Friday, September 06, 2013

Local campaigner Joan Noble takes a sharp look at the South Nairn traffic assessment.

Essential to any major development is a traffic assessment and the recent South Nairn decision was no different. Concerns were raised about traffic when the application was debated recently in Inverness but no one really took the opportunity to drag that assessment out into the daylight and poke it with a sharp stick. Local campaigner Joan Noble has been doing some of her own research into the data involved in the South Nairn assessment. She explained to the Gurn that the traffic counts were done in January 2011 – one of the snowiest and coldest Januarys in recent times. She goes on to quote official guidance for assessments which seems to back her view that it should have been done at other times.

Joan also attacks the assessment on a wide variety of points and technical grounds, again quoting official references to back up her point. Campaigners will be hoping that she has amassed some data to back up the common sense assertions being made by many Nairn residents who believe that the  traffic flows will simply be too much and too dangerous for the roads in the South Nairn area. In reference to the assessment date she also told the Gurn: “You may wonder what the suburbs of Liverpool, Bristol, Falkirk or Harrogate have in common with Nairn.” Her information has been passed on to Community Councils, Local Councillors, local newspapers and members of the Planning and Development Committee who will reconsider the decision on the 18th.

We went on to ask Joan a few questions. They are listed below with her responses in italics.

There have been a few planning stushies that have got folk upset in recent years, how does South Nairn compare on the local Richter Scale?

I think there have been varying opinions on such things as the desirability of population growth, the accuracy of projections, the  future role of Nairn  as potential dormitory to Inverness, or whether growth should follow employment opportunities locally.

These were all factors which perhaps divided opinions on Sandown, the Bus Station and  Delnies.  However this is about traffic congestion and the by-pass, so it’s affecting everyone day to day and a real bone of contention.  The 8 Community Councils in the area are united in their opposition, and I have to say I never thought we would have people marching in the streets.   Richter scale 9 I would say!

In recent years local councillors have shown themselves capable of mobilising last minute turn arounds. What are the chances of that happening again on the 18th?

There have already been doubts raised about the traffic reports at the PED and the Planning Committee, and my critique has gone to all PED members and our own councillors among others such as Community Councils, MPs and MSPs.  It’s pretty damning and I think they will have to find a solution, because it’s not going to go away.
Do you think it would be a step forward if future planning applications were delegated down to the new Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey area committee to decide rather than the larger "South Highland" planning committee which includes Inverness? 

Absolutely.  Although Nairn, as the second largest community in the Highlands should have it’s own committee. 

To have councillors from other areas traipsing through in a bus and having a quick look at the road, then voting against the stated wishes of all our Community Councils and many members of the public is a complete travesty, and makes a mockery of democracy.  They are simply rubber stamping the officials’ vision, which is more of a nightmare!

They will move on and we will have to live with the consequences of their daft ideas.

No comments: