front page screams “Roads Delayed?” and outlines concerns by David Stewart MSP and Sandy Park over delays in studies for the A96 dualling and the Nairn Bypass respectively. David Stewart had asked a question in a motion before the Holyrood Parliament. In addition to the Nairnshire report he also received coverage in the P&J last week and yesterday he also posted details of his activities on his website. Mr Stewart is performing the role of the opposition in Holyrood in asking why the dualling survey hasn’t gone further yet and in doing so is being rewarded with headlines. Sandy is in power at Glenurquhart Road but he might as well be in opposition to the government as well because one wonders how much influence the Indy-Lib regime will have with the SNP administration down the road.
Maybe we’ll see some action on a Nairn by-pass during the current term of this government and a by-pass would be far better for Nairn and movement on the A96 in general than dualling the road between Nairn and Inverness which would just speed up traffic between two bottlenecks. One does wonder if we’ll ever see a by-pass though or dualling of the A96 when you consider the millions that will have to be spent simply repairing roads. Just take a look around Nairn and see the holes that were patched up over the winter, some of them look as though they are just about to crumble away again without the help of any ice, snow or road salt. Government money set aside for road improvements may have to be diverted to local authorities for road repairs simply to keep the existing network open.
Even if the SNP were to fail to deliver anything in terms of a by-pass would Nairn voters be so inclined to transfer their allegiance to Dave Stewart and his Labour Party pals? After all you make your decision at the ballot box on a whole range of issues and would a by-pass be at the top of them? One wonders too in future years if the roads will remain so busy. This observer has heard of one or two people who have recently given their cars up because they can no longer afford to run them and witness the year on year increase of holidaymakers going to the caravan site on foot or by taxi, arriving at Nairn via the railway station – a sign of how the future might look? Just now the numbers of Nairn residents travelling out of town to do their weekly shop has probably fallen due to the new star attraction of Sainsbury’s but this decline of activity on the local roads has probably been more than replaced by hundreds of folk coming here to “Try something Different.” How long will travelling long distances for shopping remain an option if costs for motoring continue to rise and the predicted inflation arrives to chew away at incomes and savings? By the end of this term of the Holyrood parliament we might be in a totally different economic landscape and owning a car might not be so important for quite a few more people. On the other hand in four years time we may be back to boom times with houses, business parks and shopping centres springing up at East Inverness, Tornagrain, Delnies, Sandown and all over Nairn South and beyond. Then a dual carriageway and by-pass would be delivered to us via Highland Council planning conditions on developers and we’d have nothing to worry about. All in all a great chance for the LibDems to update their Nairn needs a bypass blog - there's been nothing on there since December 2010.
Nice too to see the Nairnshire discussing potential cycleways between Nairn and Inverness on the front page too.