Friday, February 10, 2012

Local press review or “Do you feel well and truly charretted?”

A chance for a leisurely look back at Iain Bain’s editorial this week and a remarkably incisive and articulate piece it is (the hand at the helm of the Leopold Street Thunderer truly at the top of his game). He begins:

“And was last week’s exercise in design engagement everything it promised to be, or do you just feel well and truly charretted after three days intensive discussion of the future of the Sandown Lands and the future of Nairn?”

Iain weaves many of the current strands of local opinion together and questions how much development might happen anyway given the current economic climate and that Lochloy isn’t even finished yet either.

There is one element to Iain’s analysis that this observer has heard reflected on the street too:

“Highland Council is desperately trying to restore the credibility of its planning process after what has been a debacle at Sandown. This exercise is spiced up by the real political needs of present councillors who intend standing in an election now only three months away. Their record is tainted with what has been a failure at Sandown and the council is leaning heavily towards its critics whose views eventually won the day. That was the nature of last week’s charrette process.”

Here at the Gurn we have thought for a long time that Sandown would go all the way to the ballot box and maybe with a strong bite too. It remains to be seen if the charrette has taken any of the toxicity out of the issue? Will the public give a favourable reaction at the public meeting in the Golf View on the 29th (master of ceremonies, Jim McKinnon, Chief planner to the Scottish Government) or will it all go badly. This observer detects that some of the more belligerent folk upset with Sandown issues may have calmed a little but others are still deeply concerned and will probably want to air their views.

Concerned about Sandown is Heather Corran who has a letter in the Nairnshire this week. She states: “These lands should be developed, but not necessary for housing. We need sustainable income generation for Nairn, not a short term boom leading inevitably to bust.” A good point from Heather and there are still those that are opposed to any housing on Sandown and wish to see the area kept as green space. Can that voice crystallise, articulate itself and gather momentum for the meeting on the 29th ? And what happens if no developer can be found for any of the phases at Sandown? How does the Common Good make any money out of the Sandown lands in the short term with the debt on the Community Centre gathering interest all the time.

To the Common Good then and Brian Stewart too has a letter in the Nairnshire. A correction and an apology from the former diplomat: “I was wrong to say that the Highland Council’s corporate manager William Gilfillan, has been unwilling to discuss the subject of the Common Good with the people in Nairn.” Brian is looking to a meeting soonest however with William appearing before the massed ranks of the usual suspects at a joint Community Council meeting. Sandown & the Common Good - two issues that have never gone away.

Two more letters in this week’s Nairnshire, Liz takes a pop at Oor Graham over roads cash. She gets intae our libdem mannie for claims in his letter last week. Another letter this week too from Colin Macaulay strongly refuting some of the claims about how Independence would adversely affect Scotland.

The Nairnshire Telegraph, streets ahead of the rest of the dead tree media when it comes to local information and views.

(Spurtle, stop reading this, your subscription has been cancelled)

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