We’ve been meaning to give a little update or two about the first meeting of the NRCC which took place in the comfortable and reasonably warm surroundings of URC hall last Wednesday night. There were over twenty members of the public present – not bad really on an otherwise chilly and uninviting January night. The newly elected councillors present soon got down to a session that involved quite a lot of business.
Much of it is covered in this week’s edition of the Leopold Street Thunderer with the front page spread “No Paddling Pool this summer”. A very good report of what looks like the likely outcome whatever future consultation brings. Get yourself down to a newsagents and get yourself a copy to find out more.
Page 3 of the Nairnshire also has another report on one of the topics discussed on Wednesday night – the ongoing saga of unadopted infrastructure in the Lochloy housing schemes continues to rumble with a resident from that area Mr Iain Vernall informing the Council of information received from Scottish Water in relation to the sewers. So head for page 3 of our local paper and read “Unadopted Roads sage still unresolved”.
And on page 5 of the Nairnshire you get “Group mindful of oil transfer in Firth proposal” in which the paper reports on NRCC discussion on the proposed ship to ship oil transfers outside the Sutors by the Cromarty Firth Port Authority. Something that has happened for some time in the Cromarty Firth and nothing to worry about if it goes ahead outside in the larger Firth is it a potential danger to our wildlife? You can participate in the ongoing consultation on the authority’s site www.cfpa.co.uk.
Over and above that there was discussion about the latest situation that Nairn River Enterprise finds itself in. Readers will recall that the previous administration of Nairn River CC set up a Social Enterprise company and so NRE was born. It left the family fold before the elections and now is an organisation in its own right with office bearers and a strategy plan but not a bank account yet – it seems that anti-terrorist legislation is making the opening of a bank account very difficult. Perhaps some gurnites may have experienced this for themselves with having to take passports and all sorts of documents in to banks to open an account for a group or organisation? Anyway it didn’t matter because NRCC received instruction from Highland Council to hold off paying £5,000 sitting in their account into NRE’s account. An e-mail from an officer of the Council was read out by Simon Noble of NRE. It said:
“Nairn River Community Council is in receipt of £5,033.33 Deprived Area Fund grant and has been requested to transfer the funds to the newly established Nairn River Enterprise. In receiving the funds from the Council the Community Council had agreed and signed up to the terms of grant and therefore in passing the funds to Nairn River Enterprise are correctly keen to ensure that the necessary authority and governance is in place to do so. It is in everyone’s interest that this is undertaken correctly.
To do so Nairn River Enterprise will need to in a written form agree to the purpose, and terms and conditions associated with the receipt of grant. It is suggested that the Council prepare a new grant offer letter to River Nairn Enterprise and once this has been signed and returned the Council will formally ask the Community Council to release the funds.
Given the passage of time between the original grant award and the establishment of Nairn River Enterprise it is anticipated that the purpose to which the grant is to be used may have naturally evolved. It is therefore recommended that the Community Council and Nairn River Enterprise in consultation with the local Highland Councillors for Ward 19 review the purpose to which the grant will be used. Once this has been agreed it is requested that this is passed to the Development and Infrastructure Service to be incorporated into the new offer letter to Nairn River Enterprise.”
Hopefully that illuminates the current situation for readers. You can find out more about NRE here.
Some of NRE’s plans for a drop in centre close to the Riverside were discussed at the meeting too and there was considerable interest and some questioning from the public benches.
Rosyln Murdoch and Greg Riddle gave the meeting an update on the situation facing the First Steps nursery. There has been no progress but Michael Green pledged his support for the them and pledge to do all he could on their behalf.
The ongoing issue of South Nairn was aired – in short will the planners finally listen to the community who do want development but not at South Nairn where the roads infrastructure just can’t take it. Michael Green expressed his exasperation which was echoed by Iain Bruce and others. It’s ongoing – will the planners see sense and listen to the people of Nairn or will more public money get spent was one comment.
Simon Noble gave an update on the situation concerning the environmental investigations in the former Lochloy quarry. He read from his notes at times which included:
"In response to an enquiry last week the Projects & Facilities Team of the Development & Infrastructure Service at HC said:
The location of the trial pits and bore holes was non-targeted and was largely based on access constraints and to provide good site coverage as far as reasonably practicable. No specific areas of concern were targeted by the investigation and proximity to property is therefore of no significance whatsoever.
There is no meaning to the colour of flags placed on some of the trial sites. These were simply used to mark the trial pit locations for surveying after backfill. They are no longer required and will be removed shortly.
Regarding questions about why these investigations have been commenced in 2015 rather than in 2001 or at any other time since then, this has been referred to colleagues in the Planning team. Given the passage of time we are advised that archived files will need to be located and further research required before any comment can be provided.
Findings of the ground investigations are expected to be reported around the beginning of March 2016.
The 4.2 hectare site at Kingsteps Quarry is owned by the Council and was acquired in 2001 (at no cost) from the neighbouring Lochloy Housing developer."
There then followed planning matters in which representations were made by an Albert Street resident in reference to the development at the Windsor Hotel. A town centre resident then spoke on his objection to a planning application neighbouring his property – he received support from NRCC who said they would support his objection.
The issue of potential flooding in the lower part of the town was flagged up quickly but given the limited time the Council decided that it would be for another meeting but not before it was explained to Cllrs Stephen Fuller and Michael Green that a survey to be carried out by Highland Council some time between 2016 to 2012 should be brought forward as then the community would know what was needed to enable further flood protection for the Fishertown and other low-lying areas. One to watch – more info on the SEPA information in a previousarticle here.
Murd asked for the path from Mill Road to the riverside to be scraped and Mike Henderson called for priority gritting on Church Street and Mill Road while this remained a diversion from the High Street route.
And that was it, the assembled councillors and members of the public disappeared into the night after well over two hours of discussion. The new council dealt with matters as efficiently as they could but the sheer volume of business meant it was a long session.
Next up is the new West/Suburban Council – they meet on Monday the 25th at 7.30 pm in the Community and Arts Centre (note change of venue) and they will probably be just as busy too.
If time permits the Gurn hopes to examine in greater detail some of the issues above. More later this week perhaps.