Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nairn Community Councils – Westies and Subbies to work together and hold joint meetings

Last night at the regular meeting of Suburban Community Council held in Nairn Academy the Subbies voted unanimously for a cosy entente cordiale with their opposite numbers from the smaller West area. The two organisations are definitely jumping into bed together but they will retain their own households, office bearers and minutes etc although the possibility of a full marital union at some time in the future has not been discounted. 

Last night the Chair of the Subbies Dick Youngson said: “Nairn West would like to join up with us for meetings, we’d keep our identities but we’d share meetings – we are talking about the same thing most of the time it doesn’t make sense really[…] It would make a lot of sense just to join forces.”

When asked if Highland Council would reduce the funding for the two organisations Dick was quick to reply: “We’d wait until the next elections and then we might actually come together and funding would be recalculated on a per capita basis anyway.”

Brian Stewart, secretary of the Westies, then spoke: “The thinking behind this is that it brings two or three advantages. One is, as Dick has just said, on a lot of the issues, the kind of major issues, we end up talking about the same things and are pretty much on the same wavelength. So, having combined meetings actually streamlines our efforts to bring together peoples views and then submit them, whether it is for planning business or some other policy debate with Highland Council. It shares our workload and enables us to get through it more quickly without having to put pieces of paper around the streets for weeks in-between each meeting. 
Secondly, I’m sure and I hope our elected councillors will find it a slight relief to their diary if instead of having three separate meetings per month they have one or at least perhaps too, it releases a bit the pressure of time on our elected councillors[…] and of course third and it is part of the same argument is that our poor policemen who are supposed to be keeping the streets safe and control the streets are having to turn up three nights per week per month to say more or less the same thing at three different community council meetings.” 

The question was then asked: “Is Nairn River Community Council aware of this?”

Dick replied: “No we haven’t spoken to them […] Nairn River wouldn’t want to join us I think I can say that quite clearly.”

Brian Stewart then said: “In terms of joint meetings the door is always open. It would be their choice. In principal we’ve always favoured the idea of collaborating, all three of us together.”

Gurnites will recall that in April 2010 at the time of Community Council reorganisation by Highland Council there was a move by Suburban and West to have a single Community Council for the town – this was however resisted by River Community Council and despite the majority of public submissions being in favour of a single Community Council to represent the town the Highland Council opted for the status quo. At that time the Gurn supported the movement for what would have effectively been “The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council” and created a site which listed the pros and cons of such a move. You can read “Time for a Town Council for Nairn” here. 

Since then things have moved on somewhat and there is a school of thought that the three councils have effectively worked well together on a variety of topics and that they de facto perform the role of a town council when it comes to the like of joint submissions to the Nairn South planning appeal. Also in response to an initiative by the then Provost Liz MacDonald, the three town CCs agreed to hold four joint meetings a year. In another highly significant move, recently a delegation of all Nairnshire's Community Councils went to Glenurquhart Road for top level discussions over their dismay with how planning procedures are followed out in relation to the local area. 

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