Monday, September 12, 2011

What future for the showfield?

The APT blog recently warned us all to pay attention to what could be planned for the area. The Development Plan goes forward with all views being taken into account. Could it emerge that the Showfield becomes a housing scheme at the end of all this?

The BBC reports: "Nairnshire Farming Society has also offered its seven-acre (3ha) showfield in Nairn for housing. " More here.

The West CC have something to say about that however and here is an extract from their submission:

"4. The Farmers’ Showfield [NH 879 562] is one of only two significant green spaces remaining in the town centre, and deserves protection. It is used for a variety of recreational purposes. Part of it – 0.6 ha – has however already been zoned for housing (para 10.f of the 2000 Local Plan). This is only justifiable if it guarantees, as an immutable condition, the preservation of the remainder as public open space."

You can view the Society's submission here and the list of other submissions relating to Nairn here.

Not many Nairnites will want to see housing on the Showfield and it could get quite messy once resistance got organised. Bearing this in mind it's worth a quick look back to an article on the NICE blog that offered a sensible solution to the future of the Showfield. Maybe there could just be a better way for everyone concerned.


Anonymous said...

Thats what happens when every other suggested site for housing is objected too.
12 years ago it was proposed for housing, after a long campaign it was dropped, then Sandown came along remember they wanted to put a supermarket in the showfield or sandown.

Jim said...

I seem to remember that about five years ago, there was some publicity about the legal ownership of the Showfield.

It was definitely questioned whether the farmers' society that promotes the annual show, actually owns the Showfield, or has simply leased it under some ancient agreement, from whom was not clear.

The question did arise in the context of whether the Farmers' Show organisation could actually sell the land for - yes, you're right - a supermarket development. Morrisons, perhaps. Which means it pre-dated the Morrison's purchase of the Somerfield chain.

I recall that local councillors didn't want a new supermarket SO FAR OUT, because this would, it was said, devastate the High Street traders.

Perhaps a better memory than mine can confirm if the ownership question was settled?

Graisg said...

We can take it for certain that the Farming Society owns the Showfield.
The question raised by Jim seems to come up now and again and was commented on on the NICE blog but the NICE folk were satisfied that the Society own Showfield and a pretty thorough lot the NICE squad are.
Here's comments from the nice blog earlier this year:

"Iain says:
March 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

In conversation with some of the older residents of Nairn, so this is hearsay:

It seems that popular belief is that the Nairn Show Field was gifted to the people of Nairn by a Viscount (Lindsay?) who used to own the Newton Hotel.

Some years ago the farmers tried to sell it to a Supermarket chain. The Nairn folk were up in arms about this and apparently, this is when it was found out that the farmers don’t own it.
It seems that there is still a ‘given’ opportunity for the field to be used for housing (up to 12)

Looking on the web, the Farmers seem to claim ownership in their documentation. Reading through their reports, it seems that the move out of town was because the town site was too small, not because of cost. There is no mention of them paying to use the field, but is mention of income from the use of the field by others.

Does anyone out there know anything more about the so called ‘gifting’ of this site?

If it does belong to the people of Nairn, I think the people of Nairn need to know about it so that they can have a say in how it is used and to whom any income from usage should go to.
admin says:
March 11, 2011 at 9:49 am

NICE can confirm that the Showfield is wholly owned by the Farming Society. They did indeed move out through lack of space."

The most helpful way forward here is for the community to find someway for the Farming Society to realise the value of the asset that is the Showfield without the site being built upon. Not an easy task given the current climate. Maybe the magic money that we're all hoping will come from Sandown one day will be of some use there?