It isn't fun for motorists and even worse for pedestrians, especially on the dark mornings and evenings when children are on their way too and from school. There will probably not be any real improvement until a bypass is built. It is a very dangerous spot and local campaigners warned the planners and the developers that this bridge simply couldn't take major development on this side of Nairn but their views were ignored. It took the Scottish Government's reporter to spell it all out succinctly when he refused the appeal to build 320 houses at South Nairn. The planning inquiry team took a look at the Cawdor Road situation during the rush hour whilst they were in Nairn to hear evidence in June.
The South Nairn planning hearing decision was published in October. Read below to see what the Reporter had to say in his conclusions.
60. There is a proven requirement for additional housing land supply in Nairn. The principle of mixed use development on the appeal site has been established through the Nairn South development allocation set out in Policy 18: Nairn South in the adopted Highland-wide Local Development Plan 2012 (HwLDP). However, the proposal fails to meet 4 key requirements for development to proceed which are set out under Policy 18.
61. Firstly, the policy states that Phase 1 will be mainly residential use but with localised employment opportunities as part of a mixed use masterplan for the area. The appeal proposal covers part of the Phase 1 area and includes only residential development and so fails to meet this mixed use requirement and, instead, relies on the provision being met on land outwith the appeal site.
62. Secondly, I do not have confidence in the appellants’ transport assessments and projections. The appellants have not provided a comprehensive transport assessment that is based on robust, relevant and up to date surveys and data. I find that it is very likely that the transport assessment upon which the appellants rely has underestimated future traffic flows on the local road network. In addition, the assessment has not taken full account of local conditions along Cawdor Road and, as a result, it is likely that the capacities of Cawdor Road and the Cawdor Road / Balblair Road / railway bridge junction to accommodate future traffic levels have been overestimated. Because of these deficiencies, I cannot rule out the possibility that the Cawdor Road / Balblair Road junction would be unable to cope with peak hour traffic flows on completion of the proposed development in 2020/2021.
63. Thirdly, my concerns about road and junction capacities are compounded by the substandard geometry and condition of Cawdor Road, Balblair Road and their associated footways. The proposal would prejudice the safety of all road users, including pedestrians and children walking to and from school, through its failure to provide adequate measures to improve the Cawdor Road carriageway and the single, narrow footway on its eastern side between its junctions with Millbank Crescent and Elizabeth Street.
64. Finally, the proposed development layout does not incorporate a distributor-type link road or other connector road of a suitable standard which would provide a convenient and \attractive route from Balblair Road to Cawdor Road and help reduce reliance on Balblair Road as a link between Nairn South and the town centre.
65. Therefore, the proposal fails to meet the essential road and transport infrastructure requirements set out in Policy 18 and supplemented in the Strategic Masterplan - Phases 1 and 2, Nairn South. These important matters outweigh the proposal’s potential contribution to the local housing land supply and its high standard of design. I conclude, for the reasons set out above, that the proposed development does not accord overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would still justify granting planning permission. I have considered all the other matters raised by parties, but there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusions. "