Thursday, May 16, 2013

Michael Green on Nairn South: "this is a serious issue and it needs to be resolved to the satisfaction of Nairn’s largest employer."

Up for discussion again at the Planning, Environmental and Development Committee was the thorny subject of Nairn South. The Council planning high heid yins pointed again to an existing traffic assessment that would allow for 320 houses on the site. Michael Green made a plea for a rethink after the first and each subsequent batch of houses are built. His proposal for a new traffic assessments every 100 houses found favour with the committee and he also raised other concerns that many gurnites will have heard before over previous months and now years. 

The town’s three Community Councils don’t want this development until the infrastructure, including a bypass, is in place. Michael Green spoke on the behalf of many people in Nairn on Wednesday in the Council chamber at Glenurquhart Road as he reiterated what the West, River and Suburban CCs and many others feel. Here’s what Michael said:

“In Nairn this is not a popular development – It’s not! Folk are just wondering why it appears to put the cart before the horse when we are having a development on this scale proposed when we don’t have the bypass. The logical thing to have done here would have been to have had the bypass and then you could have looked at a development which with the bypass could cope with the traffic problems. That brings me round to the two main areas of concern which Brian and Malcolm will have heard many, many times from many people. 

The first one is the inability of the local infrastructure to cope with the proposed increase in traffic. Now as was shown in the overhead, there’s currently Balblair Road and Cawdor Road these are two old fashioned B class roads and they have to deal with traffic, and I’ll just Labour this – a few points here: the Queens’s Park housing estate, the hospital, the Nairn County football ground, several old peoples homes, the new Broadleigh housing development, the Council technical department, Gordons Sawmill and a busy garden centre - all back and forth into the town centre. At the narrowest point where Cawdor Road and Balblair Road merge there is a one lane choke point. This is effectively a chicane and even as it stands just now it is a real bone of contention with people because there are tailbacks developing on either side at certain times.
So when I read that the traffic impact assessment states that the infrastructure can cope with the increase in traffic from such a development, myself and many others don’t really agree and feel that this increase in traffic will result in making an already difficult and tricky situation much, much worse and equally importantly: it could start the creation of new rat runs. Rat runs in an urban development could have very serious consequences.

So on the 1st point and I think it has been well documented and the officials agree it, I would like to propose we have a pause and review after the 1st hundred have been built, for a new traffic impact assessment plus local consultation.

The second area of major concern lies around the impact the proposed development will have on Gordons. Gordons Sawmill has been established for well over 100 years. They’re the biggest employer in Nairn. There’s over 100 direct employees and probably a similar amount in related jobs. Now they’ve raised concerns that the development could not only hamper their future business expansion but could threaten the viability of their current business. Their concerns are around noise levels and mitigation measures. Now the strategic master plan states that the developer should be responsible for noise mitigation measures. For example bunds and acoustic fences to ensure that noise levels do not exceed 45 decibels during the day and 25 at night.

Now, Environmental Health have now stated and I quote: “In assessing the statutory nuisance the Councils will be required to take into account several considerations including nature and character of noise and not just compliance with an agreed noise.”
 I welcome the agreement that we will work together to find a solution to this. I don’t think that I need to go into much more technical detail other than to agree, as we are well aware that this is a serious issue and it needs to be resolved to the satisfaction of Nairn’s largest employer.”


Anonymous said...

The race track under the railway bridge will result in an accident with many cars approaching it at too great a speed in order to get through. There is limited vision of oncoming cars due to the gradate of the road on either side. I hate to say this in a town that suffers from so many but traffic lights would be a safer solution

The road is also the main route from the town to the hospital and that potentially means ambulances have to get through this hazard

A 100 new houses could mean 200 cars, more in households that have teenagers living at home, the tail backs could be horrendous at peak times

IF I had a say I would want the junction under the bridge addressed before any new south developments went ahead. A new bridge is the obvious but expensive solution

Spurtle said...

The planners that say that the Cawdor Road can cope with 300 extra houses are the same planners that have allowed piecemeal development further and further along the Lochloy road, with subsequent impact on traffic levels trying to use the A96/Lochloy road traffic lights.

Unfortunately those charged with ensuring that planning applications cause 'no net detrimental effect' on the existing road network seem to come from a very different planet, in transport terms, to everyone else who would be impacted by new developments.

If you explained the circumstances surrounding the proposed developments at Nairn south to a primary school child, even they would frown with disbelief at the ideas for dealing with the increased traffic levels.

Nairn is being choked as the result of ill-considered decisions made on traffic matters.

Anyone who thinks that you can build as many houses as is being proposed (by either or both camps) ,without a new bridge over the railway, cannot expect to be taken seriously.....unfortunately for us, not only do they get taken seriously, they get paid for it

The Road Runner said...

Good on you Spurtle, the truth hurts & your bang on about the planners, while we are on the subject of roads, I had a wee walk last night up to Sainsbury's & low & behold there back working on that bloody roundabout that leads into the store, who ever designed it should get a mighty good kick up the ****, now it does not take rocket science to work out this is a very busy road with plenty of heavy goods vehicles passing each day, what bright spark in the traffic management did not have enough sense at the planning stage to leave enough space in the 2 lanes for those drivers heading east & for those who may wish to turn into the supermarket, but I suppose it keeps the road workmen happy as its usually at night time when they do the repairs & which will probably be paid in overtime, I would love to know to date what has been spent on that roundabout alone? I bet its a fortune !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Allowing 100 hundred houses before a further assessment will kick off the development and then there will be no stopping it. Who really benefits from such development? Nairn is finished!,never mind the roads what about the pressures everywhere else on all of our infrastructure and resources.
How can a larger an larger population be of benefit, where is the employment? a bypass will give the go ahead to more and more of these developments, the fact is that the existing new developments that are currently causing all the problems were a long term strategy to effectively force a bypass to enable yet more housing schemes in the future. Surely Tornagrain will be taking the strain of any real need for yet more housing, lets face it' it would at least be a shorter commute for everyone to get to work and the shops.

Anonymous said...

Much mention is made of the traffic using Cawdor Road and the impact additional houses would have - but what about the poor pedestrians who have to use this route. It's bad enough at the moment, what would it be like with more traffic?