Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Derelict" Alton Burn Hotel - concerns expressed to Police at Suburban CC meeting

The Subbie's meeting in the Academy on Tuesday night was not all about the South Nairn planning application (althought the Gurn intends to return to what was said on that over the next few days). There was also discussion on a variety of local topics. Here's what was said about the state of the former Alton Burn Hotel:

Dick Youngson told the Police Representative at the Suburban CC meeting on Tuesday night that the old Alton Burn hotel “is really a pest for quite a lot of us in that area.” He asked the police to help his organisation to put pressure on Highland Council planning to get onto the developer to do something about it. Dick was worried that the insecure building could be set on fire.

The police rep stated: “We had two calls down there last night, again they scarpered when we got there. We caught up with the main group of kids a wee while up the road”
Dick added: “Every night they’re down.”
The constable said he would add that to their briefing plan and try and get down there a bit more when out on patrol. 
Dick mentioned that there was not a lot they could do because there were so many routes in and out.

Graham Vine then intervened: “I understand anecdotally that in fact the developers are being held up by the Highland Council who won’t give them a straight answer about traffic access. So I think if that is correct it is actually the Highland Council who are causing the problem rather than the developer.  

Dick agreed: That’s right we must do this through planning because it is the access onto the A96, they’re being asked to fund a bell-mouth junction. In the days when it was an hotel all the traffic came along Alton Burn Road beside you and down off the main road really without a lot of problems. I know Sandown Farm Lane is single track and it is used as a rat run but it is a question of who should pay for this safer bell-mouth.”

Graham Vine then said: “When you consider that Transport Scotland were insisting that that Road actually had to be closed 12 months ago. And as you say it was a 30 bedroom hotel with a 100 odd person dining room. How are a dozen houses going to create more traffic?”

“At the moment traffic can at 60 m.p.h. along that, right down until it joins the junction with Alton Burn Road,” said Dick. “It’s a de-controlled area and a lot of the traffic does move at High Speed."

West CC’s Brian Stewart then joined the debate on this item with a further suggestion for the police : “Of course what Graham did just say is absolutely right, there is a kind of stalemate at the moment because Highland Council planners are trying to twist the arm of the developer to extract a substantial chunk of money to do whatever road works the Council seems to think is desirable and of course the developer who has done his arithmetic on what he was intending to build is kind of digging in his heels and saying, “No I’m not going to contribute a whacking great additional sum of money towards a road scheme. That debate is going to run and run and we’re not going to solve it tonight. 

I was just going to suggest under the police heading, given that we all recognise that there is a problem with what is now effectively a derelict, abandoned building, pending any eventual rebuilding or development or the resolution of this complicated argument about roads and access and all the rest. I wonder whether it would be useful for you as the police to say to Highland Council because it is insecure, because it is a risk, because there are safety and other hazards, is there a way in which the Council can, either themselves, or in collaboration with the developer, put up effective barriers around the site such that young kids, fire starters or whoever, ne'er-do-wells certainly can’t get access to the building." 

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