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.”