Gurnites will possibly remember the Sandown Charrette organised by Oor Sandy early last year. There were mixed views about the outcome. Not much seems to have happened since then and there is a school of thought that Highland Council (in their role as trustees of the Nairn Common Good) is poised to allow the fields to be used for a crop of carrots soon - no construction on the Sandown Lands in the short term then? Anyway back to that charrette, as the event progressed drawings appeared on the walls of the courthouse. A final document that went to committee looked like this.
It is worth remembering what Julian Farrar, the man that run the consultation, had to say in summing up at the end of the Charrette: ""Town centres, do not forget the importance, the absolute primacy of Nairn’s quality is in your town centre and the protection of that, the articulation of its value, is what is going to in part create for Sandown in success. Your value in part in Sandown and in terms of Delnies is because you are not bolting this onto something which is of an indifferent value, you’re bolting this onto something which is of prime quality and the reason and the people you want to attract into Nairn are based around this town centre and the community and all the community infrastructure and community facilities. And you’ve got another big phase of that, in my mind, when I park out there in that car park, in the derelict bits and pieces. So you’ve got a big challenge, not only in Sandown." More here.
So now Highland Council turns to the town centre once again and they hope to run their own charrette. They are trying to get hold of some Scottish Government cash to enable this. A recent press release reads:
"The Highland Council has made a bid for funding from the Scottish Government to run mini-Charrettes (interactive facilitated workshops) to focus on actions which will best deliver town centre regeneration in Fort William, Nairn and Tain.
The bid is for £20,000 and if successful the Council will contribute £15,000 of its own funding towards the events, which would be held over a two week period in the new year."
They go on to state: "Masterplans already exist for Fort William and Nairn, where the Council would wish to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the detail of town centre regeneration."
Hopefully the cash will come in and we get another charrette rolling into town and then the usual suspects, NICE and anyone else with thoughts on the town centre will get the chance to place post-it notes on maps and indulge in other such activities that could lead once again to a laudable goal. As mentioned above, there were mixed reactions to the Sandown Charrette but this observer thought it valuable. More from the Highland Council press release here.