Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Nairn goes back to the ballot boxes in November

The General Election will be done and dusted within a couple of days and (unless there is some calamity and a re-run later this summer) the next time we all have a vote in Nairn will be in November when the Community Council elections will come round with a lot less fanfare than the present goings-on.

Nairn West CC and Nairn Suburban CC hoped to be joined together in municipal matrimony by November. If all goes well Nairn will then be split into two CC areas, one of which will broadly encompass the West End and the Western Suburbs and the other will take in the town centre and the rest of the town. A long time ago some official somewhere drew up three lines on the map setting out the boundaries for the three existing CCs. At the last reorganisation the Westies and the Subbies wanted everything to go into one Council for Nairn but River Community Council objected. Those members of the public that responed to consultation at the time were by a large majority in favour of a single community council for Nairn which would have been an embryonic vehicle that would have been well placed for the forthcoming Scottish Government Community Empowerment bill and other possible future initiatives that will attempt to turn round the last two or three decades of centralisation.

Other towns have a single community council, there’s a list of some of them here and other debate in favour of a single Community Councilfor Nairn from back in 2010 here. It wasn’t to be though and the status quo of three CC’s has remained since. We could be down to two soon though.

Will the novelty of an amalgamated Westies and Subbies CC come to fruition by November however? There is worry that the Highland Council are dragging their feet in setting a date for meeting open to the public where the merits of the merger can be debated and, presumably, offering the opportunity for any citizen to display just cause why the two CCs cannot be joined together? Lack of information about what form the meeting will take is also causing disquiet. Brian Stewart, the Chair of the Westies, said at their regular meeting last week:

“What we don’t know from the Council who have required this meeting is who is going to chair it? What the proposition or what motion is going to be on the table and indeed what the idea and purpose of the meeting is.

It is not us who is driving this. We’ve said to the Council we are very happy to engage in whatever process they see as suitable and appropriate but it is a requirement they have put upon us.

If we had the opportunity to convene a meeting, get ourselves together, get everyone who is interested to come along, we’ll do it. The difficulty at the moment is that we are in a sense subject to the direction and the guidance of Highland Council as the local authority.”  

There was also discussion about whether the meeting would be open only to the residents of the West and Suburban CC areas or whether members of the public who live in the River CC area would attend. Is this anxiety all about nothing? Will the Westies and the Subbies get to the Church in time or will fate and the speed of local government machinery deal a fatal blow to the romance? 


Anonymous said...

So a handful of River CC folk hold the town back and go against general opinion

Democracy but not what we need

Anonymous said...

Some of us think we should have MORE community councils, based on the old areas we used to have to elect our Burgh Councillors.

Anonymous said...

The River community council must have there reasons for not wanting to amalgamate, could it be they don't want the westies trying to take over?

Anonymous said...

The Westies will take over and the Tradespark folk should steer clear!

Graisg said...

The ones that take over the the new Westie/Subbie CC anon will be the ones who are duly elected by the democratic process