Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
The price of Nairnshire's living national treasure rises to 45p this week, a staggering price rise of 12.5%! Despite that it is, as usual, compulsive reading.
There's news on the front page of a letter that Dr Joan Noble has written to the main mannie at Highland Council. She's setting aboot them again on the issue of Sandown-Delnies and the potential impact on the Common Good Fund. Issues that never went away Gurnites. Joan Noble has not held back and tells it like many others think it is - just add all that to the continuing down-trodden look of the town centre along the A96 and you have a powerful political cocktail that will still be there (like the drink in last night's glass) for everyone to savour at the May elections to the Highland Council.
Get informed, read the articles and Iain Bain's editorial and if you feel motivated enough why not get yourself up to Nairn Academy tomorrow night at 7.30 p.m. (Tuesday) where the Suburban Community Council has the Sandown Lands on the agenda and is asking "Development - what does the Community want?" We already know Highland Council have their ideas - can there be a compromise between the local authority and the community or will there be another winter of extreme discontent in Nairn?
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Match report here.
Match report here.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
This image taken during the week, will enlarge a little, please don't bother if you are squeamish. The jobbies still pop up occasionally in the bittie between the sewage bridge and the A96 road bridge and River CC member Tommy is on the case and trying to get the authorities to act. Regular Gurnites will remember this set of pictures from almost two years ago.
Also in full flow have been the manhole covers on either side of the sewage bridge during the recent downpours. Just down from the bridge on the east side of the river there is a covering of sewage sludge (sometimes dry in between regular top-ups) where the path dips a little. Here's an example on Youtube of what happens, the video is from 2008 and since then fancy new manhole covers were put in that were meant to put a stop to it. You will notice how large the spruce trees have grown on the river side of the path and how lush the grass is opposite. Best walk right round it until someone bothers to clean it up.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
"Issued at - 25 Aug 2011, 12:57
Valid from - 27 Aug 2011, 00:00
Valid to - 28 Aug 2011, 23:59
A spell of wet and unseasonably windy weather is expected through this weekend. Persistent rain, heavy at times, is expected, accompanied by strong to gale force winds with a risk of severe gales in the most exposed areas. The public should be aware of the risk of localised flooding."
Members took this decision based on their view that circumstances have changed since the Committee deferred this item on 5th July 2011 for a site visit. This deferral also means that the planned site visit will not take place on the 30th August, and this will now be rearranged for a later date.
Councillor Sandy Park, the Vice Chairman of the PAC, explained that although Members previously felt that the Council would be in a position at that time to determine the Delnies planning application ahead of the Examination report into the Highland wide Local Development Plan, there are two key issues which have become clearer since July.
He said: “Firstly, the Scottish Government-appointed Reporters have arranged a Hearing session as part of the Examination on the issue of the Nairn Housing land supply generally and the land at Delnies specifically – this is due to be held on 28th September 2011. Secondly, the Examination into the Highland wide Local Development Plan is well underway and all current indications are that the Reporters’ Report will be issued to the Council by the end of this year. Once we are in receipt of this report everyone will be given much greater certainty and we will be able to determine the application as soon as practicably possible after that.”
Veterans of many of the larger planning meetings in Nairn (and the death-by PowerPoint events) of the past few years will recognise Malcom MacLeod's picture. His years of toil and the occasional ear-bashing by extremely discontented Nairnites have paid off with a move upstairs. The Highland Council site states:
"The Highland Council has appointed a new Head of Planning and Building Standards.
He is Malcolm MacLeod, the Council's Development Plans Manager.
Malcolm succeeds Richard Hartland, who has taken up a senior post with Moray Council.
Originally from the Western Isles, Malcolm joined the Council in 1998 from Ayrshire and has worked on a wide range of planning projects right across the Highlands since then.
He said: "I am delighted to have been appointed in this challenging role at an exciting time for the Highlands. I look forward to leading the Planning & Building Standards team to deliver high quality developments in the right places while improving our performance and customer service."
One of our regular readers has input a Nairn post code into a BBC survey page and this is the result. The BBC page does give a few caveats however:
"Each box on the map indicates the average reception within that area over the survey period. Areas showing no coverage could be the result of a single phone losing signal. The map does not take into account factors such as reduced reception while in buildings. The map is not intended to replace the service providers' own coverage maps when making a decision about taking out a mobile phone contract."
It would be interesting to know if this is actually the case for Nairn and how many people took part locally, the boxes along the A96 suggest that people passing through Nairn who were participating with the BBC application have had an influence on the results. So how smart is your smartphone at times in and around Gurnshire? Here's the relevant BBC page if you want more information on their survey.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Dominating the front page is a report on how the issue of asbestos is continuing to affect the lives of folk in 26 houses up at Queenspark and specifically those who brought their houses from the Council. An awful situation for those concerned and reports of a drop in property value for one unfortunate householder. All the usual pics and information from the Games too and much more in this week’s 16 pager.
On page 4 there is news of Nairn managing to keep it’s ward manager in the Courthouse although Louise will now have to spend some of her time working on neighbouring ward 18 issues and there are worries of how sustainable the new Courthouse situation is after job cuts, with Liz quoted voicing concerns: “The service point is is like a ghost ship just now.”
There is mention of more responsibility coming back to Nairn in a small way with quotes from a mannie David Haas who will be the new senior ward manager but what will that mean in practice? Read the article in the paper and see for yourself, will anything good come out of all this background chatter? This observer feels that that is highly unlikely given the previous track record. Nairn has lost jobs out of the cuts that will never come back and Glenurquhart Road is once again making soothing noises to try and calm us all down.
Again Iain Bain is on the ball with his editorial which looks at the issues raised in the article in depth. Here’s just a snippet of Iain, once again detailing the case against the Invercentrics that have steadily stripped power from Nairn:
“Over the years Nairn has lost not only its burghal stature but its council meetings and its courts. In more recent years it has seen its planning department go and there is no longer any input into licensing.” He continues in the same vein and asks “We wonder where it will all end."
A lot of folk feel it’s certainly time to get some power back in Nairn and not just a few crumbs from the Inverness table either. Time for real decision making to come back to Nairn. Read an analysis about what has been done to Nairnshire by Highland Council – see Iain Bain’s editorial this week!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
There has been much upset in Skye and Lochalsh recently over the decision to award the respite care contract currently undertaken by Crossroads to an
“The Crossroads Crisis – where were our councillors?”
“...This decision begs several important questions. Firstly where were our councillors when was it taken? Did they know of it? If not, why not? If so, did they approve or oppose it? If they approved it, why?
If they opposed it and were overruled by a mainland majority, why did the councillors of Skye and Lochalsh not then mobilise the immense local support which was always available, but is now left to vent its great anger after the contracts have been signed and sealed?” There’s plenty more like that in the pages of the WHFP this week.
An online petition has been started and the outrage is reflected on the Crossroads Care - Skye and Lochalsh facebook page. It now emerges that Skye and Lochalsh is not the only contract that Crossroads have lost. This from the Highland Council site:
“The Highland Council, working in partnership with NHS Highland, can announce that Carr Gomm
What will this mean for Nairn then? Well a big part of the outrage in Skye stems round the fact that it seems that Skye and Lochalsh’s care hours will be reduced from 7,777 hours a year to 2,882. Nairn will lose out but by how much? Again the Highland Council press release states:
“The contract has been awarded on the basis of population size across the Council. This means some changes to historical budgets, which did not provide equity. As a consequence,
Perhaps it will emerge shortly how many care hours Nairn will lose? So the impact? Who better to ask than former Provost and Nairn Crossroads Care fundraiser Liz. She told the Gurn:
“It'd be fair to say that I'm very concerned about the situation locally as a member of the fundraising committee of Nairn Crossroads Scheme. Crossroads do a terrific job in Nairn and across the Highlands and there is much added value to the service through additional volunteer fundraising which extends the remit of there service.
It is inconceivable that an
I wasn't included in discussions about the remit for tender document (Administration members only) I believe there must be a way we can have a look at it to see if the ethos fits our
Will the outrage present in Skye and Lochalsh spread to the rest of the
Many Gurnites will have memories of the odd downpour or two on weekday showie nights. Is this observer thinking that Thursday and Friday nights can be Mother Nature's favourites when it comes to adding a wee shower to the toffee apple, candy floss, bright lights and diesel fumes mix? The skies looked extremely threatening last night but mercifully didn't pour. Numbers seemed a little thin for a Thursday night and many families were wrapped up in warmer coats and sometimes even hats. Even some of the youngsters that were hanging out around some of the more fashionable rides were dressed in clothes more reminiscent of October than August. The few cars parking on the Links football pitch were leaving brown trails across the grass. Over at the Games arena the Council boys had done their usual efficient job of erecting the fences and other equipment and the saltires flew in the breeze from the tops of the white poles. The stage is set and the forecast is good for Saturday.
Towards 08.30 p.m. there was what has been a rare occurrence for August - a sunset! The usual bank of cloud in the west relented for a few minutes to end the day on a bright note. Pictures will enlarge a little.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
"Around half (51%) were in favour of the usage of Gaelic in Scotland. By comparison very few (9%) were against it, but a sizeable number (38%) had no opinion either way - suggesting a lack of engagement with this issue amongst a sizeable segment of the population. "
Statistics about attitudes to Gaelic have been thin on the ground in recent years, now the Scottish Government has published some research. More details of the survey here.
The Championships will be based in Inverness during August 2015 and will utilise the world class terrain along the Moray coast and in the Cairngorms National Park. The Scottish 6 Days will run in parallel to the Championships and will bring 5000 competitors to the area boosting the local economy by an estimated £2 million."
Nairn boss Les Fridge was delighted to have booked a semi-final spot against holders Forres Mechanics next week." More on the Highland News site.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sunday 21st on the Maggot.
12.00 noon to 4.00 p.m.
Cars £5.00 - no traders please - To book call Fay 07729394464
Here's one of the timetables for the Fishertown-hospital-Sainsbury's (via the West End) service. Thanks to the regular gurnite who sent this image in. This could well be one of the timetables that Citizen Tommy has put up. Heard about his initiative via Liz on twitter. It's the Big Society in action that's for sure. Glenurquhart Road where were you when this was happening? Anyway, saw the bus go past again today with no passengers. Has anyone actually used the service yet? The 20 and 20A are also seem pretty short of passengers. Use them or lose them?
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
contributed by Doncat
Chips at the harbour
Chips in the street
Nae wonder gulls like Nairn
For there’s plenty chips tae eat.
They’re tartin’ up the Regal
An’ no’ a day too soon
It’s been too long an eyesore
Spoilin’ oor wee toon.
The Supermarket saga has finally reached an end
And they give you back a tenner for every grand you spend
They’ve even got a shelter where the bus can drap you aff
But please ,oh Mr Sainsbury could you open up a Caff.
Liz is trying to get the obvious omission sorted! Maybe someone thought it would all work by magic?
The Nairnshire’s front page screams “Roads Delayed?” and outlines concerns by David Stewart MSP and Sandy Park over delays in studies for the A96 dualling and the Nairn Bypass respectively. David Stewart had asked a question in a motion before the Holyrood Parliament. In addition to the Nairnshire report he also received coverage in the P&J last week and yesterday he also posted details of his activities on his website. Mr Stewart is performing the role of the opposition in Holyrood in asking why the dualling survey hasn’t gone further yet and in doing so is being rewarded with headlines. Sandy is in power at Glenurquhart Road but he might as well be in opposition to the government as well because one wonders how much influence the Indy-Lib regime will have with the SNP administration down the road.
Maybe we’ll see some action on a Nairn by-pass during the current term of this government and a by-pass would be far better for Nairn and movement on the A96 in general than dualling the road between Nairn and Inverness which would just speed up traffic between two bottlenecks. One does wonder if we’ll ever see a by-pass though or dualling of the A96 when you consider the millions that will have to be spent simply repairing roads. Just take a look around Nairn and see the holes that were patched up over the winter, some of them look as though they are just about to crumble away again without the help of any ice, snow or road salt. Government money set aside for road improvements may have to be diverted to local authorities for road repairs simply to keep the existing network open.
Even if the SNP were to fail to deliver anything in terms of a by-pass would Nairn voters be so inclined to transfer their allegiance to Dave Stewart and his Labour Party pals? After all you make your decision at the ballot box on a whole range of issues and would a by-pass be at the top of them? One wonders too in future years if the roads will remain so busy. This observer has heard of one or two people who have recently given their cars up because they can no longer afford to run them and witness the year on year increase of holidaymakers going to the caravan site on foot or by taxi, arriving at Nairn via the railway station – a sign of how the future might look? Just now the numbers of Nairn residents travelling out of town to do their weekly shop has probably fallen due to the new star attraction of Sainsbury’s but this decline of activity on the local roads has probably been more than replaced by hundreds of folk coming here to “Try something Different.” How long will travelling long distances for shopping remain an option if costs for motoring continue to rise and the predicted inflation arrives to chew away at incomes and savings? By the end of this term of the Holyrood parliament we might be in a totally different economic landscape and owning a car might not be so important for quite a few more people. On the other hand in four years time we may be back to boom times with houses, business parks and shopping centres springing up at East Inverness, Tornagrain, Delnies, Sandown and all over Nairn South and beyond. Then a dual carriageway and by-pass would be delivered to us via Highland Council planning conditions on developers and we’d have nothing to worry about. All in all a great chance for the LibDems to update their Nairn needs a bypass blog - there's been nothing on there since December 2010.
Nice too to see the Nairnshire discussing potential cycleways between Nairn and Inverness on the front page too.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Mill Road Allotments
Sunday 7th August 12.00 noon to 4.00 p.m.
Entry £1.50 Children 50p - includes refreshments
Various stalls with something for all the family
The new Mill Road allotments are just the start, the society is campaigning to get more allotments on Sandown and elsewhere in the town.
Come along and find out more about Nairn's grow your own revolution and how you can take part.
Click on the image to enlarge. Tommy Hogg sends the Gurn this copy of the new timetable. This service is in addition to the 20 & 20a services and is a result of campaigning by the River Community Council. It seems to have started without any fanfare however and Tommy was surprised to see the bus down in the Fishertown. He went up to the Council offices and obtained a copy of the timetable.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Former Nairn Academy pupil Fraser Nelson appeared on the special "#ukriots" Question Time this evening and gave quite a good performance giving John Prescott a bit of a doing on the subject of education. Prescott inferred that Fraser had attended a private school and therefore wasn't qualified to comment on state education. Fraser Nelson (the Spectator editor) responded that Prescott hadn't achieved much during the 13 years of Labour rule. Anyway it's all caused quite a stir on twitter. Perhaps a few folk need to educate themselves as to the nature of the education system in Scotland however. Some of the twitterati have been rushing to find web details of Fraser's education and jumping to the wrong conclusion entirely. They seem to assume because it is Nairn "Academy" then it must be a posh private school as you can see demonstrated in the two images above taken from twitter this evening.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
That's that poll closed now. The result was overwhelmingly for allowing fishing to continue in the harbour area.
And a new poll starting this evening, planning conditions prevented the new Sainsbury's store from having a cafe or restaurant on the premises. A couple of folk have complained to the Gurn that they would like the chance to have a cup of tea up there. Would this affect the town centre cafes or would it attract a different sort of clientele? Your chance to have a say in the latest Gurn poll.
RAF Lossie was saved Leuchars is to close. Fingers are being pointed at Danny’s possible role in keeping the Moray base open. The Courier (the Tayside and Fife one) is quoting comments by one of Danny’s fellow LibDems Menzies Campbell and SNP MSP Rod Campbell:
The furore follows an unprecedented attack on Mr Alexander by his party colleague Sir Menzies Campbell, the North East Fife MP, over how the government's defence review was conducted.
The former Lib Dem leader implied Mr Alexander interfered in the basing review to "assist (his) political credibility" in his parliamentary seat.
"It's a remarkable coincidence that these decisions should have been thought to assist the political credibility of the chief secretary to the Treasury, or is it?" said Sir Menzies.
The Courier also quotes Rod Campbell an SNP MSP:
On Monday Mr Campbell suggested Mr Alexander could be in breach of the ministerial code, which states ministers must "avoid any conflict of interests" when dealing with issues which impact on their constituency.
"Fighting for your constituents is one thing, but to do it from within government is completely against the rules," he told The Courier. Courier article here.
From that it seems that Danny by being a Minister has one hand tied behind his back when it comes to going into battle for his constituency. This observer remembers Graham Marsden stating that we must make more use of Danny Alexander given his position in Government but given the rules of the game it looks like you can’t.
Anyway if there was anything that convinced the government to keep Lossie open instead of Leuchars it would have been the 7,000 plus demonstrators that marched through Lossie. The sight of so many ordinary folk marching alongside the entire front row Scottish Political establishment spooked Westminster. The folk around Leuchars just didn’t fight a sufficiently high-profile campaign in comparison. I doubt very much if anything will stick to Danny over this, all a bit of froth really. Whether he will ever be forgiven by Highland voters for being in government with the Tories is another matter however.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Will Nairn 16-17 year olds stand for the elections in November? The Highland Council would like to see that happen. Here's some information they have published:
For the first time in the Highlands, 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to seek election to their local Community Council.
The change is a key feature of a new scheme for the establishment of Community Councils agreed by The Highland Council earlier this year.
Another first is that Community Council elections will take place across the Highlands on the same day - Wednesday 16 November - in instances where the number of candidates exceeds the number of places available.
If there were elections in each of the 153 Highland Community Councils, there would be 1,322 Community Councillors elected.
To be eligible to stand, young people need to complete a voter registration form and submit it to the Electoral Registration Officer before 31 August.
Voter registration forms and copies of the scheme for the establishment of Community Councils can be downloaded here. Forms can also be obtained from any Service Point, or by telephoning the Council’s Service Centre (Tel 01349 886606).
Convener Councillor Sandy Park said: “Community Councils will benefit hugely from the involvement of young people. The Highland Youth Voice, the youth parliament for the Highlands, has shown the very valuable contribution young people can make to the policy making and decision taking process.
“I would encourage young people with an interest in serving their local Community Council to complete a voter registration form by 31 August to ensure their eligibility. We will be actively promoting Community Council elections in our 29 secondary schools once pupils return from their summer break.”
Monday, August 08, 2011
Despite the bad weather yesterday the Nairn Allotment Society raised over £442 at the Sandown open day. Special thanks from the Society to James & Sylvia Clarke at Wester Hardmuir and Donald & Julie Green from Greens Garden centre for the large donations they made.
If you couldn't make it to Sandown then this Sunday (14th) there will be another Open Day at Mill Road, again from 12-4 p.m.
Two painters getting down to it this evening at the Regal. They were taking advantage of the entrance cover to continue working in the showers. They told the Gurn that the whole building was getting spruced up.
Congratulations to the Facebook group that got this sorted. This is down to you guys - well done!
Sunday, August 07, 2011
At 09.30 this morning a lone council worker was struggling to unblock the drain under the railway bridge wit a set of rods. His work wasn't made any easier by a succession of motorists who had decided to drive around a flood warning sign in the middle of the road at the top of the brae on the town side. This spot is notorious for filling up quickly with water but also for that water to vanish fairly quickly but the volume of water overnight was obviously too much.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Nach math a rinn an Himalayan Balsam am bliadhna?
Hasn't the Himalyan Balsam done well this year? There must have been plenty of nitrogen in the last drop or two of rain because the change over the last two days has been remarkable. The species has just gone ballistic this year up the river, the most massive growth so far perhaps. The patch in the image is down by the railway bridge and is now up to 10ft high in places and still growing. Each year it takes over more of the river bank, pushing out the native species that are essential for the healthy relationship between the ecology of the water and the life forms on the river banks. Each year complaints are made to the authorities but nothing gets done. Perhaps the Highland Council ranger mannie could make a start with a scythe before the seed-heads start popping? Or failing that perhaps oor Graham could take a day or two off from the voluntary beach litter-picking and set aboot this monster relative of the Bizzie Lizze (even with the sledgehammer you've set aside for the Regal Graham?).
Many Gurnites that walk the river on daily basis will know the Maple tree at the bottom of the Khyber. This tree gives one of the finest autumnal displays to be seen along the riverside. Yesterday this observer caught a glimpse of the tree in the sunshine from further down the river and thought there was a bit of an early difference about it. This morning I had a chance to go for a closer look and yes there is a change in this tree. Nearby too a young Rowan looked as if it was content with the job for 2011 and preparing also to go into a different mode. All around however still plenty of full-blown greenery yet. Does anyone else feel, however, that the growing season is well on this year?
In a Morayshire town somewhere? Sounds a bit like Nairn really.
"The Caledonian benefits from a highly visible location in the centre of a vibrant Morayshire town. Offering daytime food the pub attracts both locals and visitors alike and has the attraction of the only late extension to 1am in the town centre, which consequently boosts weekend trade."
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Individual pictures here and full screen slideshow here.
Agus soidhnichean dà-chànanach - bilingual signs - aig Sainsbury's Inbhir Narann
UPDATE: reports Sainsbury's is still mobbed (20.10)
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
A report reaches the Gurn that a certain prominent Inverness supermarket store had inflatable hoardings in use today, one in the vicinity of Sandown and another at Gollanfield.
Looks like there might be worries that from tomorrow morning not so much Nairn based cash will be spent in the Inverness superstores?
"A COUNCILLOR has demanded that urgent action is taken against the threat of "menacing" seagulls in Inverness, after his pregnant niece was attacked by a bird.
Kenneth MacLeod, who represents Millburn on Highland Council, wants it to consider measures to control the gull population which could mean a licenced cull." More on the Courier
Anticipate more talk and eventually a press release? As we pointed out recently seagulls and the problems they cause in towns and cities are not new issues. It was being talked about here in Nairn in 1985 .