Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Nairn got the traffic lights and the present day environmental and economic penalty paid by residents and business

The “hellish” delays that can be caused by the Nairn traffic lights were discussed at the joint meeting of the West and Suburban Community Councils in Nairn Academy on Tuesday night. We’ll return to the substance of those discussions but in the light of recent facebook activism by local residents perhaps this is an opportune moment to quote Cllr Brian Stewart of the Westies who gave a short briefing on how we got so many traffic lights in Nairn.

Brian said: “I think the origins of it all are quite clear, a team of consultants run by Colin Buchannan produced a report for the Sainsbury’s development proposal because they were required to. Which was tabled to Highland Council and that incorporated traffic studies which led to or which included recommendations for traffic lights. Highland Council as the local planning authority agreed those proposals as part of the package that went with the permission to develop Sainsbury’s . Highland Council as the planning authority were required to get Transport Scoltand’s endorsement or acceptance of traffic lights because the A96 is a trunk road and Transport Scotland endorsed and accepted them and BEAR Scotland’s job is simply to make sure that the electricity, that the lights work, so BEAR Scotland have no policy responsibility.”

John MacKie of the subbies then made an intervention: “When the traffic lights were being put in we approached the local councillors and not one of them had any knowledge of this – the lights going in. They all deny any knowledge, they were never approached about the traffic lights.”

Delays of up to 45 mins have been reported on Social media recently
Brian responded: “Well there is documentary proof on Highland Council’s files of what was recommended and what was put to Transport Scotland. It is not for me to comment on whether the Highland Council officials presented that clearly and accurately to the elected Council members but there is clear evidence on the Council’s own files on how that set of traffic lights, that sequence of traffic lights came to be. That’s all water under the bridge, that’s all for the past history now. 

The issue now, in a sense, given the range and the extent of the problem, and it has to be said, the environmental, economic and other consequences of the problem. There is an issue here. There is an issue of environmental pollution and all of that with lots of traffic standing static and spewing out exhaust fumes. There is an economic cost to every white van man, to every tradesman, to everyone that needs to come and go through Nairn. There is an economic penalty for those such as bed and breakfast owners and other businesses and hotels and shops that rely on people coming easily to or into and out of or through Nairn. And there is obviously a penalty by every commuter and every resident who has to use that road. Now that’s a pretty damning list on the down side and while it is our fervent hope, all of us, that the magic solution of the bypass will sweep all this away. We’re all realistic enough to realise that we’ve got another 2, 3, 5, 8, 10 years before we are into this brave new world of a bypass.”

A little more of this debate from the subbies/westies meeting on Tuesday night when time permits. Dick, Brian and others had more to say and the only Highland Councillor present (poor Colin, he can get hammered at these events but at least he’s there) also made a contribution.

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