The “enquiry by design” had been expected to take place before the end of 2011 but nothing ever happened but finally the community have their chance to have a say on what they want to see happen on the Sandown lands. Oor Sandy is quoted in a Highland Council press release published on Monday:
“Convener Sandy Park said: “I am delighted that Jim Mackinnon, the Chief Planner for
So we have a sort of planning “top gun” to help us sort out a brief for Sandown. Hopefully the community will indeed turn out in large numbers for this important event. Plenty of us have had a gurn or two in the past over the Council’s previous way of going about things at Sandown now that we have the chance to make a few proposals ourselves it will be interesting to see how many folk do attend.
The Charrette could do with a bit more publicity however, there was a brief mention in the Nairnshire on the 17th but the Council’s press release on Monday must have come in too late for the Leopold Street Thunderer. There was no advert in the Nairnshire either so it has been a little difficult for the citizenry to be aware of this event that has been mooted for some considerable time now. It kicks off on Monday night in the Courthouse and according to the Press Release:
“The charrette will commence with a launch evening at on Monday 30th January at the Courthouse, Nairn which will be chaired by Jim McKinnon, Chief Planner at The Scottish Government. The Convener of the Council, Councillor Sandy Park, will be in attendance alongside the Chairman of the Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee, Councillor Ian Ross. Also in attendance will be Nairn Councillors Provost Laurie Fraser, Graham Marsden and Liz MacDonald as well as Council and Scottish Government officials.”
There then follows three days of various topics which you can slip in and out of as you wish. The Gurn has obtained a copy of the Charrette programme and you can see the schedule of events here. Something for everybody there, if you have any views why not get along to one of the sessions.
One group who will be making significant representations will be the Nairn Allotment Society. The group has had approval for 38 allotments next to the existing site at Sandown and has a waiting list that will fill the new plots immediately. The NAS have accessed European LEADER funding too. Community groups participating in the second phase of the Sandown plots also have applications in for funding. The group is slightly anxious that the previous postponements and any possible further delays in the outcome of the charrette may impact on the funding packages as, although they enjoy the active and willing support of the local councillors, they now have to go through the charrette process too. Part of the strength of our community and what makes Nairn such a nice place to live are the many active groups and societies that do so much for the town and surrounding area. Some experts believe that this kind of voluntary and social activity has a spin off in creating confidence in a community and thus economic growth.
The Allotment Society have made great progress over recent years, just look at the transformation of the derelict Mill Road site into a thriving social and horticultural hub. They aim (and this observer confesses here to being a member) to repeat that process again at Sandown with the active participation of other community groups which will enable many others to enjoy a horticultural experience with training provided. It would be a tragedy if further delays would jeopardise a project that offers so many potential benefits to the community.