Those protesters who went through to Glenurquhart Road on Wednesday the 18th of September, for the meeting that was to reject the South Nairn application, were very impressed by the performance of Councillor Richard Laird who articulated very well the traffic concerns that many in Nairn had been raising for some time. He said:
"Councillor Gray and Malcolm are quite right to point out that the principle of this plan is in the
Highland wide Local Development
plan but I would point out to colleagues that in that plan, in clause 18,
there’s a very strong caveat. Delivery of the first phase of housing must
demonstrate the current pinch points have been mitigated against and members
will see from the draft minute of when the South PAC considered this last
month, that members did raise concerns about the impact on the local road
network but there was no
adequate response there in the minute. So I’m very grateful to John for explaining the methodology behind the traffic impact assessment however, I’m afraid for me, it has probably raised more problems than it has resolved.
I think using three year old traffic data is the not the best way to look at the impact of a scheme of this size given the very obvious pinch point that exists beneath the railway bridge and while signalisation and the improvements listed in conditions will benefit road safety, I don’t think they will go any way towards increasing the capacity of that pinch point and should reinvite the problem which was identified in the report on the traffic assessment that there is already queuing in that part of Nairn. I think Councillor Renick raised an interesting point when questioning the pause and review process. If we do approve this and 100 units are built and it then transpires that the road network cannot cope then all we’ve done is allow the problem to develop when we should have nipped it in the bud today. The application before us is for 319 units, it’s not for 100 units and having taken aboard what I’ve heard today and seeing what is in the papers and the traffic impact assessment I’ll be supporting my colleagues for Nairn and will be voting against this application."
Gurnmeister note: This observer has been impressed with Richard's overall performance since becoming a Councillor at the last elections. An articulate young politician who might peform well for the Highlands at a higher level one day?