NICE have proclaimed their achievement of reaching a membership of 1,000 on their facebook page. On the website however they have only received two comments on their proposals for the old social work buildings and are looking for input there. Of those two comments the one from Mandy Lawson offers some good suggestions around the "Transition Town" initiatives that are finding favour and a measure of success on the Black Isle and along the road in Forres: Mandy said:
"For instance what kind of public information messages might we want to communicate to tourists re Nairn as a waste aware ‘green town’, how will public toilets minimise energy, water and paper use( eg use of hand dryers) , will the proposed restaurant promote locally produced food, and thoughtful recycling , plus could outside landscaping include a community garden, edible plants, recycle bins and well designed cycle parking to encourage people to leave the car at home ( or even ‘Nairn bikes’ for hire- as they have in some cities – which the tourist office could help promote)"
It looks like Highland Council are set to work with NICE to try and find a new future for these buildings and surely we must all welcome this (even those with reservations about the organisation). This observer did hear one gurn that might become a sticking point however. One of our regular commentators suggested that if a restaurant were to be put into a building that was restored with public money then would that restaurant be receiving unfair help and then competing on an unlevel playing field with other restaurants in Nairn? Of course we have quite a lot of cafes and restaurants in the town. Some people think we have too many but isn't it better we at least have warm and inviting cafes rather than empty buildings? Good luck to Nairn's cafe society - long may they all stay open! Maybe we can promote ourselves as the ideal A96 stop for a bite to eat? Perhaps one more in the old social work buildings would even add to the profitability of the ensemble?
NICE state that document going forward to the Council on the 30th of this month will suggest approval of the initiative: " The paper will also suggest that the Council develops a partnership approach with NICE over the use of part or all of the footprint (detail to be further discussed with Nairn Elected Members) and that part or all of the footprint be offered to NICE on a ‘Right-to-Buy’ basis. The statutory period under ‘Right-to-Buy’ is 6 months, therefore the paper will state that NICE be given up to the end of July 2013 to prepare a detailed business plan."