This observer quite enjoyed a trip out to Auldearn on Wednesday night to see the new line up of the village’s Community Council take its first tentative steps. The Lethen Hall was rather cosy, if perhaps a little in need of a makeover, and there were enough community councillors and members of the public to add a bit of gravitas to the occasion. Seated at the top table were Roger Milton the outgoing (and new Chair) and Louise Clark of the Highland Council who was at the first meeting as part of her civic duty in regards to the recent elections for all of Nairnshire’s Councils. On either side of the top table the other councillors were lined up along with John Dolan of the Nairnshire Telegraph. A police representative duly arrived and also sat at the top table next to Roger. Graham Marsden of Libdem fame was also present on the public benches.
So, there were a few things discussed but in this article we are concentrating on the application for a windmill on the
David Brownless then pitched in: “I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate and say, that with a view to minimising absolutely carbon dioxide, we should build mini nuclear power stations in every school playground.”
Another member of the audience then asked if the Community Trust would be entitled to rental. Comparison was made with the way Highland Council got planning gain from Sainsbury’s and the suggestion made that 10% of all electricity generated by all the wind farms in the Highlands should go to the Highland Council as planning gain. The debate then moved on to the safety issue and David Brownless pointed out that people naturally associate wind turbines with things falling off them and mentioned problems elsewhere in Scotland with similar turbines failing.
One of the female members of the audience stated: “It’s going to cause more heartache than it is going to cause any good and I think the very fact of climate change, that’s questionable too.”
Roger then began to wind up the discussion: “It has been made very clear that if the community as a whole are not happy about this, then it won’t be foisted upon us.” There was then some angst expressed as to how representative the Community Council was as to expressing the views of the whole community and the desire to see more people coming to meetings was expressed. This observer would suggest that compared to the turn out at some CC meetings in Nairn, Auldearn is doing very well as regards to bums on seats. There was worry that seeking views outside of meetings without full discussion could be a fruitless stance. There had already been two meetings and it seemed the Community Council were up for another one when, and if, the application comes back again. Judging by the feeling on the public benches however, this observer would put a fiver on the windmill being a lost cause.
We’ll put up more from the Auldearn CC meeting if time permits, but once again, this observer would like to say he was pretty impressed by the calibre of leadership and the accompanying debate from both the councillors and members of the public. Auldearn has a great opportunity now to build on the considerable achievements of the previous council and add further to the well being and sense of community in the village. It will interesting to see how things progress as Auldearn CC moves further into its term of office.