Dick chaired the meeting of the seven Nairnshire Community Councils last night and opened with his thoughts on many of the problems facing the area at the moment and how we could best look for sustainable solutions based on the traditional resources of the area. The planning system featured heavily in his intro. He said: " We tend to be sucked into development proposals, we spend a lot of time and effort in responding to planning applications and a lot of our responses are perhaps ignored. We never really feel very satisfied with the outcome or very rarely."
Nairn South, housing development, the A96 and the bypass featured in Dick's opening statement and he also pointed out: "A lot of these houses which developers are going to be putting up are not going to be affordable for a lot of people in this area. So we really have to think about housing which is appropriate for the people that are on waiting lists. It’s back to front with what Highland Council are proposing and developers."
Dick described a scenario where the local authority was running out of money and he felt that "nothing much was going to happen unless we boot it up with development companies that we have control over."
"Locality Planning" was the theme of the meeting and here Dick shares the radical ideas of Alistair Noble. There is a massive body of support building up behind this school of thought in Nairn. The test bed for such a development model will be the former Social Work Buildings in the town centre. If NICE succeeds there it will be game on for a whole series of initiatives that citizens can create and control for themselves.
More quotes from the meeting over the next few days.