I refer to your article about the “
Private Road: No Vehicle Access” sign at Kingsteps. I
would like to clarify the situation and inform of the reasons that the private
track owned by Brodie estates has been closed to vehicles.
There are several reasons I am closing the road to vehicles. Over the years Brodie Estates has received complaints from local residents. These complaints include dog walkers who have failed to control their animals, dog fowling, overnight parking, loud music and other disturbances at night, vehicles blocking access, and people trespassing on residential properties. I have been notified that hunters are using my road and the parking to shoot wildfowl. I own Culbin sands and its shootings rights, I rent these to the RSPB on the condition that shooting is not allowed. I abhor wildfowl shooting and will not tolerate guns being used or crossing my land for this purpose. Shooting of wildfowl has even taken place in the car park. When residents complain to the police about the shooting or other infraction they are informed that officers can not intervene as the property is private. Yet when I complain to the police they inform me that the property has many sign posts and rubbish bins and other indications that it is public, that they can not intervene to uphold the rights of private property is such circumstances.
The problems have been steadily getting worse. Since the council tarred the road the number of vehicle users has increased. Since the Forestry Commission has started charging for parking at its own car parks, these numbers have reached unreasonable proportions. With this increased usage, complaints to Brodie estates have grown.
The solution was to place a sign post clearly indicating the property to be private. The purpose was to discourage access by vehicle and clarify the situation for police intervention from complaints. The first thing I did upon erecting the sign was visit Nairn police station and enquire if it was now possible for them to intervene. They informed that the situation was too complex, that the council signs and facilities indicated one thing, my sign post another. According, I wrote to the Council asking that they remove all their signposts and rubbish bins. They have removed the rubbish bins but not as yet the sign posts. My sign post was not meant to prevent access - it was not a barrier. Its purpose was to discourage, reduce numbers and allow complaints to be handled by the authorities. Naturally, if drivers trespassed but were respectful of the neighbourhood, kept their dogs on leads, removed fowling, and they did not carry or use guns, block accesses, walk into peoples gardens or stay after nightfall there would be no cause for complaint. Brodie estates and the residents could have looked the other way. But the sign post would have given teeth to tackling any violation, to allow redress for any problem visitors.
In the wake of the extraordinarily irresponsible calls by counsellors at Nairn River Community Council this situation has changed. I read in disbelief as representatives called openly on the public to disrespect my right to private property. To ignore my sign. With the Provost using the internet to “tweet” comments on the vandalism of my sign, such as “What's worse putting up a sign to stop access to Kingsteps car park or painting it out?”, it was only a matter of time before the sign was irrevocably damaged. It is without surprises that I have noticed the sign has now been removed and stolen. With such public calls, no doubt the perpetrators felt like they had been acting with the authorities blessing. It now seems pointless to erect another sign. It would be disrespected and vandalised. According, I have been forced into the option of a gate. I have ordered a specific gate that allows access to pedestrians, horses and none motorised bikes, while denying vehicles. This gate is being custom built and shipped and will not be up until at least a month.
Access is closed only to cars (not walkers, riders or none motorised bicycles). For the users with cars there is a proper official parking next door, closer to Nairn, larger, right by the sea, and with better facilities. Both the Forestry Commission and the RSPB do not promote the parking at Kingsteps, rather they prefer visitors use the official parking at
. East Beach
The Brodies of Brodie have managed the Culbin sands for countless generations. We have continuously tried to preserve this coast line and have never publicly sought credit. We have always sat in the background letting others enjoy it. We are very proud of our beach and are trying to preserve it from development. To keep it natural, full of wildlife and beautiful. It was never my intention to stop access. I have always wanted others can see and enjoy my property. Pedestrians and horses are still permitted down my roads and tracks and on my beach. All I ask is that drivers park at the official
car park. East Beach
If Provost Liz McDonald believes that this is unsatisfactory, I am prepared to offer a compromise. I have been informed Provost Macdonald lives near Kingsteps, at Drumbeg. I am familiar with this area, it used to be Brodie estate holdings. I own Kingsteps Wood below Drumbeg that borders her property and my beach. If she doesn't mind car parks, unlike residents at Kingsteps, I propos that she builds a public car park by her house and I clear access from this to the beach.
I have been invited to attend the Nairn River Community Council of the 13th November at 19.30 in the Nairn Arts and Community Centre. I hope to answer any further questions there.
Alexander Brodie of Brodie,
Brodie Estates Office,