Sunday, March 17, 2013

Town Centres - Fort William getting a better deal than Nairn?

One of our readers has been reading a page on the Lochaber News website and is in a foul, gurny mood. Our correspondent tells us:

"£540,000 to refurbish Fort William's town centre (Cameron Square)!  Funny how Highland Council can produce over half a million of public money for that, while their only proposal so far for the regeneration of Nairn's town centre is to do some demolition then put up the site for sale (and/or sit on their hands while they see whether NICE can come up with a plan and a large pot of money)." Lochaber News article here. 

Our regular reader also stated: "Interesting that Ft William is also finding £5,000 of Council money to tart up their high street shop frontages, and £4,500 for floral displays.  Meanwhile in Nairn the only money for high street redecoration comes from Sainsburys, while the budget for local floral-displays has been cut  and there seems to be an expectation for volunteers to become involved."  

The article indicates that the floral desplays and the shop frontage work will come from the local discretionary fund and the  540K from Scottish Government funds for shovel ready projects, but one still cannot help but wonder if we have missed the boat here in Nairn for cash that might have helped NICE realise the Social Work building project and one or two other things in the town centre.


growtosow said...

after reading this i can see why they are not happy, it does look like we are being overlooked, it looks like we are going to have do more and more for our town, while HC sit back and let us do it for them.

soor grapes said...

Short memories. It wasn't so long ago that thousands of pounds were spent in Nairn revamping the High St pavements and the square, and wasn't there also money for shops to paint their fronts?

Fort William or Nairn our High Streets are finished in their present form. 2013 will see many, many shops on Nairn High St empty or for sale.

Toon Loon said...

@soor grapes. Was it sensible or necessary to dig up perfectly sound grey pavements and lay new pale yellow-beige paving slabs in Nairn High Street? Cost quite a bit of public money, but it was hardly a quantum leap forward in the regeneration of the town. Like the idea of replacing street lights, perhaps the money that is available could be better spent?

The money for shops to paint their frontages was extracted from Sainsburys. Has it been used?

If the town centre looks attractive, is accessible, and offers good value and decent facilities, then visitors - and with luck residents - will continue to use it. If we let it decline and decay, then yes, it will die. Is that what we want?

soor grapes said...

@Toon Loon

I've never supported the new street layout nor the new paving stones, just saying that a lot of money was spent on High Street

You can foolishly spend money like water on the High Street, new lights, shop fronts, parking etc, but you're not going to stop shops closing. This means less people are going to be attracted to the High St no matter how attractive it looks

High Street retail is in it's sunset years and is in it's death throes

Anonymous said...

In terms of functioning shops I would suggest that Fort William is in a worse state than Nairn and has been for some years.

I cannot fathom as to why Highland Council would want to spend money on any High Street, a lick of paint or a hanging basket is not going to turn around the economy or the huge changes that are taking place to the retail sector

I can only assume that people at the council only shop at their local High Streets and never buy goods on-line.

None of us seem to want our local shops to close but by the same token not enough of us actually shop in them to allow many of them to continue trading

No longer a case of use it or lose it, we've lost them!

Anonymous said...

Gee move to the Fort if you think it's going to be so wonderful after the council have upgraded the high street. Last time I was there what shops there were seemed to mostly sell C U Jimmy hats and tartan rugs, and it rains 3 days out of 4

Charles K said...

Fort William is the outdoor capital of the UK? Money is better spent down there where the tourists actually go?

Graisg said...

Re the Sainsbury shop front/facia and perceived difficulties in applying - can you e-mail us with more precised details please anon?

Train Spotter said...

Maybe Mr K would be so good as to list the fine shops that a tourist might see as they stroll along Fort William High Street, I'm sure the list must be near endless

I'm sure many Nairnites would make the effort to travel there if there were enough attractions (other than the Ben, the midges, and the near constant precipitation)

AuldSkater said...

Good grief, this comment thread is ridiculous.

It's hardly a competition between who has the worst high street and needs the money more, aim your ire elsewhere.

Charles K said...

Train Spotter, Atrractions: Ben Nevis (UKs highest Mountain), Glen Coe, Countless other munros, One of the UK's leading Ski resorts, Indoor Ice climbing wall, Uk's leading mountain bike trails (hosted World championships multiple times), many outdoor activity centres promoting: Kayaking, Gorge walking/Canyoning, Skiing, Also the: Great glen way, West Highland Way..

Train Spotter said...

@ Charles K

Not sure if you're a politician Mr K, but you managed to completely sidestep my question which was to list the fine shops that a tourist might see on the High Street in Fort William.

Charles K said...

Not sure.. but there are a couple of cracking pubs!