At last week’s meeting of Suburban Community Council the town centre plan was discussed. Brian Stewart said that he thought Council official Scot Delgarno had said that he would “try and identify possible sources of funding, whether it is government funding or grant funding or European funding or whatever, but to try and relate specific aims of the town centre regeneration, specific project ideas to potential sources of funding and/or delivery.”
Murd Dunbar raised the issue of the privately owned car parking area behind the library building. He thought that when the lease comes up for renewal that the Highland Council would no longer be prepared to pay for providing free car parking for this area of the town centre.
Brian Stewart said: “this will be an interesting one for our elected councillors Murd, they are the ones that are going to have to decide how to spend the Council’s money and if they decide to not to spend the council’s money on re-leasing the library and/or the car park then I suspect there will be a local reaction because parking seems to be a matter that is very sensitive for this town.”
Liz (highland Councillor Liz MacDonald) then confirmed that the two leases had been separated and that they certainly would be keeping the library in the present building. She hoped that they would keep the car park as well and when asked about the figures for the leases she replied that she thought it was about £13,000 for the car park but she was reluctant to give more figures as they might have been wrong. She said she would provide accurate figures after the meeting.
Liz went on to say: “Officers have actually been trying to buy the building because it’s very expensive to lease” She added that they were negotiating with the owner.
Gurnites will not have failed to notice that Highland Council have to make cuts of £46 million in the next three financial years – and there’s more coming down the line perhaps depending on tomorrow’s Westminster budget. Will an attempt to purchase the library building (if the owner is cooperative) make it under the wire before the cuts apocalypse starts? What too for Highland Highlife that provide the library service in the High Street at the moment? They are presently very happy in the building it seems but in two to three years just what will be left of them and the service they provide. Times are looking very difficult and it is a pity that the building was not purchased several years ago when the cash was still flowing. And then we have the lease for a car park – will there be a temptation to introduce parking charges in some or all of Nairn to recoup some of the cost of that?