In the Nairnshire Telegraph of June 5th Iain Bain wrote an editorial around Councillor Michael Green’s efforts to bring back some life into the town centre. He broadly wishes the newly elected councillor well but believes he will have a tough time bringing his ideas into fruition although street markets may be easier to achieve than resurrecting the Home Holiday Week according to Iain:
“Fourteen years ago the couple of series of Street Markets were highly successful and did a lot to bring people to Nairn. We could see them working now, to combat the Saturday afternoon malaise which overcomes the centre of Nairn when everybody has got into their car and gone somewhere else.”
Iain goes on to talk about the considerable effort involved and the changed context in which we now live and then continues: “Will an independent Councillor be supported in his campaign by political opponents and is there any interest in the town from a local authority officialdom, increasingly viewing Nairn from the standpoint of
It would be very hard not to see Liz and Colin supporting any initiative from Michael to bring some life back into the town centre. However, getting a committee together to give up time and effort to bring back the home holiday week would take some doing, with most of the regular volunteering types usually maxed out over the summer but maybe others might step forward who might be inclined to contribute to Nairn’s civic pride for a few hours in the summer months.
We have to look beyond the local authority to ourselves if we want to get anything done now. The authority can help with advice but might hit you with a hefty charge for boots and equipment on the ground – witness the charges for installing the stage in Viewfield for the Big Lunch. We have to get more done for ourselves in Nairn whether “local authority officialdom” is in favour or not. Here our councillors can be effective leaders in “thinking out of the box” to enable the community’s aspirations to go forward. It shouldn’t be about what the Highland Council wants or doesn’t want us to do, we have to do things ourselves in spite of Invercentralism. Hopefully a new administration is a new start however, with some room for the
Highland periphery to swim freely in
its own civic waters again, creating the ideal environment for initiatives from the community grass roots.
The markets fourteen years ago that Iain Bain refers too were one off events, this observer believes he is correct when he says that sums of public money were involved in staging them. Such largesse is now a thing of the past, austerity Nairn might not see the like of that for some time so perhaps we should be thinking of a different kind of market? A weekly market for residents of Nairnshire to buy and sell their produce and goods? There may be some opposition to this from some shopkeepers but bringing people into the town for markets would benefit them too. There are large pavement areas in the town where stalls could be physically put up with little difficulty and such an undertaking could even be tried later this summer. There would be other sorts of difficulties, someone would have to apply for a market licence under the Civic Government Act and planning permission may be involved as well but the support of local councillors might smooth those hurdles. Perhaps that sort of market is not what Michael has in mind though. We await developments with interest.