Monday, February 03, 2014

Colin would like to landscape the area between A96 and the industrial estate with a mix of trees

At the regular Suburban CC meeting last Tuesday night, Rosemary Young chair of the Westies, and also present at the meeting, mentioned that she had received a telephone call from a woman concerning the felling of trees at Balmakeith Industrial estate. Dick revealed that he too had received a similar call and it concerned land half way along from the previous (controversial) pruning of some cypress trees. Dick mentioned that people who lived opposite were quite cross as they used to enjoy an uninterrupted screened view of the industrial estate. 

Rosemary asked the floor of the meeting for comment. Murd Dunbar was quick to reply: “I don’t see any problem in cutting down the trees, it’s an industrial site!” Exclaimed Murd. 

Cllr Colin MacAulay then joined the debate, he said: “I’ve had a few conversations saying exactly the same
thing Murd. They are saying that the landscaping and the trees were there for a purpose which was to absolutely screen the industrial estate from the road and I’ve got sympathy with that and I would like to landscape that area, an entrance to Nairn […] In terms of the people 30 years, more than 30 years ago I guess, were promised that the Industrial estate would be screened, the reality is over a period time it’s not been managed tightly. I’m not sure cypress trees are the most attractive to have. I’d like to see a whole mix of trees in there.”

The Gurn also understands that Colin has held preliminary talks with Keeping Nairnshire Colourful about this area of ground - KNC too would like to plant trees there.

UPDATE: As can be seen from the image inserted above the tree cutting issue spills over into a classic "anger" headline in the Leopold Street Thunderer this Tuesday (04 February morning) with planning issues being examined now. Some interesting comments coming in - see below and one Nairn resident who sees no problem with felling the Industrial Estate trees is Murd Dunbar however (see above) and he reiterated his position to the Gurn last night. He said:
"I also said that people are trying to make a living in the industrial site so let them be seen and not hidden away behind trees, cut them all down  and let people see what is on offer. Often at meetings the subject is how to get people to shop in Nairn if they don't know  what is there they will go elsewhere  it would be  helpful to have a sign as you enter with what is on offer in the site.

As for thirty year old promises what about the railway crossing from the site over to Lochloy? who  will look after the landscaping? some flowerbeds have been already grassed over and as for grass cutting say  no more on that one. Not so long ago there were complaints about ships anchored in Moray Firth too noisey! will we get the railway station moved?  Trains DO make a noise at all hours and the bridge is in the way according to some people but then you cant please every one. 


Anonymous said...

The new trees that were planted to try and hide the awful hack of the older ones outside the Balmakeith have mainly died. How about a large grassed earth hill to help disguise the industrial units from the road as well as new trees?

Shame room wasn't left so we could 'landscape' Sainsbury's from the A96 and the surrounding countryside. You can currently see it for miles around much to the delight of Sainsbury's I'm sure. But I don't suppose that was ever considered at the planning stage

Anonymous said...

Sainsbury,s is the cause of most traffic hold ups in Nairn,its because of them that all the traffic lights appeared,we have more lights now per mile than inverness city has,sainsburys should be paying to get this sorted out,not all people in Nairn shop there,or want to.
its the council,s fault too,for the decline in high st.shops.high rates etc,and giving large conglomerate shops permission to build,thats why small shops cant compete,next thing will be Sainsbury,s opening a café,taking more trade away from the declining high street,

Graisg said...

Sainsbury's provided the cash for the lights yes but only because it was insisted of them by the authorities. The conditions of planning consent also state no cafe among other things.
I know some folk haven't got time for the big stores but love or loathe them there are jobs up there at Saisnbury's that weren't available in Nairn before they came.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in the area concerned since the Boathpark houses were built. I tend to agree with the first two comments, but we are getting away from the point of the removal of the trees. Now, when I open the curtains in the morning, I see something very different to the trees which had become a very familiar sight to me. I feel very sad about it, but at my age you just have to accept these things, because, nobody really cares. I think that it's all about money. I dont know how it was allowed.It used to be so nice here.We lost a lot of trees when the new railway bridge went in, we cant afford to lose any more. Soon it will look like Seafield road in Inverness.

James Logan Ralph said...

The removal of these trees was carried out in a manner without any opportunity for objection by the public. The trees were originally part of a continuous screen along the side of the A96 and as such should have been protected. The trees that have been removed both at Bitz garage, the garage under construction and those cut back we're all done, in my opinion to obtain a clear view of these premises from the road, is exactly the opposite of what was planned. An earth bund along the whole line complete with trees, shrubbery etc is exactly what is needed. It's time the HC planning dept (to quote a previous to town provost) brought theses developers "to heel". The Sainsbury "effect" has added to the issue only in that more traffic is passing, Sainsburys itself is not too blatant as these things go - speaking as an objector to that development too. Perhaps a a subject for a different discussion.

Graisg said...

James, a quick look at Google earth seems to confirm that these trees were within the boundary of the estate and not part of the formerly continuous screen you mention. It is a shame they have been removed however.

Anonymous said...

Was the forestry officer within the planning department not consulted, or the community council, or other local representatives. Are we, the public not entitled to an opinion anymore. Things like this are being done over our heads and we are just standing back and taking it,is it not our town any more. It should not be up to an ordinary member of the public to have to complain about this. Where are the watchdogs?

treehugger said...

So Murd is advocating cutting down trees. I thought he was a tree lover...he makes a big thing of decorating one up the river at Christmas time. How would he feel if someone cut down that tree without any permission or consultation.

Anonymous said...

The trees in question, were, I think Monteray pines. There were about twenty of them contained in an area between two lines of fencing.It is obvious they were planted as screening.There were also mature Birch trees on the site. Was the planner who made the site visit on this occasion blind?

James Logan Ralph said...

Graisg @ 6:39AM
It should make no-nevermind whether the trees in question were in, on or next to the development. According to the developers' application ref:12/03570/FUL, O/L ref:000048308-001 to quote the section on trees
"Are there any trees on or adjacent to the application site?
If Yes, please mark on your drawings any trees, known protected trees and their canopy spread close to the proposal site and indicate if any are to be cut back or felled".

The developer selected the "No" option.
In doing so it may be taken that the development would NOT have any effect on the trees in the immediate area, at least thats how it reads to me. I would suggest it would be very difficult to read any other way.

According to "The Nairnshire" article, Mr Horne admits that the trees were "in fact "on site"", so why, if he is aware that is the case, did he not declare that in his planning application? Accordingly the Planning Application was passed based on incomplete facts. Perhaps the nitty-gritty should have been gone into to allow the locals to have all the information at their disposal to make an informed choice on whether or not to object to his plans. Maybe the HC Planning Department should dig a bit deeper into future applications to confirm what is being declared is in fact the case.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the car is king.

Has anyone noticed how anything to do with cars takes precedent. Icy roads, icy pavements - yeah the pedestrians can wait, we must protect the car. We must have a bypass, who cares if it ruins swathes of the countryside, we must let the cars travel freely, can't have queues. Pedestrianise the High Street - nooo waaaaay, where would cars park. We must let people see our pretty cars in the showroom, who cares about a bunch of trees?

Anonymous said...

This subject has started me back on the wine I was fine for January but when this appeared it got me going again I saw them taking down the trees one day when I popped up to Sainsburys and I thought thats not right You couldnt have missed it if you were there at the time Other folk must have seen it too we should give our support to that lady who is complaining about it They should not get away with it

Anonymous said...

Had a look at this application online ,thanks JLR . The facts speak for themselves.
Will the investigation into the possible breach of planning rules be independent of the planning office who approved it?

Murd said...

Interesting comments and I see a suggestion here that we the public are not entitled to an opinion anymore well the three Community Councils hold regular meetings so why not go and make your views known – I do win or lose.
Also I still feel that the businesses, thank goodness there are now some interested in the vacant sites, should be visible to the road – jobs are needed in Nairn as well as more trees.

Also the few trees felled on the industrial plot will be as nothing to the destruction when the Morganti rain forest next door eventually comes down if anybody ever goes ahead and builds the five bungalows for which there is permission still ongoing I believe – more complaints for that in the future?
Yours etc. MURD DUNBAR

Anonymous said...

At least the trees on the Morganti land are identified on the planning application and a lot of them are marked to be retained.

sealover said...

When and if the trees at the old Morganti land come down the residents of Boathpark will once again enjoy the beautiful uninterrupted views of the Moray Firth, I cant wait!!!

Graisg said...

@ Pine Martin, I have decided not to publish point 3 in full but here's the rest of it.

"Comments on this seem to have ranged far beyond the specific issue raised in the original post. J L Ralph seems to have focused on the key points at issue, which have nothing to do with Sainsburys, the Morganti site, the desirability of having a view of industrial premises, or the use of cars in Nairn.

There are three critical questions that need to be answered:

1) Why did the relevant Community Council not consider and comment on the planning application - particularly as there is past history of community concern about the maintenance of the trees as a screen?

2) Why did the Planning Officer responsible not pick up on this key issue when considering the application? There is no evidence in the planning officer's report that the conservation officer or forestry officer were even consulted.

3) [...], what formal action will the Council take on this? As planning authority it has the power to require reinstatement of the trees if they are regarded as having been felled without permission.

This is a clear example of a situation where the effectiveness of the planning process is called into serious question. Debate about alternative landscaping, or voluntary action to make good the damage, misses the point."

Graisg said...

@ sealover - yes in the application many mature trees were to be left to add to what looked like a very attractive wee housing estate. Since then however, and perhaps before that too, literally hundreds of trees have self-seeded to grow to quite decent sizes themselves now all over the site. The area is definitely a resource for bird-life etc but as Murd suggests one day the inevitable might happen.


Offering A solution if A screen is required then plant it on the other side of the road at the bottom of the Boathpark gardens plenty room for them there! and would give the residents privacy and cut down traffic noise. That would allow people passing the trading estate see what is on offer.

James Logan Ralph said...

Murd @9:21
I think you may have missed two simple points Murd.
1 there are already trees along the Boathpark side of the A96 and very nice too, there is also a full length hedge. The density is about right so no more are needed.
2 the screen is needed to reduce the visual impact of the ind estate to passerbys so pointless being on the other side of the road. Any business relying on people seeing them from the road has missed the point of clever advertising, utilising all the modern methods available now. Course any treeophobe dinosaurs may not see the logic in that view.
Visitors may even sit and idle a while in the town centre if the route in is welcoming but may just shoot through if they discover an industrial eyesore in their faces.

Anonymous said...

What has Morganti land got to do with it anyway

park life said...

Murd's arguments should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.

treehugger @1.28 has already pointed out the hypocrisy in Murd's position - that he bravely fights to protect and even decorate trees along the riverside which he values, but then argues for the removal of trees which other people happen to value.

But as JL Ralph has now observed, Murd's argument is feeble for two other reasons.

No-one would disagree with the suggestion that it is important to create sustainable jobs in Nairn. But it is naive and muddled thinking to suggest that such job-creation depends on the opportunity to put up brightly-lit signs and have business premises visible from the road. A business or industry will establish itself if the costs are acceptable and the available infrastructure and services are good-quality. Being visible from the A96 is marginal or irrelevant.

Remember also that Balmakeith is an industrial site, not a retail park. The businesses there do not, or should not, need to depend on the random chance of attracting passing trade by catching the eye of A96 motorists. Some (Howdens') don't even accept retail customers. Some are essentially storage premises. Almost all provide goods and services by appointment to people who already know what is on offer.

The most sensible arrangement for both businesses and neighbouring residents would be for the site itself to be sensibly screened by greenery to make the approach to the town more visually appealing, and to have a proper and well-designed sign at the entrance to the Balmakeith park off the roundabout. Just like in many other similar industrial parks, this should list all the firms located on the park, with a map or directions on how to get to each of them.


MURD said...

Park life.
lets get one thing straight.
{1} I have already volunteered to give my services FREE to remove trees from the river side.
{2} The tree decoration is for the benefit of all who walk the river and is admired by many.Would rather I stopped taking an interest in trying to make it an interesting walk.
What the river side has to do with it??
The facts are feeble or not. Trees are gone people can see what's there. And I will be probably be gone before they grow again.

B-Dog said...


Jimmy L said...

JL Poor Murd the old eye sight is going My Boy, if you think Morgantis garden is like a rain forest, Specsavers are doing an offer at the moment I think its time you paid them a visit as it clear your not seeing properly.

bird-lover said...

The Morganti site has attracted a wide range of wildlife in recent years, due to its wildness. we get a lot of different birds here,i.e.
crested tits on our bird tables also bullfinches and long tailed tits. They are lovely, I used to see them on the trees on the HIGH street square where the old dole office used to be, but the trees disappeared.
There are of course, red squirrels, tawny owls, roe deer, and one or two other species I will not mention due to their rarity, but you can guess what comes around when there are a lot of pine trees, not to mention capercaillies.I know some folk dont care so much for trees, but they are of vital importance to our environment and widely appreciated for enhancing the rural and urban well as being part of natures highway.

MURD said...

Jimmy L You might be right but I can see what is on the trading estate now with out going to Specsavers.

Graisg said...

Thank You Jack Lumber I will pass that on to Murd :-)