Friday, September 16, 2011

How the Suburban folk want to see Sandown developed

Nairn Suburban Community Council have published the results of their Sandown Development brief meeting held on the 30th of August 2011. On their wish list are a Community Facility, a Tourist Information Office manned by volunteers and an office for wildlife and countryside rangers to work from. They also wish to see play areas, and a wetlands area and park. Allotments are on the agenda too and as far as housing goes they state:

"All housing developments in the fields north of the A96 should be clearly thought out. The community does not want developer led proposals of expensive properties and tall unsuitable blocks of flats. Local people and families require "village" or "community" designed houses. The site lends itself to low, single storied or one and a half storied buildings to maintain attractive vistas and landscape. The environmental corridors will maintain the concept of depth and distance."

As far as a business park goes that is a "non-starter" for the NSCC given the current climate, they correctly state that once the Dalcross Business Park gets under way there will be little call for a business park in Nairn.

There's plenty more sensible opinion and detail about the options they want to see go forward for Sandown in the paper they have produced. Well done the NSCC folk! This observer is sure that Gurnites will be willing to back most or all of their proposals for the Sandown Lands.

Read the full document here.


Brian Turner said...

RE: Business centre - sounds like the NSCC has spent too long near the HC, making long-term planning decisions based on short-term criteria.

As Nairn continues to expand where are the small businesses supposed to set up? The High Street is full and the derelict buildings look like they'll be given over for residential development.

It's hardly valid to complain that the HC is Inverness-centric, if Nairn's representives are happy to keep pushing jobs out to Inverness.

The original local plan, although flawed, identified that more job creation was required within Nairn town itself. However, so far there have been precious few attempts to address this, and every opportunity given is turned over to flats.

In the New Year Nairn will be the only place in the Highlands with super-fast broadband. And with precious little space for any business to move in to use this.

Anonymous said...

Whilst most of the wish list for Sandown Lands seems fairly sensible, the opposition to a business park is mis-guided. There is a lack of purpose built quality office / commercial space in Nairn at present, with the existing units at Balmakeith of a poor standard.

Nairnac said...

I agree with the 'local houses for local people' theory, although it's no doubt a difficult thing to enable.
A way of selling off individual plots for people to build whatever type of house they want (within reason) could make for a much more interesting environment than anything a developer is likely to produce.
I'm sure I've said it before, but in my opinion something along the lines of Findhorn's 'Field of Dreams' would be good (but without the need for residents to grow their own organic trousers or knit their own meusli out of recycled Grauniads)

Graisg said...

@Brian & Anon - what is wrong with building offices on the spaces left at Balmakeith?

@ Nairnac - it has to be sorted - what is the point of housing agencies getting Scottish Government cash to build homes and then hand them over to people with no connection to Nairn? The danger is that we could see quite a lot of that on Sandown. Perhaps its time for the Community Councils to start the Nairnshire Housing Association?

Doodle said...

The Balmakeith units seems to have attracted a good few businesses and there is still room to expand the site even if anon reckons they are sub standard.

Many business parks in the Highlands have been built at great expense and most still have space left. Has anyone moved into the Golpsie one as yet?

Locally there is also a pretty empty newish business park just east of Forres

Superfast Broadband might offer great speeds from your house to the Nairn exchange but meanwhile the fibre capacity routes which travel south ('ish) via Aberdeen or Inverness (along the A96 and A9) cannot handle the present capacity of traffic and I'm not aware of any plans to invest in these at the moment

Geography and lack of population is always going to compromise what services we get in the Highlands, but I'm happy to trade that to live in such a beautiful place. Long may it remain so, and Sandown should be kept as a green open space for the common good!

Anonymous said...

"Community Councils to start the Nairnshire Housing Association" Why not?After all Sandown is part of the Nairn Common Good.This would be a fantastic opportunity.Lets get it "Local"

Graisg said...

Thank you anon, perhaps all like-minded individuals with ideas like that should consider standing as candidates in the November elections to the three Community Councils we have in Nairn.
Then with enough folk willing to try and get some power back from the Invercentrics the present Foram for the Community Councils could upgrade itself to the "Royal Burgh of Nairn (Community) Council" and really get down to business.
Anyone up for it?

Anonymous said...

The Surburban folk seem to have come up with a sensible plan, and are quite right to kick out the notion of yet another business park.

I like Nairnac's idea for self build plots but there might have to be some assisted mortgages in the current economic climate, self builds are often difficult to get loans for

I seem to remember that Mr Turner has decried the lack of office space in Nairn in a previous Gurn posting. If there is such a need perhaps he should approach the Association of Nairn Businesses. I'm sure if there was a genuine demand they would be happy to pressure for more premises to be made available, and has been said there is still space at the Balmakeith

Brian Turner said...

@Graisg - Balmakieth is an industrial park developed to cater for a range of industrial uses. I've not seen anything come up for availability there that specifically catered for office use for small businesses.

Vacant town centre premises would be ideal situations for office development, but the HC has already stated that the old community centre and tourist information building plots will be open for residential development, so expect companies to step in first for that.

The Deveron plans for Sandown were deeply flawed, but the business centre allocation was a good concept.

That's why I find the NSCC comments on Dalacross fatalistic.

The HC already appears to regard Nairn as nothing more than a suburb of Inverness, hence why I think we need to think more in terms of creating space for business to grow and develop in Nairn instead of just being dumped with residential housing for Inverness workers.

We have the space, but it appears there is a general lack of political will to think of prioritising any of it for business development, and therefore grow Nairn's employment prospects within the town.

Brian Lynch said...

Interesting-but what about the houseing developments to the South of the main road? Are they not to be well thought out?
Ah! no-all the houses are (by insinuation) to be on the North side-all 300+ of them.
Sounds like a housing density getting close to Deverons and rejected out of hand by the Reporter at the last public inquiry.
This a radical move since last the topic was aired so wheres the results of the NSCC vote taken on this to underwrite the views of the meeting attendees? Brian Lynch, Sandown, Nain

Graisg said...

Hi Brian (Lynch). I think it is Highland Council that has already come up with the new number of houses (in advance of the consultation)not the NSCC who I imagine would not be so high with the figures. Oor Graham came out with the following statement:
"We will be looking at something in the region of 300 to 350 houses ultimately, but whether we have a business park or not has to be decided."
more here:

With lots and lots of houses on the books of the estate agents just now and young people unable to get mortgages then perhaps the Council should just be thinking of hiring the North side out to a farmer again for a few years and wait and see what happens to the property market?

Anonymous said...

" perhaps the Council should just be thinking of hiring the North side out to a farmer again for a few years and wait and see what happens to the property market?

Dear God no !!!

Does anyone actually know how many tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money it cost the public purse to buy the lease for the Sandown lands back from the last 'farmers' that held it?

Anyone who has any experience of the Highland Council's capacity to draft leases will be quaking in their boots at the thought of them trying to sort one for Sandown that doesn't end up as a dog's dinner.

Let the land lie fallow......... it'll be a lot cheaper in the long run.

Graisg said...

At the moment word on the street is that the Common Good Fund is strapped for cash. Even a short term lease of a year or two would bring in something. The dream of a developer paying £17 million for the Sandown Lands just didn't come off and now we're set for another run round the course by the Highland Council - with an election coming up in May the administration members Sandy, Laurie and Graham need to come up with something impressive fast - whether the new draft brief that emerges will be satisfactory or even possible at all in the current climate is another matter however.
Although not impressed with the Highland Council at all for anything connected with Sandown so far is it not correct to say that the lease was drawn up by the former District Council and not them?

Anonymous said...

Leasing it as farmland is a nice idea but the problem would be that it would be short term and not really offer any farmer much value in terms of him/her improving the land etc

I think that the best that Nairnites can hope for is that we enjoy the land whilst we can until our dear council manages to punt it on for housing that few seem to want. And when all the Common Good is gone?

Graisg said...

As far as this observer can see the Highland Council masterplan is to still sell the land to developers to pay off the debt incurred for the community centre. Although it might be a nice bit of spin for election time next spring, again is that possible in the current climate? Or is it just something that could happen in the long-term.
One idea I heard at one of the CC meetings was that Nairn form it's own housing association - still own the land and have income from rentals to pay for the cost of building houses - houses the community would be prepared to accept on the Common Good Land.
Highland Council seem to have a "developers will solve all" attitude. Now what if that developer was the community?
The trouble is the community and Highland Council are two different things aren't they?

The never never said...

Our new community centre is all very nice, but did we suffer our very own consumer riot when the building of it was agreed and yet we didn't have money in the bank to pay for it?

Perhaps this was cunning, an effective arm twist once the debt was there for Sandown lands to be sold without much fuss as we owed the money

Our new CC is very nice, but given the choice I would have preferred that the Sandown land remained untouched

Anonymous said...

Ia it just Nairn that has to pay back debt for their community centre - if so why???

Anonymous said...

Back in the mid/late nineties, the section of Balmakeith Industrial Estate nearer to Auldearn was converted into a 'Business' park. Cap Gemini transferred through from Forres into an office/workshop there prior to their new offices being converted/built. It was a case throughout the Highlands that there were many similar business sites created with roads and lights in place waiting for businesses to flood in. Build and they will come? But did they? Not many if the number of 'ghost' sites still waiting for businesses to come is anything to go by.