Most Gurnites will know that we usually use first names for our four Highland Councillors but for the benefit of any new visitors, Colin is Colin MacAulay (SNP) you can see a screenshot image below of Colin in action at the meeting. This is what he said at Tuesday's planning meeting in Inverness that approved the South Nairn development despite a large number of objections from Nairn. You can watch the webcast here - the South Nairn application begins at around 18 minutes into the video. Colin was sitting at the top table as he is the South Planning Applications Committee Vice Chair. This is what he had to say:
"I’d just like to say, this is a major development for Nairn. It’s a particularly complex development for Nairn with a lot of constraints. It’s clear from the representations, and I’m a relatively new councillor but I don’t think I’ve seen such, you know, detailed representations in terms of the issues that have been raised. On the positive side I think that people can see that officers have looked at these and they’ve tried to come up with mitigating elements for each and every one of them. If it is a major development and I do think the decision made will be held to account for the decision in terms of how some of these mitigating factors come into play.
The major concerns that have been raised are about a lack of infrastructure, of narrow roads and so on. Our road systems are already congested, I have to say there was something inside me today that hoped that the bus would be stuck in a queue either on the A96 or going down
or even going out Cawdor Road. That didn’t happen but it does happen. There are log jams there
are narrow bits and pieces. The A96 itself can be horribly congested. The local
newspaper had that as a front page issue in terms of through the summer and it
clears but its there and its going to be added to by this development. I
mentioned Wellington Road, the roads round about particularly.
The water and sewerage systems, again there’s a view if they are not at capacity they are close to capacity. Again some of the objections referred to the pressure on the system but also of the waste water. Nairn’s one of these places where the manholes occasionally blow out and we’re left with the detritus from that. I read from the report that Scottish Water have raised no objections and they say if there is requirement for additional capacity then the developer will be responsible for these works. The proximity to a major
employer and again I appreciate members going out and spending time in the sawmill and seeing just how proximal that site is. It’s our biggest employer, our best employer, our longest standing employer. It’s a key element to Nairn and I think again any mitigating factors put into play have to protect that enterprise going forward. The Station Brae, again members walked past that and looked at the junction of
Cawdor Road and
Balblair. I thoroughly believe that that isn’t going to be sorted in any kind
of satisfactory way, except, I think it will, lights in there will make it
safer for cyclists, it will make it safer for pedestrians than it currently is
but it will add to queue times and I think people, if we approve today, will
have to put up with that."
In relation to this matter, the Gurn hears from one of our regular network of unreliable sources that the bus carrying the Councillors around the site visit parked up on or near Balblair Road and the Councillors were possibly asked not to get off because of the busy volume of traffic on the road. If this were the case it would be perhaps a little surreal due to the nature of the discussion that was to follow in Glenurquhart Road about the state of local roads etc. We have asked our four Highland members if this was the case. We also asked them to give us comment on the decision if they feel so inclined.