Friday, November 30, 2012

Common Good unrest in Inverness

"New bypass may dip into city common good fund" states the front page of the Courier and in an article full of facts and figures you can also read "Inverness councillors, some of whom voted for the bypass route, are trustees who decide how the common good fund is distributed."  
A bit of  a stushie is brewing, the Courier also has a couple of letters on the subject. John West of the West Link Protest Group states in his correspondence: 
" We must question the position of Highland Councillors to pontificate on Inverness matters and to spend funds specifically bequeathed to Inverness. 
These trustees are not fulfilling their remit but preferring to bolster their political positions."

There also the suggestion of a conflict of interest in Mr West's letter should an application to support the relocation of recreational areas that will be affected by the by-pass be received. Now, plenty of reading material in the Courier if you have a copy  nearby or have friends or neighbours that buy it. What is interesting to this observer is that John West's letter contains a few phrases that you might have seen articulated in Nairn over Common Good issues. 
There is a big difference of course, Inverness's Common Good is cash and asset rich unlike Nairn. Here we have often heard the claim that the control of  the local Common Good should be taken away from Highland Council and given back to the people of Nairn. One wonders if similar views can find momentum in the Highland capital and even whether discontent with Glenurquhart Road could even lead to demands one day for an Inverness Council? 


Common Better said...

This should be another warning to Nairn.

It is a further example of the tendency of Highland Council officials to think - or assume - that they can "raid" Common Good funds or assets to help pay for public-sector infrastructure projects. The attempt to sell off Sandown was driven largely by such thinking.

At that time some voices warned of the risk that some of the money raised could end up being used to pay for dualling part of the A96 to the airport (on the grounds that this would be of benefit to the people of Nairn!).

Now the same tactic is being tried in Inverness: officials seem to think it is appropriate to use Common Good money to underwrite the costs of relocating amenities that will be destroyed or built-upon by the proposed Link road.

Such situations underline how important it is to have a clear separation between those who are trustees of the Common Good, and those responsible for planning and promoting local development and infrastructure. At present, there is a blurring of that boundary and a serious conflict of interest.

Graisg said...

@JW Thanks for your comment, it takes us into specifics about an issue we are not very familiar with however and we feel that we would be very much out of our depth therein.
We will watch the issue with interest however.