Here's a press release below from Highland Council. This observer attended part of this meeting this morning and was quite impressed by the performance of Margaret Davidson the Leader of the Council who was in Nairn for this meeting. Much of what she said will be sweet music to the ears of the usual suspects. If time permits we hope to get round to reporting some more of what she said.
A draft list of local strategic priorities for Nairnshire, which reflect the geographical diversity of the Ward, has been drawn up by members in order to ensure that local needs and issues are taken into account by the Council as a whole.
The draft list of priorities identified by local Members includes:
Economic development and prosperity – this includes developing a blueprint for economic and regeneration with key targets and timescales for Town Centre, Harbour area and business park
Broadband and connectivity – developing wifi and bringing a minimum of 4G to all areas of the Ward
Community/localism - supporting local participatory budgeting initiatives
Transport and infrastructure – Supporting delivery of A96 Bypass and lobbying to improve sewerage infrastructure
Housing development – Development of key sites and affordable housing, including proposals to be included in the City Region Deal
Health and social care – ensuring quality local care provision
Education – seeking opportunities to develop higher education provision and skills and employability for young people
Partnership working – working with partners to create a dynamic change agenda for development of Nairn
Chair of the Nairnshire Area Committee, Councillor Michael Green said:
“These priorities will include the creation of a blueprint for Nairn for economic development and regeneration with key targets and timescales for town centre and harbour regeneration, tourism development and business improvement.
“We want to take the opportunity to make Nairn the watersports capital of the Highlands and attract even more visitors to the area. We have a large sailing club, a growing kayak club, a world class golf resort, dolphin tours and many other attractions. We also have a growing cruise ship market in the Highlands and we need to capitalise on all these factors to grow Nairn as a tourist destination.
“Improving the quality of our bathing water and upgrading our sewerage infrastructure are vital and we need to put Nairn at the front of the queue for investment.”
He added: “Fundamental to the success of the area is good infrastructure and connectivity, both for broadband and for transport. Nairn needs reliable broadband and mobile phone coverage, and we will aim to develop Nairn as a wifi town.
Together, we will work with partner organisations to create a dynamic change agenda for Nairnshire.”
The Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson visited the Area Committee to hear about the local priorities and what the Council can do to help progress these.
She said: “Broadband connectivity is very high on our council agenda and this issue appears on the lists of all the areas’ priorities. The BT broadband contract is nearly completed and there are ongoing improvements with new and upgraded mobile phone masts underway. However there are still areas with very poor connectivity and we now need to know what the Scottish Government’s plan is for 100% coverage. It is too important for business and leisure and our way of life.”
She added: “I am pleased to see local priorities being developed. This is the biggest Council in the UK, in geographical size and members. We cover diverse and widespread communities, each with their own unique challenges and needs. The Council is committed to a localism agenda, which means we really want to hear want matters to local people so that we can target our efforts and design our services accordingly.
“We have our Highland First Programme and each Area is now identifying their local priorities, which is a good start in actually empowering people to work in partnership with the Council to make real improvements and reduce inequalities across the Highlands. I want Area Committees to be really specific in identifying areas for local economic development. We have a short time available in the term of this Council, but I am convinced that we can make some real inroads.”
Members debated the draft priorities which will be further defined and agreed at the next area committee meeting in December.