At last Wednesday’s meeting of Nairn River Community Council in the URC Church Hall Simon Noble gave an update on the organisation’s proposed Nairn River Enterprise offshoot.
The NRE has three ambitions; they wish to take over the maintenance of the open areas in the town, regenerative work along the riverside and also create a recycling project. Simon said:
“What we have been finding with the open grounds maintenance, typically known as grass cutting [...] with that project we have not progressed as fast as we would have like. Highland Council have yet to provide us with any documentary supporting information in relation to what the value of the services might be. We have got an indication of what the specifications may be for jobs – cutting this area, maintaining this area etc, etc. So we have got an idea of what potentially we might pitch for. However there are a number of complications. It’s very clear that the Community Challenge Fund which the Highland Council set up a couple of years ago. Highland Council have discovered a number of complications with the Community Challenge Fund which is making it very difficult for them to actually follow through on pitches that are being made by local communities. Not just in Nairn but elsewhere as well.
In our case what we are...what we have discovered is that the Council has not had any form of discussions with their staff about potential implications of transferring services which is really quite concerning from our point of view. Apart from anything else because we are in the business with this enterprise we have got of creating employment and the situation at the moment is that we have certainly picked up that staff are really worried about the prospects for them of our proposals. We do not want to follow through on proposals which have an impact on their jobs. So at the moment we are not clear what the value of transferring services may be and until we are not in a position to make any judgement or recommendation to the community council about whether or not we should actually go forward and agree some kind of transfer of service. Some of the indications are that actually we may have to bid in open competition for some of the work which was not what was envisaged in the Community Challenge Fund and it is certainly not what we envisaged when we expressed interest in the first place.”