Monday, April 29, 2013

"The problem we’ve got is that we seem to be quite successful in solving problems ourselves. It’s been easier to ignore us and just let us get on with it."

Tonight, another few paragraphs describing some of the debate at the Combined CCs meeting held last Wednesday night. Just after Brian Stewart made points about regeneration which mentioned NICE and a Suburban Councillor railed against Sainsbury’s (he perceived a very negative effect on the town centre since they came), the meeting moved on with a few contributions that could almost be the distilled essence of where the Community Council usual suspects, members of NICE and the many, many more concerned citizens of our locality are at the moment in their efforts to redress the democratic deficit that has progressively, over recent years, taken away much of Nairn’s ability to decide it’s own affairs in this new millennium.  Perhaps not all dissenters are pulling together at the same pace and there are suspicions here and there but all realise the direction that they have to go in. Many gurnites are avid students of these matters and this observer believes, would back much of the sentiment reported in the following paragraphs and the potential road map, admittedly rather nebulous at the moment, to redress the situation.

Simon Noble said: “I’m glad Brian knows what NICE is doing, because certainly I haven’t heard, there are a lot of us that haven’t heard what NICE is doing at the moment.”
Alistair Noble began to respond but Simon interrupted, he continued: “Before you start, the point I wanted to make is that actually for the regeneration and really for the restoration of something about the town centre you are not battling with the likes of Sainsbury’s, in fact Sainsbury’s is doing us a favour because it’s stopping us leaking out to Tescos in Inverness for a start, what you are battling with in all the High Streets is the Internet and a lack of the businesses that actually people want to go and visit in the town, and my view would be for any kind of regeneration to be worthwhile it has to be something that you know is going to be sustainable. Although there are pots of money here there and everywhere to do certain things are not to be spurned, they are not the answer either. What needs to be focussed on is some kind of development which actually draws businesses to the town who are interested in developing their businesses and will draw customers in. That’s a really tall order and it’s not going to be easy in the short term. “

Graham Kerr then stepped into the debate: “There’s some good points been made there. The other point I’d like you to realise is that there’s maybe not just the need for the number of shops we’ve got now people are buying from the Internet. Some of the shops might have to go so we have to look at converting these to some other use.”

Alistair Noble then got the chance to respond to Simon: “The whole thing, all we are trying to do is build community capacity. Unless we get community capacity […] every time we disagree with each other, fall out with each other or criticise each other we end up just losing out. NICE is doing its best. It’s all we can do. It takes time, we have to consult, there is a survey out. I hope everyone fills in the survey about the Social Work building.

We are in a Catch-22, if we don’t do something with the Social Work building we don’t have credibility. If we do something with the Social Work building and people don’t like it we have no credibility. It goes round in circles, so you have to just have to keep plodding on but the whole thing that is very clear to me and to echo what you are saying Simon is that this has got to be recurrent revenue and it has got to be Nairn’s fair share of all the recurrent revenue. And I’ve been banging on about that for the last 20-30 years. And the big sums that we are not getting are around Council Spend and around Health Spend and within that amount of money, we are talking millions, then you start to run businesses and have local employment which is where we are fundamentally coming from. So it just takes time, it takes effort.

 The feeling outside Nairn, believe it or not, or greater Nairnshire, is that we probably do understand locality planning than a whole lot of other places within Scotland. The problem we’ve got is that we seem to be quite successful in solving problems ourselves. It’s been easier to ignore us and just let us get on with it. I’m very keen that this amount of brain power and knowledge in the room that we focus very hard on making sure that we get our fair share of our rates and our taxes and everything else that we feed in, and within that start to generate local businesses and local jobs and local job opportunities. So it is a kind of difficult time but my gut feeling is that these meetings and people’s understanding of what is going on, and other people’s perception of how Nairn is getting on is changing in a very positive way. […] If we know how much Nairnshire takes in and how much is recycled in Nairnshire and within that is jobs and job creation. That money disappears out of Nairn then you have lost it effectively. And all this discussion about whether it is Tescos or Sainsbury’s or the High Street or the Internet is the real world that we are living in but, where we can influence it is by making sure that we get the things we should be getting and trying to make best use of that with the money locally. So it is a difficult time and we’ve just got to work our way through it.”


Anonymous said...

There's maybe hope for retail in the form of the High Street as having observed our three fuel stations (Co-op (West End), Grants, and Sainsbury's) plenty of motorists seem unconcerned about cheaper fuel and still use the outlets that charge more (Sainsbury's is always the cheapest?)
Maybe Grants has snob value, or the Co-opie has Fair Trade petrol? More likely I can't be ar**** shopping around, I'll just fill up here prevails?

Brian Turner said...

"what you are battling with in all the High Streets is the Internet and a lack of the businesses that actually people want"

What we're battling with is the biggest economic crisis for a century, that has been running almost 5 years.

However, the high street is keeping up remarkably - most other towns in Britain have suffered terribly.

I've long suggested a business IT centre in the town, but for something to work depends not just on supply, but demand.

Anyone for dial up? said...

Absolutely brilliant idea for a location for an IT centre Brian, especially as BT bypassed the High St in the recent fibre roll out and have stated they won't be installing it for High St businesses