Thursday, November 07, 2013

Nairnshire Community Councils continue to assert themselves

The County's Community Councils continue to press for a better and more democratic deal for Nairnshire. The latest events were described in detail at last night's (Weds 6th) joint meeting of  Nairn West, Suburban and River Councils in front of around 30 assembled community councillors and members of the public. 
Tommy chaired the meeting and after a discussion concerning the new traffic regulations he introduced Alastair to give an account of the recent meeting between the seven Councils and the Glenurquhart Road high heid yins. Alaistair said:

"We had a very good meeting on Monday morning with Thomas Pragg, Stuart Black, Malcolm MacLeod and the outcome of that is that we had a very serious discussion and that was on the back obviously of what we thought and we all agreed was a very serious situation: a real complete breakdown in trust and confidence between Nairnshire and the Highland Council planners and we agreed we must resolve this and move on to a better way of working in the future.

We had a long discussion where all seven Community Council Chairs gave their opinion on what they thought was happening. Basically you either believe that this planning process is going to continue and whatever we say it won’t change or we basically say look, there are a whole lot of things here that are just not right, that what was possibly true in 2006 is not true in 2013 and that we (that’s Nairnshire), the four Nairnshire councillors, the seven Nairnshire Community Councils (if you include Croy), really want to be involved in – what I think the new consensus is, a new plan for the Inner Moray Firth. Especially in Nairnshire and to try and get to a situation where we go forward. So the proposal we put forward is that we need to agree realistic timescales. We think the plan should be between 2015 and 2020. […] A lot of this discussion was about prioritisation, and all this prioritisation is against a limited financial pot.

Alastair then went on to say how these ideas fitted with the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Bill and with COSLA’s vision for a stronger local democracy in Scotland, the integration of Health and Social Care and also with locality planning.

He finished by saying that it had been acknowledged by Thomas Prag that to have seven Community Council Chairs in a room unanimously saying they were not happy had to be taken as a significant factor. 

After Alastair had finished Dick went on to describe a meeting between the three Nairn Community Council Chairs and the town’s four Councillors and the ward manager Liz Cowie:

“We had a very short meeting and half an hour to put our case to our local four and to Liz Cowie. We went with, we went through virtually everything Alastair has just gone through and how we saw the Community working very strongly with the Councillors who are elected, there is a large vocal group behind them and the support of the communities they are representing and the ward councillors – we felt we should be much closer in with them so actually the decision taking that has got to be done locally with them in a very balanced way. We didn't get much reaction, very little humour and certainly not a lot of support which was rather unfortunate because we were really opening the door for something that will actually fit with Government policy."

Dick then also mentioned the Community Empowerment Bill: “There’s tremendous change now, we are really at the start of something quite major.”

Michael Green was the only Highland councillor present at the joint meeting last night (although Liz and Colin had sent their apologies). He offered his support once again to the efforts of the joint Nairn Community Councils. Michael told how he and other colleagues had put forward a motion to the Highland Council that will be discussed on the 19th of December to try and get a new framework, “to try and implement the changes that we want to see,” he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at just how many times the Gurn reports on meetings whereby apologies for not attending are proffered by certain councillors. Is local no longer no longer on their agenda, or are there more profitable meetings and committees to sit on in Inverness?