Friday, October 07, 2011

Plans for bus station split Nairn's business community?

An article today in the P&J states that there is a split within Nairn's business community over the bus station plan for flats and a supermarket. However closer examination of the article reveals that this so called "split" is in fact a difference of opinion between David Brownless of the Association of Nairn businesses and Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce which includes Nairn it seems.

Stewart Nicoll welcomes the proposal and is quoted in the article: "It will add to the development of Nairn town centre which is great for the economy and will give residents in the area choice of where to shop."

David Brownless has some doubts however, and has told the P&J: "Nairn deserves better than the erection of a building that is better suited to a business park on the outskirts of Milton Keynes."

There's more in today's P&J for serious students of the subject. Inverness Chamber of commerce may include Nairn but if Mr Nicoll supports this project he'd probably be better remaining silent because this observer suspects anyone based in Inverness telling Nairnites what is good for them will have a negative effect on perceptions of the value of this development in the collective Nairn psyche.

Well that's what the business gadgies think of it Gurnites. There are of course thousands of people in Nairn that are not business people and their views are just as important. Why not get along to the River Community Council meeting on Tuesday evening at 19.30 in the Community Centre and state your views. You can see the plans for the bus station here, Click on the documents tab once you get there.


Shopper said...

More choice for Nairn shoppers please! Yes a supermarket on the Bus Station.

Anonymous said...

I think 'corner shop' would be closer than a 'supermarket'.

I agree with the Nairn camp & think it looks like a Travelodge.

By all means build something to replace the eyesore that's there at the moment but it would be just as easy to build something that looks good.

& while I'm on, since when did Inverness Chamber of Commerce have any right to comment about what's happening in Nairn ?

Anonymous said...

The article is in the P & J.

Is this a cunning ploy by the Gurn to increase Courier Sales?

Jane Harkiss said...

I may just be an ol fashioned gal at heart, but I for one am getting sick of soupermarkets. Supermarkets, supermarkert supermarkets - it's all you hear about, everywhere you go. How unimaginative! Schmukermarkets more like...

Anonymous said...

Have any of you actually been to Milton Keynes ?
The shopping centre is one of the BEST in the UK, it is futuristic looking, and is fab. It is a well laid out city, and some of the new estates are wonderful.
Nairn is a pauper compared to MK, and any of the buildings in the centre of MK would vastly improve Nairn.
But then my grandads old shed would improve the look of Nairn!
Seriously hope we win the Carbuncle so that something is actually done about the heap of sh*te that Nairn is becoming

Anonymous said...

We've lived with the disused bus station for a very long time, but is something new no matter what it is better than no development?

The prospect of an 'in your face' building replacing it is not one I relish. If Nairn were a major city I could maybe understand the need to build residential housing alongside a major road and a fire station, with the added noise of a shop unit below the flats.
The area is also already busy with trade to the takeaway, busses, and a general car park.

Given the choice it's not where I would choose to live. I suspect that the flats will be cheaper than similar property in Inverness and might therefore attract buyers who work in Inverness but cannot afford to live there, even though the cost of commuting is rising.
So Nairn becomes attractive on grounds of low cost, is that how we want the town to develop, affordable commuter housing? Are we really prepared to sanction housing that is both dense and in an undesirable location. There are several housing projects either at the planning stage, or at least the talking stage that are outwith the town centre which will if they go ahead at least offer a quality of life to their residents

But Nairn isn't a large city where you might expect such buildings, and furthermore wants to attract tourists to the town as part of our economy. Will this development improve the visibility of tourist Nairn, no

Development means money into the Highland Council coffers, so I can understand the excitement that any developer is able to stir, especially in the current economic times and when there is so much property already on the market in Nairn. But, how often has planning permission been given for projects which we now regret on the back of receiving some money?

The is no doubt that the bus station is an eyesore, but surely Nairn deserves something more pleasing than a bland block of flats?

Jane Harkiss said...

In matters of the psyche (amongst other things), I am an expert. I am also a regular visitor to the bus station, as it is a great source of spiritual inspiration to me - what with all that coming and going going on. By one Dr. Angus Romp at least, it will be greatly missed...

Graisg said...

oppssss, thank you anon - corrected.

James said...

all my regulars are for the idea, i was asking them today....

Single Please said...

What time is the first bus to Milton

Spurtle said...

Anonymous said " Have any of you been to Milton Keynes?"

The answer is yes and and I am quite familiar with the shopping centre. Possibly at the lightweight end of the British Brutalism school but well suited to its environs, all of which sprang up as a new town in the late 60's.

The comment I read referred to the bus station proposals being better suited to a business park on the outskirts of Milton Keynes , not in ithe town itself. In actual fact, I don't think the good people of MK would be much impressed by the building either.

"Profit and bottom line, the contemporary mantra, eliminates the very source of architectural expression." Arthur Erikson

Choo choo said...

@ Single Please

What time is the first bus to Milton

Why take the bus? Let Grigor's train take the strain!

Anonymous said...

A 'minor' factual error in the P&J article is that it mentions the supermarket as having an area of 16,000 Sq Ft (which would really be quite large), whereas the plans lodged with Highland Council show it as having an area of 4,000 Sq Ft (or 371 Sq M), which is a much smaller affair altogether (more of a largish 'corner shop' really) and more believable in terms of the land area in question. Someone at the P&J has presumably conflated their metres with their feet.

As for the apartments' parking spaces, it seems to me that these could easily be 'borrowed' by visitors to the new shop, unless their are retractable bollards to protect the 'right to use' that the flat owners will presumably be paying for when they purchase a flat; if I was buying one it is certainly something I would want to have clarified.

Graisg said...

Well spotted anon - someone at the P&J messed up there. In fact the P&J's article is pretty poor really - going to someone in Inverness for reaction on a Nairn matter for example. I suppose it is because they haven't got enough boots on the ground to ask around Nairn for a few more reactions?
Also it is not the garage that is in for the Carbuncle award but the whole town. At least our very own Leopold Street thunderer will, no doubt, have more accurate, in-depth analysis of the situation next week.

Jane Harkiss said...

Where is this Milton of Keynes of which you speak so freely and highly? Are the pavements truly fashioned from garnered golden lilies, and is it really populated exclusively by the bonny, blithe and beauteous? I have heard tell of the hallowed halls of Ye Auld Shoppy Centre, the beating heart of this wondrous realm, but never thought it existed anywhere but in the fevered imagination of Ye Auld Town Planner. Pray tell, when does the Magick Buss to Milton of Keynes depart? And is there room for a little one?

Iain said...

I have always been worried that despite soothing noises from officials they don't take a blind bit of notice of anything we, the people, say. Many Nairnites put considerable expertise, time and energy into proposing plans for the town centre under the NICE banner. So having commended the ideas, what do Highland Council do? Sell it off piecemeal along with our car parks.
This is not town planning; it's vandalism! It simply hands our town centre over to developers without any care or concern about what Nairn will become. We deserve better from our officials, but I for one am not holding my breath.

Uncle Carbuncle said...

4000 sqft is just the right size for a tesco express...or even a sainsburys local or another Co-Op! having visited this type of store often they have limited or no parking and rely on quick turnover.

However this is Nairn. Rather than welcome the fact that a developer has took interest in the town and engage with them- we will moan about every detail. This is not a nationally important site, what do people propse is built here? The leaning tower of Nairn? a themepark, Zoo, football stadium, shopping outlet village? get real and welcome this development.

Graisg said...

Spurtle - Milton Keynes was a 70's job not the sixties. The reference to the city reminded me of a chapter in Andy Beckett's "When the lights went out - What really happened in the Seventies"

According to Beckett Milton Keynes is a mix of good and bad, some bits worked fine others didn't. Margeret Thatcher opened a big shopping centre there in 1979 not long after taking office. With all the recent parallels that some are making with the 70's wouldn't it be cool if Danny Alexander could get his ConDem chum Dave Cameron to open the carbuncle-busting development on the site of the bus station?

So here's a piece about what Beckett has to say about Milton Keynes shopping centre:
"On the inside, even in 2006, after three decades of of consumerism in Milton Keynes beyond the city planners' wildest seventies imaginings, the shopping building still seemed comparatively civilized and calm. The halls linking the shops were very broad and smooth, with views of the outside world. There were benches and flower beds in frequent clusters, less token and pathetic looking than usual. People sat on the benches, holding proper conversations, not just pausing for breath. Birds even sang in the palms. Other people strolled past, sometimes with no shopping bags at all. The building felt as much civic as commericial..."

On the retail side it doesn't sound like planning hell to this observer.

Spurtle said...

60's /70's..........all a distant blur to me :)

The comments about the size of the retail unit are interesting. The trading area is 371sq.m or approx 4100sq.ft, while the non-trading area is 1066 sq.m, or just under 12000sq.ft.

I wouldn't have thought it normal to have a store/office which was nearly three times bigger than the sales area.

Which ever it is, the sales area of the shop works out at about 64 foot x 64 foot. Not big at all

Anonymous said...

I don,t care what they build there as long as it gets rid of what we have now!!!

Graisg said...

3 x 4,000 for the flats = 12,000?

Spurtle said...

Graisg said 3 x 4,000 for the flats = 12,000?

The dimensions on the drawings are hard to read but the ground floor shop is about 62 ft x 72 ft .

Jim said...

The third drawing of the set has a floor area for the proposed shop - 4,000 sq ft, 371 sq metres approx.

This does NOT mean a SALES AREA of 4,000 sq ft. Allowing for stockroom, chill room, freezers, food prep, secure room (for tobacco and alcohol), staff room and staff toilets, the sales area would be about 2,400 sq ft.

Public toilets may also be needed, for security reasons ('Can my little girl use your staff toilets? I'll just take her through, and steal anything lying around while I'm there')

I believe that 2,400 sq ft of sales area is too small to attract a Tesco Metro store, or similar.

Then again, it might be of use to an independent operator, but the location - opposite a Co-op supermarket - would inhibit potential sales to reduce profitability given the likely costs of lease and business rates, and a grocery operation would struggle to be profitable.

It will be interesting to see what sort of business might try to operate there. I can't think of anything that could make money from trading on that location.

Anonymous said...

I love the old bus station. It's been part of Nairn for so many years its just adding to the character of the town centre.

We could maybe sort the sign back to Highland Omnibus.

More than 100 years ago, Nairn was described as "the Brighton of the North". Let's keep that same thought going and live in the past glory, rather than build horrible looking modern development blocks, which don't suit Nairn's washed up image.

The messenger said...

"rather than build horrible looking modern development blocks"

Hate to break the news to you this anon, but since you last wandered along the A96 we have both a new Police Station and the Community Centre, both might be considered 'horrible looking modern development blocks' I don't think one more is going to make too much difference!

Art Carbuncle said...

@ the messenger. Whether you think the Community Centre and Police Station are horrible or not, the fact that they are there is not an automatic reason to endorse the construction of another block alongside them.

This application should be looked at carefully in its own right. Every building makes a difference. The key question is - will this proposal make the area look better? Is it the best and most attractive way to redevelop this particular site?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the question should be does it look better than the present building?

Paul Buyland said...

@Art Carbuncle

A general consensus is that our derelict buildings are an eyesore, but if new modern structures are not acceptable just what are you suggesting? Land owners demolishing their offending piles and green spaces being created. Sounds nice but where is the money going to come from

Art Carbuncle said...

@ Paul Buyland..

What am I suggesting? Not unprofitable empty green space. Nor what another Gurnite described as "a big ugly box with coloured panels".

It would be good if Nairn could have a new building there which was interesting, attractive, and original. Something that would make residents proud, and would make visitors go "wow".

Why settle for mediocre design instead of aiming for excellence?

Who knows, a more imaginative building might even be more profitable for the developer than a box of flats.

The Take Modern said...

Perhaps we could appoint Enric Miralles to come up with something seeing how well his most famous Scottish building has gone down in some quarters

Modern buildings rarely satisfy everyone, and whilst some look interesting they often stand out as carbuncles

Would something be better than nothing when it comes to our rotting bus station, a firm yes from most people

Salty said...

Please make as much fuss about this horrible proposal and get it rejected.
The seagull community needs continuity of use of our town centre HQ for at least another 10-20 years to ensure our cultural well-being. Please don't let them demolish the home of Nairnshire's seagull colony. We are also part of the wider community. Why can't you just leave us alone and erect a viewing platform to attract tourists.

Jane Harkiss said...

Argggghhh!!! Good point. Arggghhh!!! (etc etc)