Last week at a regular meeting in the URC hall, Simon Noble gave an update to his River CC colleagues on the organisation's plans for Nairn River Enterprise – an initiative that would hopefully one day take over the grass cutting in their patch of Nairn that is presently done by contractors to the Council. The plans for the social enterprise set-up also include recycling and riverside regeneration. Simon said:
“The expression of interest in the Community Challenge Fund was submitted by the third of November. We will not know formally whether or not that is going to be approved until after it has gone through an officers’ group meeting, a members’ panel. We understand we are likely to hear sometime after the 17th of December. If it is approved there it will then go through to formal approval at the Council. The next stage from our point of view is to try and agree a set of terms with the Council and then develop our business plan on the basis of that. However at the moment we are waiting for Highland Council’s officers to come back to us with some detailed responses to our declaration of interest.”
Simon went on to describe the current work of River CC’s consultant, “So we can’t take that part forward. What Alison is doing on our behalf is taking forward research into available grants to seek match funding, to be able to both, hire equipment if we need to and to employ a coordinator for the enterprise. She is also taking forward work to identify the exact vehicle, entity that we need to set up for the social enterprise.”
Chair Tommy Hogg then said: “Can I just say on that, talking about waiting on the Highland Council coming back; myself, personally I’m pretty disappointed with the way they’re dragging their feet with this. We were basically assured there would be a quick response to some of our enquiries but up until today there’s been no communication at all really has there?”
Simon responded: “Well there’s been some communication but the communication has basically summarised that they haven’t been able to pull the information together.”
Tommy came back: “It’s getting bogged down, the same thing happened the last time when the original application went in about this time last year. It just seemsto hit a brick wall and everything stops."