Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday night police activity on upper High Street.

The scene around 21.10 on the High Street. A uniformed police officer could be seen inside the premises known as Partay Patrol. Shortly after this image was taken three men, presumably plain clothes officers, emerged from the close next to the shop, one of them was carrying a large manilla style envelope. They then left the scene in their vehicles. The vehicle in the foreground remained in situ however. 

Fresh fish for sale Thursdays 11.00 - 2.00 Nairn town centre

One of our regular unreliable sources informed us that there was some tasty fish for sale outside the old social work buildings. The mannie had been at the Street Market in the summer and had sold out, he told the Gurn that he'd been wanting to come back to Nairn on a regular basis for some time and now has another van which enables him to do that. There's a website here too. 

Policing priorities locally for 2014-17

Last night saw the first Ward Forum in Nairn for some considerable time. It was chaired by Liz and perhaps mindful of her own assertion before the last election that the Forum had been hijacked by Highland Council it took a different format both physically and procedurally. On the panel facing the gathered reps from the “usual suspects” and a few members of the public were Liz Cowie, the ward manager, Colin, Liz, Inspector Murdo MacLeod and Graham Clark the Scottish Fire Service station manager for this area. Laurie and Michael had submitted their apologies.

Murdo and Graham made their presentations and then the lion’s share of the meeting went to the rank and file sitting facing the chair and the visitors from the emergency services. In this article we are outlining what the Inspector had to say and the subsequent responses and thoughts from the floor.

The present ward policing priorities for Nairnshire are listed on this page on the Police Scotland Website. They are tackling anti-social behaviour, drug abuse and road safety. Inspector MacLeod told the meeting that he wished to try and facilitate a bit of discussion on what the priorities would be for the forthcoming period, he asked: “Do the current priorities and objectives reflect the local public safety and community concerns. What if anything should change? What inputs do you have to assist some of the priorities?”

One member of the public said that considering road safety was one thing that could lead to more deaths than other issues it might move up the priority list. The Inspector then spoke briefly of a few issues around road safety in Nairn including congestion, traffic lights failure, rat runs and parking issues in the town centre because the lack of a traffic warden. He want on to say that “Police Scotland would like to transfer the traffic wardens across to the Council, there’s a consultation process ongoing.”

Liz then said: “The Council are reviewing the traffic wardens and how to make it sustainable in the future.” When asked if that was specifically in Nairn or Highland wide she added. “Highland wide.”

When asked if she new when there would be an outcome on the review she said she didn’t know. Colin added: “It’s only been a few weeks since Sir Stephen wrote making clear that he doesn’t see traffic wardens as a part of his force.”

Tommy then mentioned the ongoing Highland Council traffic regulations changes for the town. Colin said that was a different consultation but Stephanie Whittaker was quick to state: “It’s no good putting in extra no-parking if you haven’t got someone to police it!”

Brian Stewart then made comment about the perhaps low-level nature of the priorities: “We’ve been lucky in Nairn that the general level of what might be called traditional crimes, breaking and entering, burglary, robbery, serious violence is thankfully pretty rare but it is still quite important that part of your remit should be crime prevention.”

Graham Vine then said: “Looking at that lot, anti-social behaviour probably is one of the most important things because that’s the one that impacts on most people. As far as drugs are concerned I wouldn’t be unduly concerned about the odd teenager having the odd spliff somewhere in the bushes but I would like to see any drug dealers being severely hounded." Graham then mentioned that he wouldn't like to see hit squads of traffic wardens coming from Inverness to scare shoppers away.

Inspector MacLeod replied to that: “Unfortunately that hit squad is down to two.” He moved on to ask again if the priorities were in the right area. The conversation moved on to drugs. Brian Stewart said:

“I worked for some years in areas to do with drug law enforcement and part of the dilemma is drawing the distinction between drugs in so far as they are a component of organised crime and actual serious criminal activity which goes into fraud and money laundering and all of that which is quite rightly a national as well as perhaps to some extent a local priority, that’s the dealing end of the spectrum. The drug users thing, drug abuse is as much a social welfare and a medical problem as it is a law enforcement problem. I would not see it as the most efficient use of police time to be spending your days or your evenings roaming the equivalent of the tenement blocks kicking doors down and seeing if somebody is actually consuming drugs. That is a problem but it is a social problem and it, broadly speaking, has the most detrimental effects on the people concerned. It’s not something which seriously affects public order, seriously upsets a wider community in the way that anti-social behaviour does or results in a serious risk of death of innocent people. I’m not suggesting that the death of drug addicts is not a tragic thing but that’s not really a police matter. My instinct having worked in South America, having been in places where it is a serious issue, I wouldn’t be that inclined to put it as high as it currently is in your priorities.”

Colin however was far more hawkish: “Can I just say that I think that if you live next door to a drug user or someone who is selling drugs and see the social damage that is done. I don’t have a difficulty if the police have reasonable suspicions and  have a warrant then they do kick down somebody’s door and address the problem absolutely seriously when they have that kind of thing.”

John Mackie also asked for the road safety aspect to be put higher: “Drugs is still a problem but I would suspect you will still target these issues. Road safety affects an awful lot more people and we are not just talking about parking in the High Street, we are talking about all sorts of things: kids running about on bikes with no lights in the winter is an issue. There are a lot of things, drunk drivers, the whole lot, the whole issue about road safety.”

Sheena Baker reminisced about a meeting in the Courthouse around 20 years ago when things were perceived to be much worse, she said: “You get waves of it.” She continued “I think anti-social behaviour, in all aspects, is very important and I think that should stay at the top. I think the very fact that it is at the top and we are where we are at the moment, it’s good, let’s keep it that way. Because if it becomes bad again…why it was such a big meeting was because it was actually at the stage where we had people coming to stay in the caravan site and things like that for a few nights, after one night they were going and that’s not what this town wants. This town wants to be a tourist town and welcoming, not only to its citizens but also to everyone else that also wants to come and visit it.”

Inspector MacLeod then gave everyone post-it notes to list their individual priorities and place them on a board in order of preference 1,2,3. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Suburban CC plea for office accommodation

On Tuesday night, the Chair of the Subbies, Dick Youngson, echoed similar frustrations aired recently at a River CC meeting. He said:  

"Everything is being done voluntarily and we are asking Highland Council for office accommodation in the Courthouse perhaps with phone and IT links where we can meet people centrally. We can’t really function properly just using our own houses for meeting rooms and things like that. It’s really not fair, I’ve got a room that is full of files – John has as well, he can’t even get into his garage for the same reason. We’re all ending up in the same boat. There’s so much on at the moment, we do need better facilities. We have to get something from Highland Council. We’re doing all this work for nothing, absolutely nothing and it takes up a lot of time.”

“It could be something that’s shared,” added John MacKie.

“We could share with all the community councils, even those on the periphery could actually come in and have meetings. It’s very important that we do get something, I know there are a lot of changes being made in the Courthouse and there are other teams and groups coming in. All we need is a sort of permanent meeting room for all our information. It is something we will be raising with Liz Cowie and the four ward councillors.”

Gurnmeister opinion: The "usual suspects" give their time freely to the community unlike our four Highland Councillors who are paid for their work. Some of them give up a considerable amount of their time too and possibly work just as hard and long as our Highland Councillors Laurie, Liz, Michael and Colin. Could  a room or two not be found in the Courthouse for the CCs to enable them to carry out their tasks more efficiently - after all the Courthouse and other Council buildings are public property and the Community Councils represent us too and are working on our behalf. An organisation like Highland Council, with its budget of hundreds of millions, could surely find a permanent office for Tommy, Dick and Rosemary and their colleagues who do so much on our behalf?

Mobile CCTV vehicle deployed in Tradespark

Constable David MacKay was at the Suburban Community Council meeting last night in Nairn Academy and he gave the Subbies a briefing on police operations and issues locally. He said: “On the behalf of our Inspector, he’s highlighted an issue, in particular for this Community Council area, regarding the Tradespark area, particularly with youths. So there have been a few actions taken by police that he’s asked that I highlight to you today.”

A little later into the meeting he continued on the issue of children misbehaving: “In the Tradespark area it is becoming more and more prevalent and I don’t know if it has been the last couple of weeks since the school holidays or has this been an ongoing thing, is it two children in particular? One or two bad apples spoiling the cart? I’m not sure but our Inspector is taking this very seriously, he’s offered his full support. Any information, anything you can provide us we are more than happy to investigate. With that in mind he has deployed the CCTV van. […] They have been up in the Tradespark area. There was another issue highlighted at the previous meeting regarding the empty cider cans that were left in a lay-by out Tradespark Road. The camera van has been deployed there; it’s been deployed all round the area.”

Constable MacKay said that weekend patrols had increased in the area too. “It seems to be this primary school age, the older primary school children seem to be involved.”

John MacKie then intervened: “The problem has been caused by the older ones.”

“Of High School age?” asked the Constable.

“Yes, it started during the school holidays. There was a crowd from out with Tradespark that appeared.” John went on to say: “There are quite a lot of elderly people in the area and some of them have been actually reduced to tears. It’s going on till 10 o’clock at night.”

Constable MacKay stated: “In a lot of circumstances, from a police point of view, fear of crime and the emotional attachment to being a victim of crime is very significant. It’s not something we would ever overlook.” He went on to say, “I don’t think it is exclusively High School kids because we have actually had an incidence which is quite unusual, a primary 7 youth has been charged with vandalism.”

Before finishing on this topic he went on to describe the police’s work with local schools that were very supportive and how officers were attached to different schools. He told how he had been invited into Rosebank by the headmaster the day before and had spoken to the children: “We had a wee chat to the kids and explained exactly the point we mentioned earlier on, the fear of crime. A lot of them engage very well with police, they are brilliant kids. We reinforce the issue of community, the fact that your school is a community and with that there are other communities, people still care about communities, that’s terrific to see and then sort of say, “how would you feel if it was your grandmother or somebody’s grandmother” And the kids are engaging and yesterday’s assembly was a very positive thing with the school.”

The Constable also mentioned the twilight basketball initiative (see picture on this tweet)  that had attracted 37 children on the first night. He said he hoped that would continue to be a positive initiative for children in the evenings. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tenants object to application to turn offices into flats at 20 Nairn High Street

Gurnites may recall our article  'Nairn High Street going flat on banking?' from September where we linked to the application to turn the offices above the Royal Bank of Scotland into flats. It emerged during discussions at the Westies meeting last Wednesday night that the present tenants, R&R Urquhart LLP have objected to the application. The Highland Council e-planning site reveals that a timely objection was placed by the firm who are concerned at the effect the application could have on their business. Here's a section from their letter to Highland Council planners:

You can read the full letter here and the application in its entirety can be seen here.  

A tourism strategy for Nairn (from 2009 but still relevant?)

One our our regular readers has read the Gurn article "Nairn in 2020 - Brigadoon or a jewel in the Scottish Crown? - a document revisited" and sent us a copy of a lengthier tome that was also produced in 2009. Our correspondent tells us:  "As you'll see,  it's actually a serious consultancy study.  Here and there it shows its age (local development planning has moved on) but the paper is still valid."

When reading the document what is striking is how much tourism impacts across so many other aspects of life in Nairn and vice versa, it does get a bit technical at times however but there may be many serious students out there that may wish to browse the 26 pages. The reader who sent it to us mentioned a quote from the document and suggested that that quote does indeed still seem appropriate, if a little harsh, for  2013. 

"“[Nairn is] a seaside town with few seaside amenities, a tourist town with no tourist information centre, a historic town which neglects its heritage, and a town which wants to grow but can’t decide how to do so.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

Racer type bike stolen from Harbour St at the weekend.

More local police news too on the twitter account @BadenocNairnPol

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Doreen's Christmas crie du coeur - Buy local!

Doreen sent a message to the Gurn:
"Let's buy Christmas presents from small local businesses and self-employed people.  For example, from your talented neighbour who makes cards, a local crafts-person making pretty jewellery, the stunning local florist's shop, the baker who makes great cakes or vouchers for a local salon or hairdresser.

Let's make sure that our money goes to Nairn people and not multinational companies.
This way, local people will have a better Christmas.  Support real people. This is a great way to show community spirit."

Just a perfect day for the County faithful - Nairn 4 Formartine 1 - more pictures

  Individual images here.  Full screen slideshow here

County U-17 shake Brora aura with a 2-0 victory - Pictures

Update - it was a double - the U-15s also beat Brora on one of the Academy pitches - 7-3

  Individual images here Full screen slideshow here

Nairn 4 Formartine 1 - pictures from Donald Matheson of the day the league leaders perfect run ended at Station Park

Individual images here. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Roger’s concern for the future of Cawdor: " it is being treated as though it has no consequence"

Roger Milton also spoke about the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan at Auldearn CC on Wednesday night. It was obvious he shared many of the concerns of Alistair Noble and then went on to say: “Auldearn is surprisingly unaffected by the local plan. The two areas that have previously been identified for housing, it’s still it that plan but still missing from that whole focus is really what the village needs.”

He then went on to outline his fears for Cawdor: “That’s what really upsets me when you see the way that Cawdor has been dealt quite a very worrying hand in this local plan. There is the process by which the document has got, some incredible, it’s more than 3, it’s 420 houses to be built in the Cawdor area in this next 12 year period. And it’s a gem of this area and yet  it is being treated as though it has no consequence. That is the scale of the threat – the threat there is to things that should be protected and it needs to be just completely looked at again. 

Seabank Road sewer sink holes

The Westies on Tuesday night heard Secretary Brian Stewart read out a report of follow-up action from local Highland Councillor Colin MacAulay:

“The sinking drains issue is ongoing and the Council continues to pursue Scottish Water following a site meeting and CCTV investigation. Scottish Water accepted responsibility for two sink holes and repaired them and it also identified another 10 defects in the sewer which will require to be repaired.
The Council is awaiting confirmation regarding Scottish Water’s proposals. Further to that there are another 4 sinkholes which Scottish Water have not accepted responsibility for. TECS will be excavating these holes to investigate. If TECS find it to be Scottish Water’s responsibility then the costs will be charged to Scottish Water. Council officers are keeping up the pressure on Scottish Water.”

Chair Rosemary Young then said that there were sink holes in Albert Street now. She went on to praise the efforts of her fellow member Graham Kerr, whose efforts led to the intervention of Colin and the Highland Council. 

Praise for Police Scotland from Auldearn crime victims

At the Auldearn CC meeting on Wednesday night the Chair, Roger Milton, thanked Sgt Graham Erskine for the police’s quick response and their subsequent profile in the village. Then two victims of the recent crimes who were also at the meeting spoke, one woman said:
“The police couldn’t have been more attentive, sympathetic and treated the family with a kind professional impact. That’s the general feeling in the village that the police have been prompt and helpful[…] Our experience was very positive.”

One of the committee members, then said: “I would second that as well, the help I had, they couldn’t have done enough. Between the police, CID and forensics they just did everything you could reasonably expect them to do.”

Sgt Erskine had given the CC a briefing similar to the one at the Westies meeting the previous evening in Nairn. Obviously his contact with the public had more resonance in the Auldearn area which has suffered the most in the recent spate of housebreakings. Sgt Erskine urged everyone to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the 101 number. It then emerged that some at the meeting didn’t understand the significance of the 101 number. 101 is for non-emergency calls to the police and you will be directed to a station that covers your area. Full details on this Police Scotland webpage – Need the Police? Dial 101 any time it isn’t 999. 

Liz in the Courier: “Town leader loses her say over vital issues”

The other headline reads: “Councillor questioned after her land is earmarked for Development". There is comment from Liz about her situation and CC reaction from Dick of the Subbies and Rosemary of the Westies.. More on page 7 of yesterday's edition of the Courier.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A former shopkeeper writes to the Gurn

Yesterday we published an article "Some shops might be empty but why not fill up the windows with interesting stuff anyway?"  The post was inspired by some debate at the Westies meeting earlier in the week. Our article, in its turn, inspired former shopkeeper David Ross (Ross Outdoors Ltd) to compose the following in response to that article and also an editorial in a recent edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph which centred around the state of the High Street. David told the Gurn: 

Firstly Mr. G. Kerr obviously doesn’t know that since 2003 the Scottish Government has been giving small businesses rates relief based on the rateable value on the premises they are in. 

Link to the Scottish Government website re the original scheme.

Then they renamed it the Small Business Bonus scheme which was introduced in 2008 and replaced the previous one, and here is a link to the current tax year 2013-2014

My property has a rateable value of £6,100, so I got 100% relief. But as I have my water metered I still have a separate clean water & waste water bill with my supplier! I would also have separate bills for refuse collection as well!

As for doing art installations in the properties, or to cover the fronts of the properties, Thanks, but no thanks! Are you going to create “fake shops” like they did near the Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland which held the G8 summit earlier this year? An empty shop is a reality, pretending that it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away!! Also would the people doing the art installations or displays in a shop have the correct insurance to cover them for any damage they do to the property? Would they also have the correct Public Liability insurance if they opened the shop up for public viewing of an art installation? I know that my Insurers would take a very dim view if I made my property available for such an enterprise, even if they had the correct insurance!

I know that there is some flaking paintwork on my shop front, but the image is of a clean and tidy empty shop. There are occupied shops on the High St. which have a lot more flaking paintwork than mine!

I do think that people should check their facts before making sweeping statements involving other people’s property and businesses! I also feel insulted by the remarks made in the editorial of this week’s N.T., as I was known, amongst other things, for my excellent service!

Forres job centre still up to speed on Nairn jobs

Well not quite 100% up to speed perhaps as if you follow the link and click on the map that appears there are currently 11 jobs going up at Sainsbury's Nairn this afternoon (25/10).

2006 Inner Mory Firth planning thinking inappropriate for 2013?

Alistair Noble of Suburban CC and an indefatigable campaigner on Nairn issues was the guest speaker at the Auldearn Community Council meeting on Wednesday night. He told the meeting:

"What we are trying to do as far as the recent Nairn decisions go is to get to a position where we are working much more, what we would call, in partnership with Highland Council under a framework that actually the locals have a say in the plan before it becomes a plan rather than having to react to something that appears to be in tablets of stone and we’re chasing our tails and objecting to it. 

This is the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan that we are now being consulted on but sitting behind that is the Highland wide Local Development Plan. Quite a lot of us have been arguing from the start that you can’t have a Highland wide Local Development Plan. You have either a new Highland strategic plan or a local plan. It’s a mixed up strategy and local ends up in the sort of muddle we are in.

Going back to the sort of thinking around 2006/2007 where the A96 corridor and the vision that Nairnshire would double its population. At that time they were projecting something like 175 houses per year for Nairn. We’ve actually built something like 75 houses per year for Nairn over that 13 years and the last 3 years we’ve built 24 houses per year in Nairn. So we have a 2006 vision that said roughly the 5,000 homes we have are going to have 10,000 houses and our population was going to go from roughly, it you take in Ardersier, 15,000 to roughly 20-30,000 depending on where you drew the line with Inverness. Between Nairn and Inverness there was going to be a continuous development; Sandown, Delnies, Whiteness, Tornagrain and then you hit Inverness East coming towards you.

I think where we are at now is probably worth just going over recent events and then trying to be as positive as we can. But I think what we need are solutions, it’s easy to criticise decisions from the post but the decisions were made at a time when people believed in, let’s say the Celtic Tiger, we were in this arc of prosperity. We were all going to have houses and it was boom time. That unfortunately has gone, it was a complete myth based on dubious banking practices and lending practices. That’s why we are trillions in debt. That is why Spain has got a million empty houses, Ireland has got hundreds of thousands of empty houses and America has got enormous financial problems. So in my opinion and the opinion of many others the sensible thing to say would be say, look that was the scene in 2006, we’re in 2013, the financial position is very different and also I think the community – this is the really positive thing, what we’ve got in Nairnshire is all the Community Councils working very closely together and being very willing to take part in that discussion where we try and work out what is in the best interests of our community before we get a plan rather than having a plan. "

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Some shops might be empty but why not fill up the windows with interesting stuff anyway?

On Tuesday night the Westies discussed the state of Nairn High Street and particularly the empty shops including the eyesore that is the boarded up windows of the former DE Shoes. Rosemary thought that traditional retail was not the answer as habits had changed. Graham Kerr made a call for business rates to be reduced. There was then talk of how the presently empty premises could be made more aesthetically pleasing. Is there anything that we can do as a community to perhaps alleviate the problem and make the High Street look a bit more attractive for visitors and even attract those that might be looking for somewhere to start a business?

This observer made a contribution and suggested that more displays could perhaps be put in empty windows in the same way that Nairn County Fans, followed by NICE and the Rotary Club (Nairnshire Challenge display), made use of the shop formerly know as Occasions earlier this year. Perhaps some Gurnites will remember the “Big Shop” back in 1999 when six empty premises were transformed into performance areas.

One individual's vision manifested itself into a mini festival in the town (picture of one of the venues in this paragraph). It was the brainchild of Simon MacIntyre and showed what could be done with empty retail spaces when a bit of out of the box thinking was applied. We wouldn’t need the whole infrastructure and investment that Simon created and sourced to just fill empty shop fronts with colourful and interesting displays that could say, depict some of Nairnshire’s assets, but it would mean people stepping forward to do quite a bit of work contacting shop owners, estate agents etc, to seek permissions and then encourage groups and societies to donate materials for displays  - and even a bit of paint for the boards on the former DE frontage if the owners would be willing for that to happen.

Perhaps it could be a job for the Business Association coupled with a cell of volunteer activists from NICE’s thousand plus members? Would anyone be up for such an initiative? You never know there might even be some funding around somewhere even given the new age of austerity. 

Another chapter in the comings and goings on Nairn High Street

One business leaves a premises and another one to move in soon.

Congratulations to NCFC Under-17 Player Craig Munro

Who last night was voted Inverness Youth League Player of the Year. Well done Craig!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Colin on Nairn bypass matters: "They’re emphasising it’s a new A96."

One of the first items to be discussed in matters arising earlier tonight (Wednesday) at the Auldearn Community Council meeting was the proposed Nairn bypass. Roger Milton said:

“It does have a particular relevance for the village because I think a lot of people have been assuming that there is a more or less determined path for that by now. When it’s happening is an entirely different matter but certainly I think there has been some new thoughts about the route of the bypass, even taking in part of the village on the south side rather than joining the A96 at Achnacloich which I think is what people have always made an assumption about. Previously there has certainly been investigation about the road as, I say, traveling to the south of us here and joining onto the Forres Road.”
Roger then urged those in attendance to attend the forthcoming bypass and A96 dualling consultation organized for November in Nairn. 

Cllr Colin MacAulay then spoke: “Things have shifted, they really are talking strategically, linking Inverness with Aberdeen. It’s not about a Nairn bypass – it is about a strategic dual carriageway all the way from Inverness to Aberdeen so there is a communication link across that part of Scotland. There will be two or three routes because I know they have kind of looked at that and it is about what is the best route for us and making sure that take that on board. We had a meeting with Transport Scotland today and they are also keen that the Nairn bypass will probably be the main bypass through to whatever that would be on the east edge of Inverness, it’s the early section that is built on the new A96. They’re emphasising it’s a new A96, the old A96 is not up to the standard of just widening and just adding another new dual carriageway.”

Roger then asked: “So it will have a radical influence on villages that have been previously on that road?”

“Absolutely,” replied Colin. 

A member of the public had another question: “So we are talking about a completely new road?”

“There will be bits and pieces where they do use the old road where that makes sense. Clearly there will be improved stretches but by and large we are talking about looking at basically a brand new road. Whether that is north or south of the existing A96 will depend, I suppose, on a whole range of factors,” explained Colin who then went on to add a warning. “From that perspective what I wouldn’t want is an Aberdeen bypass type situation where people are still arguing ten or twenty years down the road before there is a kind  consensus on that. I really hope we see a line, there’s a sensible one that stands out as the best and we go for that.” 

Ward Forum on 30th October in Nairn to focus on Police and Fire Services

There were suggestions last night at the Westies meeting that the Ward Forum meetings held in the Courthouse should be led by the Community Councils rather than Highland Council and that our local "usual suspects" should be the ones that invite speakers and officials etc. In the meantime, after a considerable gap since the last event, there will be a Ward Forum meeting soon in the Courthouse on Wednesday 30 October 2013 at 7.00pm. Ward forums have had a chequered history in Nairn with occasional complaints of "Death by Powerpoint" and other grumbles. Liz stated back in March of 2011: “ ”I used to think that the Ward Forum was where all the community councils came together and we could discuss local issues but it is pretty apparent to me now that that is just a vehicle for the Highland Council. [...}The Ward Forum is not for local issues now, it’s hijacked!” More in a a Gurn article from that time here.

Now we have a ward forum under the new regime, of which Liz is the local Political Leader, and many of the usual suspects will no doubt interested to see if there is more participation from the Community rather than the top-down approach that has been, rightly or wrongly, the perceived method in the past.  

This coming meeting might be a good opportunity for any Gurnites with questions on things like the absence of traffic wardens to attend because the meeting is being held to seek the views of the public on local police and fire services. It's the last meeting in a series of 20 Highland Council Ward forums being held across the Highlands will take place next week on Wednesday 30 October 2013 at 7.00pm in The Court House, Nairn.

Councillor Drew Millar, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee said: “The Council works closely with both Police and Fire Services to help ensure that Highland communities are as safe as possible.  We’re pleased that our Ward Forums have been used as a platform for our partners to consult on their community plans.”

He added: “If you missed any of the earlier meetings held, this is an excellent opportunity to have another chance to air your views.” 

Chief Superintendent Julian Innes of Police Scotland said: “This has been a partnership approach to engagement with local Highland communities.  We have welcomed listening to people’s views on how their local services are targeted.” 

Scott Hay, Area Manager for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service added: “Public sector organisations work most effectively when they work in partnership.  We’ll continue to work together to keep communities safe.”

At least one prolific housebreaker operating in Nairnshire

Sgt Graham Erskine was the Scottish Police representative at the West Communtiy Council’s meeting last night in the Community and Arts Centre. He spoke about recent crimes that have grabbed the headlines locally:

“There are eight thefts by housebreaking which are basically break-ins to private dwellings although there are one or two commercial premises as well. So, there is a prolific housebreaker, if not more than one prolific housebreaker in our area operating and hasn’t been caught yet. Of the eight incidents  that I’ve researched five were in the Auldearn area and several of those addresses are adjacent to one another so somebody has seen Auldearn as rich pickings and has targeted that area and the pattern appears to be that he will, he or she, will violate premises during the day which is a bit unusual and not what we expect. Counter intuitive we expect these people to attack vacant premises during the dead of night under the cover of darkness but that doesn’t appear to be the case so just imagine how brazen that person is!”

Westies Chair, Rosemary, asked Sgt Erskine: “Are they taking the same things all the time?”

“I looked to see what sort of things were being stolen from premises, from houses. Cash and jewellery crop up time and time again although there was the one you were talking about, motorbike, motorcycle leathers helmet, so they are not only just taking the vehicle itself but the leathers and balaclava etc. Cash, clothing, alcohol and tobacco , in one of the houses there was computer equipment as well. That used to be what housebreakers would target, electronics, televisions, flat screen televisions, music systems, that kind of thing; but no longer, it really is difficult to get rid of that kind of product so they’re aiming for cash and jewellery – high value items that don’t take a lot of carting away. […] They are still ongoing inquires, including forensic inquiries. Obviously that takes times to establish a forensic profile.”

Rosemary intervened again: “Was there anything in Nairn at all?”

“Moss-side, Geddes and Grigorhill, Auldearn.” Replied Sgt Erskine. “But there’s no way we can be complacent at all […] We could well see break-ins within the town of Nairn.”

Rosemary then urged everyone to be vigilant and report anything unusual to the police.

Sgt Erskine then added: “I can guarantee that if we get a report of suspicious activities or a suspicious person or vehicle then we will open that out. I can’t guarantee that we will on every occasion identify who the suspicious person was but the onus is on the police to make sure that if there is an investigative opportunity there we seize that and if they are involved in the crimes we have spoken about they are brought to justice.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Nairn in 2020 - Brigadoon or a jewel in the Scottish Crown?" - a document revisited

Iain Fairweather has been reading some of the articles posted in the Gurn that detail last week's meeting of all  8 Nairnshire Community Councils. He told the Gurn:

"Firstly, many thanks for the updates on recent meetings. It's really encouraging to see growing agreement on the issues. Your recent post triggered thoughts of my Brigadoon paper. Interesting to go back and read that almost 5 years on - and worrying that little has improved - and actually got a whole lot worse."  

Iain then went on to make a small quote from his Brigadoon document:

"It was recognised that key to any new development within Nairn would be a commitment to upgrading the appearance of the High St. The Council was urged to engage with Nairn businesses, developers and property owners to deliver a joined-up vision for the town. No longer should property owners sit on their hands while buildings crumbled; no longer should developers set the agenda for change. The expectation was that a new memorandum of understanding would ensure that all stakeholders worked together for the good of the town. Planners would no longer be besieged by developers; developers knew what they had to do within the strategic plan to have the proposals speeded through the planning process. Every developer knew they had to contribute to improving the public realm. Businesses gained new confidence as they began to feel they had a future and sought the investment they needed to expand."

"Why does it all take so long?" He asked the Gurn. Read Iain's Nairn in 2020 - Brigadoon or a jewel in the Scottish Crown? document, first published in 2009, here. 

Tuesday late night miscellany

The video of the North Cup Final is now available on  the Scottish Highland Football League TV site. The profile of the Highland League seems to be rising and rising as the season continues, if you weren’t at the latest big match then you can taste the atmosphere in the video. This Saturday the Wee County will be at home for a top of the table clash with Formartine. 

The weather continues to be relatively mild for the time of the year despite a crispy white frost in most areas of Nairnshire visible on Wednesday morning. Lisa on Flickr captured an amazing scene one morning last week as the sun rose over a Nairnshire landscape – Lisa’s picture here. 

The “Nairn when you were a Bairn” Facebook site continues to attract new members and a wealth of images and comments. It has often been said: “the conversation has moved to Facebook”, well when it comes to reminiscing anything  connected  with Nairn then it has definitely moved to these particular pages here. Facebook doesn’t give an archive of posts which is a bit of a drawback for this community type of effort , you just have to keep scrolling down, but there is a tab where you can browse over 700 images of Nairn and Nairnshire that have been submitted and it is a good starting point for exploring the pages. 

Also reminiscing about Nairn this week is the Forres Gazette, the weekly paper from our neighbouring town has details of an ingenious fraud perpetrated in Nairn a 100 years ago

The horticultural day in the Arts and Community Centre on the 13th of November (an all-day event – see poster here) has a photographic competition for a bit of fun, all those attending can enter. The Gurn spoke to the organiser Panny Laing and asked her a bit about the Highlands and Islands Horticultural Group which is organising the gathering:

Do you usually have the horticultural day in Nairn? Yes, it used to be called the AGM with Speakers but we want to throw it wider.
Is there a web page anywhere?  Not as yet
How do you enter the photo competition and what are the prizes?  You bring the photos along on the day – the winner can take first pick of the raffle prizes.  (it’s just a bit of fun!) 
She added: “We have always had good speakers in the past and it seemed a shame that more horti-folk were missing out – hence going to a bigger and better venue and trying to throw the net a bit wider.  Entry includes membership for the year which includes a couple of summer evening garden visits and the occasional newsletter”

Nairn news on twitter - Twilight Basketball comes to Nairn - Nairn golf club has installed a defibrillator

Monday, October 21, 2013

"We can’t just have a vision that says we will double the number of people in Nairn if there’s no jobs and there’s no work."

More from last week’s joint meeting of Nairnshire Community Councils. Previous articles on the meeting also available not too far down the page from this post.

Alistair Noble spoke about the forthcoming Inner Moray Firth plan consultation and the bigger aspects of how Highland Council planning has an impact on Nairn, he said:

“We are fundamentally questioning what we perceive as Highland Council, Highland Councllors lack of control over their planning department. It has been argued for a long while that we should split planning and development. We should have people who are developers and legitimately they can talk to anybody about anything but when it comes to planning there has to be infrastructure, costs and a realistic pragmatic basis to what’s going on. We can’t just have a vision that says we will double the number of people in Nairn if there’s no jobs and there’s no work. I just find it ironic, to echo Rosemary, the centre of Inverness is dying and dead and they’re going to throw more money at it, but it is dying and dead because of planning decisions to move it out to the periphery. So it is no coincidence that it’s dying and dead. The thought of urban development all the way from Nairn to Inverness with roundabouts every…à la Milton Keynes or something like that just kills our tourist industry and everything we really want to have in Nairn stone dead. So we have to come up with some alternatives.”

Rosemary then said: “I think that’s a very good sentence that you just ended with because that is exactly the thrust of what Nairn is about and how we need to get over to the Highland Council, which is very difficult, that this really is a town that needs to be kept looking as beautiful as it possibly can. […] We really must dwell on the fact that this is a tourism town and somebody said last night that it is the County town of Nairnshire and I thought that is a really good tag line as well, it is the County town of Nairnshire! And it does not want to be a satellite of Inverness, which looks horrendous – it really does, so we must start work and we must start work immediately.”

A little later Michael Green made a contribution and with reference to a forthcoming meeting between the principals of the local Community Councils and Glenurquhart Road high heid yins, he said:

“Yes we have to engage with the  Inner Moray Firth Plan as rapidly as possible and the process as it currently exists but the bigger challenge, I think, is the one that really wants to be addressed is that the planning in its wider sense is flawed. It’s totally flawed and this is where the meeting with the Highland Council is so important because we, you, have to come away from that meeting with some form of framework to go ahead so that we can actually have a framework that we’ve confidence in. A framework that’s got a timetable that we can work to, has got a longer term vision. Unless we come away with that we’ll have years of these Nairn South type incidents and we’re not going to win them all and it’s just going to be a hotchpotch.”

Brora 3 Nairn 0 - North Cup Final - more gurn images

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

A96 dualling - public exhibitions November 2013 -

In relation to the Nairn bypass Gurnites may have already read the letter from John Hart to high heid yins at Holyrood. If you haven't you can see a copy via this article here. Now to something else regular students of A96 and Nairn bypass issues may find interesting.

One of our regular readers sends us a copy of a letter received from Transport Scotland dated the 18th of October. It is an interesting read and states:

"As part of this engagement, Transport Scotland is hosting a series of public exhibitions on the A96 Dualling programme in November and would welcome your attendance and comment on the early work being progressed. The exhibitions will explain the context of the current activities on the A96 Dualling programme and an explanation of the planning and design process and how it informs the dualling programme. In  addition, the exhibitions will provide an update on the route options assessment work we are progressing with on the section of the A96 between Inverness and Nairn (including Nairn Bypass)."

The exhibiton in Nairn will be  held on Tuesday 12th November, at The Golf View Hotel, 12:00pm - 7:00pm.    

Time for Highland Council to allocate smaller areas for development?

As regular readers will have deduced from previous articles recently, at the Nairnshire Community Councils joint meeting last Wednesday night in the Community and Arts centre there was a lot of talk and criticism of the Highland Council planning modus operandi. Here is a little more from that meeting.

One of the delegates said: “The developments that they are going for, it doesn’t give the local small businesses a chance to compete for them. Nobody is interested in a building plot at the moment for less than 50-100 houses. It’s only great big established companies that can take it on and they are all based elsewhere.”

Dick Youngson agreed, he said: “And hence all the money is sucked out of the area by these national companies.”

Brian Stewart then added to the debate: “Briefly, just to reinforce that, I think it was at the same September the 18th Council meeting – one of the Councillors, a lady, stood up and made a very similar point. That the general approach of Highland Council to development, and it was obvious on Nairn South because they were talking about the Scotia consortia, was that they designate large chunks of land and then invite single development bids. And in the case of Nairn South three builders had to get together to form a consortium to make a bid. This lady, who is a councillor, I can’t remember her name…”

At that point Rosemary said: “Margaret Davidson.”

Brian then continued after the brief intrusion “…said: “Wouldn't it be much more sensible if the council and council planners devised and offered sub divided plots so that smaller businesses, smaller builders, smaller developers could then take on the task. This would also put an end to the kind of identikit shoe-boxes housing estates like we've seen in Inverness. If it was a diversity of builders and a variety of businesses that were engaged in the development you could actually deliver a better and more attractive result.”

Brora 3 Nairn 0 - Pictures from Kenny Macleod

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North Cup - Brora 3 Nairn 0 - Pictures from Donald Matheson

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brora 3 Nairn 0 - a few pictures from the AJG Parcels North Cup Final

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North Cup goes North - Nairn turn up to add a dash of yellow to the Brora banquet

Brora 3 Nairn 0. The Cattachs are partying tonight after 1,800 soccer fans filled Grant Street Park for the AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup Final. Fair play to Brora and their fans: they came, they saw and they partied. 
It was a disappointment for County fans to say the least but a great advert for the product that is the Highland League. Goals for Zander, Hart and Maclean to cement their mark on a legendary day for Brora rangers FC. More pictures later this weekend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Scottish Government inconsistency on Nairn Bypass?

John Hart has written to MSPs Fergus Ewing, Derek MacKay and Keith Brown on the behalf of the town's three Community Councils outlining an apparent inconsistency in Scottish Government documents concerning the proposed Nairn Bypass. His opening paragraph begins:

"I should like to point out what is believed to be an important inconsistency and at worst a planning omission, between Scottish Government documents issued by the Department for Local Government and Planning, PR statements made by the Transport Minister and the aspirations of our local MSP, as regards A96 dualling and the Nairn Bypass."  

See a copy of the entire letter here. 

"We've got to move forward in a new way and I don’t see how we can plan without the consent of the population"

The usual suspects (and Cllr Michael Green the only Nairnshire Highland Councillor in attendance) had a lot to debate at the Combined Nairnshire Community Councils meeting on Wednesday night. We've posted two articles so far detailing some of what was said at the meeting and now here's a little more. If time permits we will post more over the weekend. 

Rosemary Young the Chair of  West CC proposed that there should be a working group made up of the three Communty Councils to look at the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan. She said: “Tell them exactly how we feel about it.[...] We don’t like a lot of it, you can’t just dump houses on us without jobs. So I think we need to come up right now before we end up with a protest march for these various individual things that are going to come up. So I think we should get ourselves together, get a report in. Use Brian’s brain, get it written down and get it into them and stuff it to them.”

Alastair Noble then said: “Either you accept that planning have a status that seems to be above everything else that Highland Council do and is almost god-like and the planners can do what they like or they are just a function of Highland Council and they are employees of us and really we should be dictating what they are doing.” 

A little later he continued: “There seems to be a consensus, if you ask the people of Nairn, as far as we can tell, their number 1 priority would be the bypass. We’re all keen on that. Number 2 priority is regenerating the town centre with jobs and the High Street looking better. Number 3 is the harbour, the river, leisure and recreation and all that kind of stuff. Number 4 is what we call the outer rim, Lochloy through Nairn South, Firhall, Achareidh, Tradespark, Sandown, Delnies. Within that there are subgroups that we need to address. We’d come up with a very different Nairn from the local plan that we’ve been presented with. One of the fundamental questions  that we need really good answers to is if we do that and do come up with an alternative Nairnshire focused plan, will that be listened to by Highland Council and what status will that have?”

“Probably not,” interjected Rosemary.”But at least they won’t be surprised when we are out protesting again.”

Alasatair carried on: “But to take Dick’s theme about where we are trying to get to, if we are working in a new way, the Nairn South decision was as seismic and as fundamental as it was apparent, I think is. We've got to move forward in a new way and I don’t see how we can plan without the consent of the population and I’m a great believer in consenting adults but we have to agree that this is a sensible prioritisation of what we want.”

John Hart then added his thoughts to the debate: “Everyone is in agreement; there is just an emphasis in point. The first part is you have got to tackle the planning process and that actually has a meeting coming up probably where that can be thrashed out. Whether you get a result or not is another matter. But at the same time we have got to attack what is on the table at the moment which is the Inner Moray Firth Plan and make sure that our input has got strength and actually has some power behind it as to what is right or wrong about their plan. Because if we let it drift then they’ll be able to say well if the Reporter comes down there’s no point in voting against it,  the Reporter will go along with it because it’s in the plan. So we have got to try and knock out as much of the work that is in the plan out of it, at the same time as tackling Highland Council over their rather cavalier way of running the planning part.”

The eve of the North Cup Final

Here’s some pre-match interviews to wet your appetite on the Scottish Highland Football League channel. If you are one of the few people who will be unable to get to Grant Street Park tomorrow then you can follow the North Cup Final on the Nairn County twitter account or listen to Cullin FM.

In the meantime here’s some pictures of the action at Station Park last Saturday when County beat Turriff 2-0. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cùirt na h-aibhne - soidhne da-chànach eile ann an Inbhir Narann

Mhothaich mi soidhne da-chànanach eile sa bhaile an-diugh. Chòrd e rium gu mòr a bhith faicinn beagan a bharrachd Gàidhlig. Saoilidh mi gum bi feadhainn mì-thoilichte leis ach gun teagamh sam bith ann an 2013 gheibhear mòr-chuid a tha taiceil don Ghàidhlig agus an t-àite aice sa choimhearsnachd

“It ends up à la Spain or Ireland with hundreds of thousands of houses with no jobs and no work and no infrastructure” – Alastair Noble.

More from the Joint Nairnshire Community Council meeting last night (Weds 16th). All the Nairnshire Councils were represented plus Croy. The only local Highland Councillor present was Michael Green although Roddy Balfour from the neighbouring Cawdor, Croy and Ardersier ward was also at the meeting. 

See previous Gurn article here for an outline of the first part of the meeting. From that point debate continued about land being favoured by the Council in the Highland wide and Inner Moray Firth plan and how this mechanism worked and how the Community Councils could have some input.

A comment was made about people not getting annoyed about the Moray Firth Plan and the Highland wide plan until it comes to a very specific application that affects their road, their house or their street.

Alastair Noble responded to that point: “For me it goes back to the fundamental problem – what is planning and why are we planning and what are we planning for? If we can’t answer these questions then just fill fields full of houses. It ends up à la Spain or Ireland with hundreds of thousands of houses with no jobs and no work and no infrastructure. So I think what we are keen to discuss tonight is how we could use this Nairnshire model to look at housing and prioritise what we want to do where we think the priority lies in Nairn rather than the landowners and the developers prioritising it.”

A little later Alistair added to his these: “One of the things that Dick has been emphasising all night is that the COSLA report, the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, all the stuff about health and social integration; every thing that is going on, is about the locality taking responsibility and accountability for decisions that are going to affect it. And one of the fundamentals is about getting the questions about what Nairnshire wants to be, how big it wants to be, what it wants to do in the future and we have obviously an alternative list of priorities that Nairn, that Nairnshire would like to address and way down our list is potential… 90 houses out at Lochloy 30 years from now or 50 years from now. It just doesn't seem to be that relevant to the problems that what we’ve got. […]

The Highland wide Development Plan is such a misnomer. You can’t have a Highland Wide “Local” Devlopment Plan. You can either have a highland wide strategy plan or a local development plan but you can’t have Highland wide Local Development Plan. We’re in absolute gibberish from the planners but if you allow the planners to dictate and say just what […] there’s this zone you can build what you like in it then there’s just going to be continuing resentment and ill-feeling and anger. So we need to find a way of working in partnership with Highland Council and we need to find a way of prioritising what we want as our priorities for Nairn and for Nairnshire rather than what they’re saying." 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Planning issues dominate meeting of Nairnshire Community Councils

Dick Youngson chaired a meeting of all the Nairnshire CCs plus Croy in the Community and Arts Centre tonight (Weds 16th Oct). Planning issues and how the Nairnshire Community responds to them again dominated the proceedings. Here at the Gurn we hope to give you a flavour of what was said in articles that will be published over the next few days.

After a preamble outlining what was planned for the meeting Dick began with the first item on the agenda, the IMFLDP:
“I hand over the Inner Moray Firth Local Development to the floor because it’s not exactly what we want on this area. It is something which is unnecessary, over the top perhaps and we haven’t had a debate about it yet at our community council. Has anybody got any strong criticisms of it or what direction should we go?

Graham Kerr of the Westies was the first to respond: “Yes there’s several patches that affect Nairn. Lochloy, the final stage of Lochloy with 200 houses. Now that development has not taken along with it the infrastructure and the improvements that are supposed to be happening whilst the other areas were being developed. Before they can say, right we are going to go ahead with these other 200 houses, the Council needs to tell us how they propose to catch up with these infrastructure elements that should have been delivered by the previous 400 houses. That one is ongoing, that one will continue to be ongoing and we want to get our voice in there and say what’s happening, you’ve lost control of it. how are you going to get control back of it?

The next one is beyond Lochloy, another 90 houses have appeared on the list there. Now this is something that came out of the blue, there was always word of some small development there but 90 houses have now appeared. There’s been no mention of any infrastructural improvements. Lochloy Road really needs something done to it but as I see it the plan there is to take the Lochloy developments right to the boundary of that plot and connect it there. So there will be no improvement for Lochloy Road.

“No word of a link over the railway or under the railway to the A96?” asked Dick Youngson.

“No word of that,” continued Graham Kerr. “We should be asking the planners to come and speak to us and say they how they are going to address this before they even consider giving these things approval.”

Graham then moved onto the subject of Nairn South: “My feeling is we should be asking the Highland Council to show us the two reports that said the road could cope,” he said.

More from the joint meeting of the Nairnshire Community Councils as soon as time permits. 

Nairn County FC merchandise at Pat Frasers

Message posted by Mardie on the Find it in Nairn Facebook page this afternoon: 

"For the month of October we have a display of Nairn County Football Club and The Supporters Club goodies on display in our sports window. We have done this to help raise the profile of the club and show
what can be purchased. All proceeds go to the club. We have a selection of Mens and Kids tops in the home and away strip, beanie hats, Golf umbrellas, Scarfs also Beer glasses , Beer mats, Mouse mats , check out the window display Rosie made last week.
These items can be purchased at Pat Frasers cash or cheques make payable to NCFC. Some great ideas for christmas folks. A Scarf never goes wrong in the colder months and you would be supporting your local team. Speaking of which Good Luck for Saturdays match."

Also folks - there are still some seats left on the Bus leaving Uncle Bob's bar on Saturday - they're £5 each, just pop in to secure a place. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

3rd November - CoderDojo Scotland arrives in Nairn to inspire young digital makers

Their webpage says:

"CoderDojo Scotland arrives in Nairn to inspire young digital makers.
At a CoderDojo, young people can learn how to code, develop websites, build apps, games and more. It makes learning to code a fun and sociable experience. No previous coding experience is necessary." 

More details of the event on the 3rd of November on this web page. 

For the many serious students of Nairn planning matters - coming soon - IMFLDP consultatnt

Gurnites will recall that the South Nairn application should have gone through because it was in the Highland wide Local Development plan (HwLDP) but an error by the planners led to a sequence of events that ended in that application being refused last month. It was an outcome that Colin MacAulay has since described as ‘seismic’. Now does that seismic event mean that we have a chance of moving towards a scenario for Nairn’s planning future that may be more in line with what the usual suspects have been calling for rather than the vision of planners?

There is another consultation coming up next month that will be very important for the future of Nairn, that is to say the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan. Will the Highland Council listen to the concerns that have been expressed by many local residents over recent years? The proof of the pudding will be in the forthcoming IMFLD consultation.

Here at the Gurn we wondered how much this consultation would centre on the list of documents published in response to the Highland Council’s call for sites. The responses by landowners etc in the Nairn area are listed on this web page here. We asked the Highland Council some questions and promptly received a reply from a spokesperson; they began with the following information:

“There wasn’t a Call for Sites stage for the HwLDP. There was one for the IMFLDP and all the responses are on the Council’s website. All sites close to or within larger settlements (but not housing in the countryside proposals) were included in the Plan’s first official draft -  “The Main Issues Report” - regardless of whether planning officials thought they had planning merit or not. The ones we thought had merit were shown as preferred. The ones we thought did not were shown as non preferred. There was one exception, a Call for Sites settlement suggestion was rejected at this initial stage for a 1,000 house new community proposal at Clephanton which was not regarded as suitable because of the lack of existing or planned infrastructure at this location and the existence of an already allocated alternative at Tornagrain.”

To the question:” Is comment on individual responses now time barred or can Nairnshire residents still submit specific comment in regard to these responses as part of the current consultation?” came the following reply:

“Comments can still be lodged (from 1 November 2013 to 13 December 2013) on the sites that have been retained within the latest stage of the Plan – the Proposed Plan (available via ). Comments of support for the Plan content can also be lodged or objections to the non inclusion of sites or policies.

We were also interested in how the Council handles a site submitted that has implications for one of its own members and asked another question: “There is one response that has led to Cllr Liz MacDonald being unable to attend some planning meetings due to a protocol that the Highland Council has in regard to Councillors interests. Are any other protocols in place in regard to the way the response from Derek MacDonald will be determined by officials and councillors?

To which the Council said: “The MacDonalds’ site was preferred at Main Issues Report and retained in the Proposed Plan for the reasons stated in the report and its appendices to PED Committee on 18 September 2013. Cllr MacDonald has declared an interest at every meeting at which the Plan’s content has been debated and decided. Should any party object to the retention of the MacDonald’s site (or any other site) then these comments will be passed to a Scottish Government appointed Reporter for decision via the Plan’s Examination (public local inquiry) process."

So after consideration it seems the IMFLDP could go to a public local inquiry. The Community Councils will shortly be discussing the forthcoming consultation and they will have much to debate before they submit their thoughts, either separately or as a joint response.. Whether their concerns and any that might come from other individuals and organisations locally can be resolved without an inquiry remains to be seen.

The consultation begins next month and if any Gurnites have any comments for or against they would do well to read the document here. Page 63 is where Nairn is listed and page 65 gives a map of development sites, from page 66 you can see further details of the sites and the potential numbers of houses that could go on each of them.

Here at the Gurn we hope to discuss the forthcoming consultation in greater depth in the near future.