Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Charrette - Chief Scottish Government planner - "Was it you that was in the kaftan?"

There’s a lot of Charrette material on the Gurn just now, please scroll down for other articles. This observer feels that perhaps Gurnites would appreciate some extracts from what the Scottish Government’s chief planner Jim McKinnon had to say to those gathered in the Courthouse last night. After his speech he fielded questions and there was no shortage of the usual material that has been the mainstay of the battlefield that has been local politics when it comes to Sandown for many years now. If time permits this week we’ll try to give you the most of Jim’s speech plus his encounters with some of the usual suspects. Here we go them with Jim's opening:

“It’s an absolute pleasure to be here, some of you might know that I grew up just along the road in Forres. I’ve got a great affection for Nairn, my first Latin teacher came from Nairn and I still tremble at the thought of him, and I can still decline amare and dominus, not as quick as I used to but I can still do it. Nairn I think is a nice town, I like Nairn. It’s got great golf courses and I can recall many really enjoyable evenings at the Ballerina. I don’t know whether it still functions as a music venue.”

At this point Oor Sandy made an intervention:

“You’re showing your age now,” he said.

“Was it you that was in the Kaftan?” Replied the Holyrood planning top gun.

He continued; I will also remind you that Nairn County are trailing Forres mechanics in the Highland League at the moment. I recall Nairn as a very vibrant small town and arguably less so now. Although I know the Council has put in a lot of money into improvements in Nairn but, you know, pretty much like any town, any city in Scotland, so much of the modern development you see fails to gladden the eye or lift the spirit and that is why we are here tonight. To start a process that gives you the opportunity to shape the future of Sandown. How it looks, how it feels and how it functions…”

more later Gurnites.


did he inhale said...

Ooh... sounds like we'll get prince Charles visiting the new town at Sandown making approving royal noises whilst chomping on one of his very expensive biscuits.

We're just so lucky that we're getting the open spaces around Nairn built on. It'll make it seem much more settled and civilised when we get wall to wall housing all the way from here to Inverness

APTSec said...

One of the reasons that I have worked so very hard to raise awareness of planning issues is that I feel that people should be genuine opportunities to become involved in key decisions that may affect their lives for years to come. Of course not everyone is going to have the same idea as to how an area should look or whether or not it should grow. But everyone should be able to influence the decision making processes.

I attended the Charrette for Tornagrain and the Enquiry by Design process for Nairn South. I was not happy with my experiences. Although it must be said I was impressed at the start of the very first day of the first charrette meeting I attended but after that I just became more and more ill at ease.

I am concerned there was not enough advance notice of what was happening at this Sandown charrette. People lead busy lives and need time to prepare and make arrangements to attend. An Advert in the 'Nairnshire' on the day it starts is not early enough.

I understand that invitations were sent to groups, such as community councils but it is not clear whether a detailed timetable was sent with the invites.

I am not sure if (hopefully when) posters were put up last week(library, service point, community centre?).

I would be most interested to hear what attendees thought of their time at these meetings. For example;

Was a record taken of who had attended?

Was a record kept of each of the views that attendees expressed?

(Just trying to see how the council could demonstrate that how and where in the ultimate design views had been taken on board)

Who was in charge of the meetings?

What happened in each of the sessions? Did people sit together in one big group or several smaller groups?

Did whoever was in charge at the meeting take on board all views without comment or criticism or was it explained to people at the time that some things would not be possible - e.g. Nairn's answer to Disneyland?

Why did they have to set out the timetable in 'planning speak'? If this example from the charrette timetable, "Exploring Sensitivities & Capacity for Design Responses",is an example of the language then I would find that obscure and somewhat inaccessible.

Did the meetings attract a broad range of people from the community (various age ranges, occupations)?

I have met, spoken to and had written contact with Mr Mackinnon on several occasions. Nothing in these communications with Mr Mackinnon, however courteous and pleasant the dialogue may have been, has given me any hope that the public have any real significant influence within land use planning matters.

I sincerely hope that Nairn's experience of this charrette is a positive experience, and that the outcomes will not leave many parties thoroughly disillusioned.