Sunday, January 13, 2013

More notes from the River CC meeting on Wednesday – home-grown powerpoint, funding, houses, cemetery, enigmatic invitation, social club hours extension

Quite a lot happened on Wednesday night that we haven’t had a chance to post yet, so here goes. The meeting started with a powerpoint presentation. The talk lasted over an hour but at least it was of local provenance (instead of the Glenurquhart Road variety) and was a guest appearance of local resident Sam Eccles at the request of Councillor Simon Noble. It was a follow up to Simon’s presentation when he discussed possible projects for the Council. See here for more details on that one.
Sam spoke about Community Consultation and how to go about it in innovative ways. She showed images of places where folk had got their act together to improve their communities. West Kilbride was once place that featured in her talk.. She then made suggestions on how to get funding for projects – e.g. up to 10K from awards for all. Gurnites may recall that NICE recently were awarded 10K from them for a study on the old social work buildings.

On a personal level this observer feels that Nairn is no way as far down the pan as some other far more unluckier locations, where such community consultation has been necessary and had a positive impact. Here we have four Highland Councillors and is it nearly thirty community councillors representing the town? If they don’t know what people want or would like to see done then we are lost. I can’t see any voluntary or full-time paid facilitator being any better than the combined worth of our elected representatives, 30 assorted CC watchdogs  and other activists that are working for the community out there in our town. Yes, we should do everything we can to keep things as they are and improve on them but we need action not talk. For instance, can the community councils organise a public meeting please to see if enough people want to get together to try and set up a recycling centre à la Moray Wastebusters? Anyway, perhaps some good funding initiatives that might create work will come out of River CC’s deliberations here.

Stephanie Whitaker, River CC secretary, had received notice of a meeting of all the seven Nairnshire community councils to be held on the 30th of the month in the form of a letter from Dick Youngson. The meeting is to discuss “locality planning”. There was some discussion about what locality planning actually meant. The river folkies decided that they would seek clarification about what the meeting was about and decided that they they would ask for more information at the joint CC meeting on the 23rd. Regular readers will recall how River CC reacted badly to a proposal to extend a regular meeting of the town's three CCs to include the four country councils, more here. A member of the audience googled the phrase "locality planning" and found a link to the NICE website. Mike Henderson asked if NICE had called the meeting. Tommy said, “We can bring it up on the 23rd and we can get a straight answer there. I think that’s the best way round it.”

Fred Holmes asked Liz if there had been any progress on the provision of a new cemetery. She said no but that Granny Barbour's Road was the only site being considered and that it needed to get moved on quite quickly. 

The Council discussed the planning application for 24 affordable houses at Lochloy. Tommy said that he had no problem with the application. Stephanie Whittaker said: “I’ve no problem with the houses but that it extends the amount of cars that will be coming out on that road. And when we spoke to the men from BEAR, Transport Scotland, they had no idea of the amount of houses that are in Lochloy, they didn’t know[…] and originally it was just a little country road.”
Simon Noble, a Lochloy resident spoke too: “It is part of the development which is almost laid out ready for the buildings to go ahead. There’s no shock about it. The only thing I would say is that there was always an intention to do two things that looks as though they have vanished into the ether. One was there was always the intention to be a school.”
Tommy then interjected to point out that a space for a school was still on the plan.
Simon then continued: “OK, and the other thing was there was always intended to be a bridge over the railway to connect with the roundabout at Sainsbury’s." 
There was then some talk of the need for this bridge and conditions on historical planning points that were found on archive plans of how the bridge was to only have been of the pedestrian and cycle variety.
The river folkies agreed to write to the Highland Council that they had no objections to the houses but were concerned at traffic levels in the area.

River CC also had no problems with the licensing extensions for the former Social Club buildings.

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