The three recurring hot items mentioned in the headline were just three of the topics debated at the joint community councils meeting on Wednesday night. Dick Youngson, chairing the meeting addressed Community Councillors from all the Nairnshire area and also those from Croy and Ardersier. He commenced by outlining the situation with the presently empty social work building facing the A96:
“Fortunately it is still standing and it is a very bonny and historic building, it’s really quite a feature in Nairn especially on the A96. If we develop, or get a company to develop that, ourselves and make best use of it. They are all sorts of useful organisations and businesses that can actually occupy it. So it starts off finding who is interested in using it or getting into it, before we start, because NICE have done a lot in the design side of it. But it is really making sure that we are all involved in how things are designed and how things are used. The Council are quite enthusiastic about us or a group taking over this building. They are quite happy to give it at a nominal price as well if we can be seen to be doing something positive.”
Dick went on to talk about the area around the building and it’s importance to Nairn as a car park. He went on to outline how this area could be improved with stone saved from the old Community Centre for this purpose. He thought there were obvious flaws with the parking in Nairn though, he went on:
“It is not very well sign posted. Visitors are almost through Nairn before they realise they have passed the main parking in the High Street. More signage was needed along with better access according to Dick.
Dick then outlined how it was important to get investment into the High Street to persuade owners of empty properties above the shops into town centre flats, he explained that government funding was available for Town Centre regeneration.
Dick moved on to housing in general: “We are not doing very much with anything locally about housing and allocating housing to Nairn people or local people. It’s very much taken out of our hands unfortunately and we get quite a lot of people from further afield coming in and occupying the flats and things that are developed. Really we should have a much stronger, better say in the allocation and the provision of housing. We don’t necessarily want a lot of developers coming in and putting up housing schemes – property to sell. We actually want to put up much more property for rent and affordable ownership and plots and sites that self build. If we can sort of take quite a bit more to do with it and look again at the architecture, how it all looks and fits It’d be far better than having developers have the major say in how it actually happens because we don’t want the Sandown type as it was planned with Deveron. And we are now faced with
South Nairn which is going
almost the same way but it hasn’t yet been decided. The Community Councils have
all responded and we’ve said: “Look, until we get the services, the road
systems and the safe access we can’t really support Nairn South, and there it
Dick then had a question for the meeting: “Are you supportive of us doing a lot more with housing and having a far better and greater say and perhaps steering funding towards the development of property to rent at affordable rates, housing associations which would actually work with us as communities? The way that
Inverness has gone with the developers putting up schemes at the back and
south side, it looks pretty awful. We want to keep Nairn as an attractive town
within the bounds of what is required in the way of housing.”
More on how the meeting responded to Dick’s question coming soon on the Gurn.