Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sandown Charrette ready to roll out after the bells

Highland Council tell the world today:

"Members of the public are to have their say on a masterplan for the future development of land at Sandown to the west of Nairn.

The Highland Council has agreed that an architect-led charrette (workshop) will take place early in the New Year to allow the local community and other interests a detailed say in the design and detailed lay out of this area of Nairn, which is owned by the Nairn Common Good Fund.

A charrette is an interactive design workshop, held over a number of days, that allows the community, local authorities and a wide range of stakeholders to come together to design and develop a community masterplan.

It is a dynamic process that typically involves public launch and conclusion meetings with topic-based design workshops in between.

The design process is iterative with discussion translated into emerging designs which are presented for further debate and discussion. These principles will be applied to Sandown.

Council Convener Sandy Park said: “The result we are looking for is a masterplan informed by a wide range of views where everyone has had a chance to shape proposals. The Scottish Government is very supportive of this charrette-style working and believes it should form a central role in the design of new and regenerated places and neighbourhoods.

“The aim is collaborative working, combining technical, professional and community knowledge to create positive places. We hope the local community and other interests will participate enthusiastically and we will publish further details soon.” "

Anyone up for this "iterative" process? A chance at last to really get Sandown right - even down to the number of street lights to eventually be turned off?"


Anonymous said...

Yep we could ask for solar powered street lights at Sandown....

Being ironic said...

I thought solar power only worked in the day time?

under ones thumb said...

Is there a sniff of democracy here for Nairn citizens amongst the usual dictator like rule from Inverness, or are we just being given a token discussion to be overruled by the city governors at a later date?

Brian Turner said...

It all sounds very grand if the HC are going to stump up public money to develop any such ideas - but there is no suggestion they are.

There are already basic planning criteria which apply, and these were taken into consideration for the original Deveron development for 220 homes, leisure facilities, and a business park, which were approved.

According to the later inquiry on that, HC planners were blamed for not trying to pull Deveron back from nearly tripling the number of homes.

So the issue is, we have guidelines, and HC planners need to do their job and ensure developers stick to these.

I fear the current "consultation" is nothing more than a vain exercise, and just eating into public funds with no real cost-benefit to the community.

Graisg said...

It wasn't originally a Deveron development Brian but the number you mention (not sure if correct but not far off I think) was what the area was zoned for. Then came a sort of architectural competition for the best design which was subsequently abandoned and then Deveron became Highland Council's preferred bidder.
To make sense of it from there on - well you need the like of high-powered public inquiry Reporter types to help you out:-)
In my opinion it is Highland Council that stuffed up by trashing the best bid idea. If they'd gone about it differently there might be a few homes on Sandown by now and cash coming in to pay the common good debts.
Now they want to take us round the course again but their track record so far is abysmal.
Another far more cynical school of thought suggests that all this is coming up just in time for the Highland Council elections in May.

Bill Ding said...

Given the tendency of the townsfolk to reach divided, and sometimes opposing, views on almost any proposed development in the town, the question now is - can the people of Nairn reach any kind of consensus on what should happen on the Sandown land. Keep it, lease it out, sell it? Build a housing estate? A business park? Turn it into a wetland nature reserve? Recreational park? New Showfield for the Farmers Society? All, or none, of the above?

The organisers of the charrette have a real task in front of them. If they don't get a clear message about what the community does, or doesn't want, then once again we will end up with whatever the Highland Council proposes.

Graisg said...

@ Bill Ding, two paragraphs removed from your comment. You might beleive in nods and winks and have an 100% understanding of how it all panned out. If your information is correct and you are willing to back it up then publish it yourself under your own name is the course that this observer would suggest.
A room full of lawyers argued this all out and it was sometimes a bit over my head and still is (more so given the time gap now).

Anyone wishing to make up their own mind on what the reporter thought it all meant can read the document here:

Bill Ding said...

@ Graisg - fair comment, and you were absolutely right to edit.

The broad point of the paragraphs you quite rightly removed was to endorse the comment Brian Turner made - that there was and is guidance in the local plans, and that, in effect, the Reporter concluded that Deveron's bid was not in line with what the plans permitted.

Why and how this came about is indeed a matter of opinion and speculation. As with most such situations the precise details are far from clear. I have my views, but like you, I am content for others to read the published documents and draw their own conclusions.

Graisg said...

If I were to add anything Bill Ding it would be to suggest that I do not think you are by any means alone in the direction of your opinion and speculation :-)

Maybe the charrette might morph into a tumbril once the bells are done and dusted?