We've been asking some of the Community's participants in the Nairn South planning hearing for their reaction to the events that took place earlier this week as the Scottish Government's Reporter, Iain Urquhart, questioned the appeallants and the objectors on aspects of the plan for 320 homes. Pictures of the hearing here and the site visit here.
Loreine Thomson attended the hearing as a member of the team comprising the Community Councils, the Nairn Residents Concern Group and Joan Noble. Here's what she thought of it all:
"My overall impression was that the Reporter came very well prepared to drill down into the Transport Assessment(s). The Appellants, in my opinion, failed to satisfactorily respond to the Reporter's requests for explanations of methodology/calculations/comprehensiveness and failed to reassure the Reporter that they had taken cognizance of the unique and distinctive constraints associated with the underpass junction and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Using the TRICS database to come up with an average was not credible for this development because it was for these specific reasons that Transport Scotland had declined to allow an exit from the by-pass - the by-pass on which the development of Nairn South was predicated in the first place.
An example of failure to recognise site specific constraints was the QC's comments that Highland Council agreed the junction could cope with the capacity, so what was the problem, why were we here.
As to which way it will go, I am undecided. Should the Reporter determine a letter of intention based on him being satisfied that all S75/conditions have been agreed and signed off by the Council and the Consortium, I would be looking for assurance from the Council that they will enforce the conditions/S75 and not allow the Consortium to wriggle out of them by submitting a statement of waiver. Any changes to the conditions/S75 should be brought before PDI Committee."