Sunday, January 31, 2016

Traffic Report: objections stacking up at the proposed Ghost Island turn-off to Delnies Development

We reported on the re-emergence of the "Ghost Island" proposal back at Christmas time. More information here. 

The idea of such a junction into proposed developments that could include both Sandown and Delnies housing in the future instead of a roundabout is not going down well second time around. 

Just a few bitties plucked from the objections page on the Highland Council's e-planning site:

"The proposed "T" Junction with Ghost Island will be on a stretch of the A96 which is extremely dangerous with heavy traffic at peak times and fast traffic at all times. The T junction is at a point where there is a hollow in the road and east bound traffic travelling fast on the A96 from the Ardersier Junction cannot see west bound cars in this depression. The east bound drivers think the road is clear for overtaking when it is not. Traffic queuing in a ghost island or attempting to exit from the "T" junction is going to be dangerously vulnerable.
The Nairn Bypass has not been built yet and until such time as it has been completed it is impossible to estimate traffic flow on this detrunced section of the A96."

"The very fast road will be a very high accident risk for traffic leaving the housing scheme. For those turning left views will be obstructed by cars waiting to turn right increasing the danger. Drivers will become frustrated and take risks. Interestingly not long after the last Cawdor attempt to set aside the requirement for the roundabout,I was sitting in the ghost lane at the Whiteness junction waiting to turn right. A 4x4 pulled out from behind a lorry and overtook despite my being in his way!"

"There will I assume at peak time in the morning be significant traffic flows from the housing development wanting to turn right towards Inverness and left towards Nairn. Those turning right will usually have to wait several minutes, and a queue will build up behind them, increasing frustration generally and increasing the temptation to "take a chance". Those turning left will have less of a problem, but will have to be aware of the factors I instance above. If this "outward" flow is matched by an "inward" flow from Nairn wanting to turn right, that will make it even more difficult for those coming out and turning right."

Gurnites can read more here on the appliction's e-planning pages on the Highland Council site. There are objections both under the comments tab and also more to read under the documents tab where there are submissions from the Community Councils and the Residents Concern Group and one other. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

If we've missed anything you sent us this week...

Please let us know if we've missed anything, posters etc. It's been quite a hectic week so just remind us if anything has been missed. 

Nairn Health Group January Newsletter

Staffing

Nairn Healthcare is delighted to announce that our Assistant Manager, Tanya Bowie, has accepted the role of Practice Manager. Tanya has been a part of the team for 21 years and we wish her well in her new post. 

We also welcomed back Dr Amy Carter from maternity leave. Dr Carter will be available from the 18th January. 

Artwork

Patients may have noticed Nairn Healthcare’s waiting room is exhibiting a new arrange of artwork.

The art exhibition has been loaned to us from charity organisation, Art in Healthcare (AiH). Art in Healthcare’s aim is for original, contemporary art to be accessible to everyone in care environments for the enhancement of health and well-being. 

Dr Audrey Banks, Lorraine Lynch (Office Supervisor) and Enita Wesmoreland, Collection Manager from AiH selected paintings for the waiting area and Nairn Healthcare has them for a period of 2 years. 

Apparently this is the first time it has come to the Highlands!

Healthy eating and exercise

Now that the festive period is over the New Year resolutions start, a lot of which involve diet and exercise. Exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. It can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy and reduce your risk of stress, depression and dementia.

A healthy diet contains food from the four major food groups to give us the energy and nutrients we need. There is a lot of conflicting information on  healthy diets. However a balanced diet with low or no added sugars will  
improve your health. Drinking plenty of fluids with no added sugar and  
eating fresh food will help your overall wellbeing.

Christmas Jumper Day

After a successful Christmas Jumper Day on the 16th December, Nairn Healthcare managed to raise £125.68 for The Archie Foundation. We would like to thank all patients that kindly donated to the children’s charity. 

RPIW Workshop

Back in October, Nairn Healthcare participated in the Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW). The aim was to improve patient access to the surgery and to ensure that our patients are able to see the right person at the right time. We were also hoping to inform patient’s of other services that are available to them.
We are now 90 days in to the process and have come up with some positive changes for patients.

Signage and Zoning

There is new signage in our waiting area. Our waiting area houses 22 consulting rooms and is extremely large. We found that patients were sitting at the opposite end of the room they were being examined in therefore we introduced more appropriate signs and divided the waiting area into four zones. Patient’s time with the clinician has increased as they are now getting to the desired room quicker. Also, by introducing signage to encourage patient to use self check-in, the waiting time at the reception desk has been reduced.

 Did not attend (DNA) rates

Nairn Healthcare has introduced a text reminder service. We also have a new practice policy so patients will receive a letter if they fail to attend two appointments within the year. If they continue to fail to attend their appointments, they will no longer be allowed to pre-book an appointment and an appointment date and time will be allocated by the surgery. Since the introduction of our new text reminder service and letters our DNA rate has improved by 50%. If you would like to be included in the text reminder service, please call the surgery on 01667 452096 and inform the receptionist of your mobile number. 

 Appointment Changes

Since the introduction of our new appointment system, we are offering more pre-bookable appointments and telephone consultations. As a whole, our appointment capacity has increased by 18.5% and telephone consultations by 57%. If you require medical attention, you will be spoken to by a nurse or a GP to start with so that you can discuss the best way for your problem to be dealt with.

Local Loon has great result in McGrady Insurance ANICC Junior 1000 Rally

One of our correspondents tells the Gurn:

"Local loon Peter Beaton (Nairn) and his navigator Kenny Foggo (North Kessock). were competing in the McGrady Insurance ANICC Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. This is the first round of a series or rallies, the first took place in Kirkistown near Belfast where he came 4th and this was only his 3rd time rallying. He did have time to make up after a couple of mistakes but that has made him more determined to finish better next time. He is going to be really busy this year as he is also competing in the Scottish juniors with another local boy Jude MacDonald (Culloden) this means he has 14 events this year."

2016 McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland- Rnd 1 Positions 

1st Josh McErlean / Thomas McErlean Peugeot 107 33m04.3s
2nd Peter Bennett / Arthur Kierans Nissan Micra + 35.2 s
3rd Ruari Bell/ Jim Crozier Peugeot 107 + 2m01.9s
4th Peter Beaton/ Kenny Foggo Nissan Micra + 6m48.3s 

Driver Championship Points after Round 1                          
1 Josh McErlean          12
2  Peter Bennett          10                                                                               

3  Ruairi Bell               8          
4  Peter Beaton           7    

Further details of the rally and images plus details of further rounds on this facebook page here.

SNP position on ship-to-ship oil transfers at mouth of Cromarty Firth "bewildering" says John Finnie MSP

In a press release concerning proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth, John Finnie, MSP, provides links which contrast the recent statement of Councillor Maxine Smith, Leader of the SNP Group on the Highland Council to the stance of Richard Lochhead, MSP, back in 2007. 

John, who will be standing as a Green List candidate for the Holyrood elections states in relation to similar ship to ship transfers that were proposed in the Firth of Forth:

"In his first speech as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment in 2007 (24th May), Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, said that “many members of the public and members across the Parliament consider that even a scintilla of environmental risk is unacceptable.”

"Mr Lochhead continued: “I believe that the Parliament—and, indeed, Scotland—desires to be able to prevent ship-to-ship oil transfers and proposals that could pose a threat to our precious marine and coastal environments in the Firth of Forth or elsewhere. That is what I intend to achieve.”"

Mr Finnie goes on: "Yet, as the consultation about the proposed plans by Cromarty Firth Port Authority to transfer oil between ships at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth draws to a close, the response from Richard Lochhead and the SNP Government has been bewildering. "

This issue of proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers is boiling away on local social media groups and this observer would imagine that that is being repeated in other parts of the Moray Firth. One would imagine too that the many thousands of photographers and other wildlife enthusiasts that visit the Cromarty beaches to see the Dolphins and other wildlife every year will also be showing an interest in the proposed ship-to-ship transfers. Many local residents will also be wishing to hear the views of local SNP MPs and MSPs on the matter.  Anyway John Finnie's views are emphatic, he states:

"“This operation is unsafe, unnecessary and undesirable. In my view, and the view of the affected communities, it simply must not go ahead.”

Links provided in John Finnie's release are as follows:

Richard Lochhead’s full speech can be found here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2007-05-24.112.0

Scottish Government response featured including comments attributed to Cllr Maxine Smith in this news article: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/outlander-author-backs-petition-to-protect-dolphins-1-4013997

Nairn Healthcare and Ardersier Surgery closures next Thursday afternoon 4th February

The Local Healthcare group tell us:

"Nairn Healthcare will be closed from 1.30pm on Thursday 4th February for a staff training afternoon. Ardersier branch surgery will close at 1pm. The surgery will re-open at 8.30am on Friday 5th February."

Bratach do dh'Inbhir Narann?

"Chaidh moladh gun deadh beachdachadh air bratach a dhealbh airson Inbhir Narann, beagan làithean às dèidh do Ghallaibh am bratach aca fhèin fhoillseachadh.

'S ann bho Dhes Scholes, a tha na bhall de Chomhairle Choimhearsnachd Inbhir Narann, a nochd am moladh, 's blog aige air a bheil "A Gurn from Nurn".

Tha e den bheachd nach eil Inbhir Narann glè thric air aithneachadh mar sgìre air leth bho Inbhir Nis, agus gur e dòigh a bhiodh an seo airson sin a leasachadh.

"Tha cruaidh-fheum againn air beagan fhèin-aithne saoilidh mi agus 's e àite sònraichte a th' ann ... tha sinn beagan fo smachd Inbhir Nis agus airson a bhith beagan eadar-dhealaichte nì bratach a' chùis airson a h-uile càil - turasachd, seòrsa thuathanasan a th' againn - fèin-aithne mar a chanas mi agus 's dòcha fiù 's spòrs". "

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Highland Council move the goalposts!


Down at the Riverside pitch in ongoing efforts to make the playing surface available for Welfare League sides participating in the Winter League. Gurnites may remember manager of Jacko's side Craig Walker speaking to the Gurn. Local councillors were quick to listen to his concerns. 

Previous article "Grass roots football in Nairn badly served by facilities says manager of Championship side Jackos" here.

Flagging up a bit of a blether

Our previous article "We've got the Nairnshire Committee back - now how about following Caithness and having a flag for Nairnshire?" flagged up a comment or two both here on the Gurn and over at Nairn Rocks and even at the Balblair Banter page - yellow and black a good option to include perhaps :-) One suggestion to that there was a flag once used by one of the previous Councils before Nairn District Council. Then there was an enigmatic comment from Spurtle:

"It's already a work in progress..... but can't say too much yet. Cogs are turning :)." Sounds good Spurtle, spill the beans - Do you mean a competition open to all? That would be the best way. Anyway our congratulations sent up north via twitter got the following responses.

So there we go citizens, Spurtle has proved to be well-informed in the past. There could be something brewing and we also have an offer of expert help.

UPDATE Friday 8.12: Stephen Fuller and Liz MacDonald looking to take this idea forward to area committee.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Born again Nairnshire Committee stands up to Planning Department’s Nairn South Sledgehammer

The official from Highland Council planning department looked visibly shaken as the newly launched Nairnshire Area committee put down its marker behind the people of Nairn against the Nairn South transport proposals that the planners wanted to put to the public for yet more consultation. Michael Green, the newly elected Chair of the Nairnshire Committee said that he was not likely to support the planning department’s recommendation. Up in the Courthouse chamber this morning he continued:

“It is important as a matter or record I outline why I am doing this. We’ve had two years of consultations, with the opinions of individuals, community councillors and councillors and we’ve been against it from day one. The infrastructure just can’t cope and in this process of consultation which I said has been long, tortuous and involved, the one constant has been this assertion from the people of Nairn, individuals and community councils that we do not want this scale of development at Nairn South.”

Michael went on to describe some of the infrastructure options as Thunderbird options which involved tunnelling, narrowing roads and all sorts of things with one constant that they would all be incredibly expensive. He went on to say that it seemed to be a means to an end “and that end was the development of Nairn South at any cost.”

Michael said it was sensible to carry out a new Nairnshire master plan as there were more sites more suitable for development than Nairn South. He said:

“To sum this up Nairn said no, the PIE committee said no, the reporter said no and I’m pretty sure the man from Del Monte would probably say no. 

There was then more discussion with Stephen Fuller and Laurie Fraser asking for technical procedural detail relating to the planning department’s document before the committee. 

Michael then came to his motion: “I would like to move to defer approval of the recommendation for officers to reconsider the relevance and context of the Nairn South master plan in relation to the proposed Nairnshire action plan.”

Stephen Fuller seconded the motion. Liz MacDonald was not present as she had had to earlier leave the room for this Nairn South item as she has land that is included in local development plans. 

Before he left the planning official said: “The principle of development remains in place for its allocation in the development plan and we have to assess any development that is submitted to the Council.”

UPDATE Michael Green tells the Gurn that his motion actually went through 2-1 with Laurie voting against. At the time this observer thought it was 3 for the motion, thanks for that Michael. 

Gurn opinion:

I think everybody knew that this would not be the end of the story, it was about the new Nairnshire committee making a stand with the people of Nairn against inappropriate development zoning that has come our way from the Inverness direction. If the community had been allowed to decide for itself where to build then there could have been quite a few more badly needed houses constructed by now and probably a lot of them on the Common Good land at Sandown – land the community owns and where we could dictate the style and density of development and the adjacent amenities and probably provide local employment in the construction if we were canny enough. 

The direction of travel is, thankfully, towards giving power back to communities. In the new environment will the planners now persist in trying to crack the Nairnshire nut with their sledgehammer or will there be an outbreak of common sense and at last a realisation that Nairn doesn’t want development in an area where the infrastructure can’t take it. This decision by Michael and Stephen puts a huge rock in the way of the Highland Council planning department juggernaut and it is up to them if they want to crash headlong into it. If the planners find any of this new situation embarrassing then, frankly, to this observer it is simply their own fault. 

Getting the best deal for Nairnshire "We have stark choices and we mustn't act in a fragmented way"

Here's a video from last night of Chair of NICE Alastair Noble speaking in the Community and Arts Centre at his organisation's AGM.

We've got the Nairnshire Committee back - now how about following Caithness and having a flag for Nairnshire?


That's the new Caithness Flag and pretty good it looks too. Now how about one for Nairnshire?

Highland Council press release reads:

"A nordic cross and galley symbolising ancient ties to the Vikings are part of the winning design of the flag for Caithness.

Councillor Gail Ross, Civic Leader of The Highland Council in Caithness unfurled the new at a Flag Order of Ceremony held in Caithness House, Wick today (26 January).

The Lord Lyon King of Arms and Caithness Members of The Highland Council were piped in to the ceremony by bagpiper Cllr David Bremner. School children from local Primaries and Secondaries, businesses and Community Council representatives also attended the Order of Ceremony

Philip Tibbetts, of the Flag Institute and Dr Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms both gave an address to the accompanied guests.

With the support of the Lord Lyon; The Flag Institute and the local community, The Highland Council launched a competitionto design a flag for Caithness in February 2015. Four shortlisted designs were revealed in June 2015 and the public were invited to vote for their favourite.

The winner is ‘design A’ - the nordic cross which symbolises the ancient ties of the county to the Vikings. The black recalls the county's geology with the famous Caithness flagstone, while the gold and blue refer to the beaches and sea to reinforce the maritime nature of the county and its heritage. In the first quarter is charged a galley, which is the traditional emblem of Caithness, including a raven upon its sail as it appears in the county's former civic arms."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Nairnshire Committee - first meeting Weds 27th January in the Courthouse 10.30 - Who will come out on top the community or the planners?

"A meeting of the Nairnshire Committee will take place in the Chamber, The Court House, High Street, Nairn on Wednesday 27 January 2016 at 10.30 am."

Why not get yourself down there for the historic moment when a Nairnshire Committee once again meets in the Courthouse. There's quite a lot on the agenda. You can read the items here. 

Gurn Opinion

To this observer what will be indicative of how things will go is if our four councillors show resistance to the latest transport proposals from the planning department that could enable development at South Nairn to go ahead after further "consultation". 

It is plainly obvious that the majority of Nairn's population do not want to see development at South Nairn because of the dangers the extra traffic would present. The community wants to see development elsewhere such as on the Sandown Lands. Will our four councillors reflect this and tell the planners that this area should never have been zoned for development or will they meekly follow the recommendation they have been given? 

"RECOMMENDATION 

Committee is invited to: 

• agree for the preparation of a draft Nairn South Masterplan for public consultation, timescales to be agreed with members of this committee prior to the consultation; 
• note the update on progress in the assessment of Transport issues; and 
• agree that Council officials continue to liaise with Council Members, the community and landowner and developer interests in the preparation and delivery of a draft Nairn South Masterplan for public consultation."

Who matters more - the community or the planning department? Will our councillors reflect this at their first meeting?  Go to this page here, click on item 7 and download a document that will give you details of the traffic options planners want to push forward for "consultation". Will the new Nairnshire committee stand up for Nairnshire or just roll over for Highland Council?

Here's a video that is a quick reminder of what Nairn thinks of proposals for South Nairn. 


UPDATE 1305:  "Just back from watching the Nairnshire Committee meeting. The Nairn Councillors (apart from Liz who couldn't vote on this due to her own planning interests) defied the planners. The planning mannie looked stunned and he said that the decision not to accept the transport report didn't mean that South Nairn was no longer zoned for planning. I think that everyone knows that but this was hugely symbolic in that the community opposition to South Nairn was backed in no uncertain terms by Michael Green the chairman of the new Nairnshire committee and Stephen Fuller and Laurie voted for his motion. There's a lot to do before the planning department give up and put down the sledgehammer and listen to the community about where we want development but it is a great first step. It's the way the wind is blowing - power to the Nairnshire committee!"

The Big Game on Saturday - got to be hasn't it?

Here's hoping we stay frost free for Saturday. Who could possibly disagree with Dave Edwards?
Meanwhile in a totally different twittersphere there's a couple of  stylish gadgies been seen on the High Street recently.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Money to fall out of the skies on Inverness like snow on the streets of New York?

The P&J tells us today that the City Deal for Inverness could be on its way. OK yes, different pots of money etc and Drew Hendry and others were working on it before the General Election and it is best to take these things than let them pass you by. It does make this observer pause for reflection however: at a time when Highland Council could just about fall apart as it has to make £50 million pounds of cuts we hear of this
possible  anticipated for Inverness. 


The P&J states: "Highland Council is bidding for a £300 million agreement which civic chiefs hope would help pay for a proposed new regional sports centre, visitor attraction at Inverness Castle and cultural development with a museum, library and Gallery."


Lucky Inverness but what will we get in Nairn? Just imagine what just £1 million could do for our sports facilities or museum or library or the town centre? It's the way of the world and governments - on one hand services are facing financial annihilation in the Highlands and on the other there still seems to be cash to be shovelled into Inverness. It seems to be a bit weird to understand but there will be a political and procedural rationale behind it. At least we can all get a free haggis however if we follow the instructions in the Press and Journal.  

More on the City Deal for Snecky in today's P&J.

Trying to get a train to Nairn - a remarkable disconnect!

It is one of those timetable anomalies that has been around for some time now and I suppose we just grow to accept these things. Perhaps someone has tried lobbying their MSP or councillor about it - if you have please let us know the result. 

Anyway the London train gets in to Inverness at 20.06 in the evening, yes there sometimes can be problems, but that is the time publicised and this observer has used that service a couple of times recently and it was on time. Incredibly a train for Nairn leaves just before the London service arrives - it goes at 20.04. Haven't the train companies noticed this? If they have do they care? How does this help the vision of carbon reduction in the Highlands? Unless you want to haul yourself and your luggage round to the bus station you have to rely on someone picking you up or wait around until the 21.33 departure. See the extracts below from Scotrail timetables. 
Nairn Train leaves at 20.04 - two minutes before the London train arrives
Surely this could be tweaked by a couple of minutes to enable people to have a fighting chance of stepping off the London train and on to one for Nairn, Forres or Elgin; that's as far as that 20.04 service goes and you could almost think it was designed for people who had just come off the train from the south - potential there perhaps Scotrail - a few more paying customers on seats? Maybe it is because the services are run by different companies and that is it, no need to connect - not a joined up railway but a stitched up one since the days of privatisation. 

Click to enlarge - London service arrives Inverness 20.06

It's crazy - can anything be done? In fact it's so crazy this observer has to pinch himself and make sure he is not hallucinating and that these timetables are real and this is not simply a bad dream of a travel dystopia.

We have a plethora of representatives at various levels of government perhaps they can all simultaneously get their teeth into this? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cinema Nairn celebrates seven years in business on Friday 29th January in the Community and Arts Centre 7.30 pm with "Seven Year Itch"

The Seven Year Itch 1956 (PG)
Friday 29th January 7.30 pm 
Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Tickets at the door 

Cinema Nairn celebrates seven years in business with a screening of the romantic comedy, ‘The Seven Year Itch’. Famous for Marilyn Monroe in ‘that white dress scene’, the film was adapted from George Axelrod’s Broadway hit and directed by Billy Wilder.

Tom Ewell stars as a middle aged New York office worker, who has been left alone in town while his family are on holiday. When a ditsy young blonde moves into the flat above, his imagination begins to work overtime with hilarious results. Even though 1950s censorship made the story a little lacking in realism to today’s audiences, top class comedic timing from both stars keeps the action fizzing along, and promises a very enjoyable evening.

Rebellion in Fort William as Community Council passes a vote of no confidence in Highland Council

The Lochaber News reads:

“FORT William Community Council ceased to exist this week when all eight members resigned at the same time.

Last month the council passed a vote of no confidence in Highland Council claiming it ignored the needs and aspirations of local people.

And, at their meeting on Tuesday evening, members decided there was no point in going on.”

They do intend to set up a group called “Fort William First” however. More details here. 

Nairn has often felt neglected too. Could it get that bad here or are we on the cusp of a brand new dawn with the new Nairnshire committee and the other initiatives that are underway? See the articles posted on the NICE website this week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Doing the BID-ding for the future of Nairnshire - a comprehensive discussion document

Unlocking the potential and building on what we already have. A comprehensive discussion document outlining how a Business Improvement District for Nairnshire might come about and what it could achieve has been published on the NICE website. 

The document reads:

"The new Scottish Government approach to Business Improvement Districts is an exciting opportunity for Nairnshire to develop a new way of working to harness the community spirit and involvement the community already has, and to facilitate delivery of projects that have already been identified.

This paper is an attempt to show how a BID for Nairnshire (including a Marine Bid) will benefit all of Nairnshire with both environmental and sustainable developments. A main objective would be to use Nairnshire’s historic great natural assets to produce more jobs in Nairnshire by means of properly funded developments which must include the right infrastructure."

Pour yourself a dram or make a cup of tea, head over there and have a good read. There's plenty to think about. More here. 

A96 Nairn Bypass proposals on public display - Locals to be given chance to view proposed A96 Inverness to Nairn dualling scheme changes.

This observer is hoping that there are better proposals for cyclists, an opportunity not to be missed really to improve cycling facilities in the area. Here's Scottish Government press release. 

Locals to be given chance to view proposed A96 Inverness to Nairn dualling scheme changes.

Locals and road users are to be given the chance to view proposed changes to the A96 Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) dualling scheme.

A series of drop-in sessions are being held in early February in Culloden and Nairn when the public will be able to view and comment on the proposed changes to the preferred option for the scheme which was announced in October 2014.

The ongoing design work along with the public consultation process have resulted in a number of changes to the scheme.

Along with the proposed changes, communities will be able to see our developing proposals for non-motorised users, including cyclists.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown said:

‪“The Scottish Government has given a clear commitment to dual the A96 which will see delivery of around 88 miles of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen, a huge task but one we are relishing.

‪“Dualling the A96 requires careful, in-depth planning and design so that we deliver the right scheme and help tackle congestion, make journey times more reliable and, crucially, improve road safety.

‪“Having announced the preferred option in October 2014 for the 19-mile section between Inverness and Nairn, which includes a bypass at Nairn, we are now giving the public the opportunity to see the changes we propose to the route following public feedback and ongoing design development. 

"I would encourage everyone with an interest in this important scheme to come along to one of the drop-in sessions next month or view the changes online."

‪As the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme is further progressed, individuals, communities and businesses affected by the work will be kept fully informed and their vital feedback taken into account.

Details of the Drop-in sessions:

Wednesday 3 February 2016 – 12 noon – 7 pm –The Barn Church, Culloden House Avenue, Culloden, Inverness IV2 7AB.

‪Thursday 4 and Friday 5 February 2016 – 12 noon – 7 pm – Nairn Community and Arts Centre, King Street, Nairn IV12 4BQ

Representatives from Transport Scotland’s A96 Dualling team and their design consultants will be available to answer questions on the design work and proposed changes to the preferred option as we look to publish draft Orders for the scheme later in 2016.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Local resident's petition "Tell the Cromarty Firth Port Authority NO to ship to ship transfers in Moray Firth"


"The Moray Firth is home to a resident population of Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise and seals: it is also visited by Minke Whales, Humpback Whales and Orca which will all be affected by a spill. It is home to a wide variety of resident and breeding sea birds and shore birds as well as numerous species of fish including salmon returning to spawn in the Rivers Ness, Nairn, Findhorn and Spey. These are important fishing rivers and an interruption, such as that resulting from a spill, will have an impact on the returning migratory fish.

From the human point of view the Firth is of great importance to the resident population who use it for work in the fishing industry and for leisure with water sports and recreational beaches. One of the major industries around the Firth is Tourism which would be impacted by beaches polluted with crude oil.

The media regularly carries reports of oil spillages from many sources around the globe and gives dramatic accounts of the devastation caused and how it takes years and years for the region to recover. I do not wish to see the Moray Firth put at such risk from a STS oil transfer accident.

A proposal similar to this for the Firth of Forth was scraped in 2008 after a risk assessment showed that the plans poised a high risk to sensitive marine life... let's make sure this is withdrawn again!"

John Finnie MSP launches campaign to stop proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth

We pointed out in a earlier post that the Nairnshire today has a article detailing the discussion at River CC last Wednesday concerning the proposed  ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth. 

This afternoon a press release has been issued by the Scottish Green Party concerning the proposed transfers:

"John Finnie MSP has launched a campaign to block risky plans to carry out ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Cromarty Firth. 

John is appealing to the people of the Moray Firth, and beyond, to sign a petition against the proposal, which could put the Firth’s iconic bottlenose dolphins, Minke wales and porpoises at risk.

At present, oil is transferred onto and off of vessels securely berthed at Nigg, but the Cromarty Firth Port Authority has lodged an application for a license to carry out ship-to-ship oil transfers at five locations in the open sea outside the mouth of the Cromarty Firth. 

Under pressure from local campaigners, the Cromarty Firth Port Authority has extended the deadline for public responses until 8 February.

The Scottish Greens have a strong track record in protecting coastal communities from ship-to-ship plans. A three-year campaign by Green MSPs to halt similar plans in the Firth of Forth ended in victory when Forth Ports PLC dropped their proposal in 2008. 

Mr Finnie said:

“The proposal for ship-to-ship oil transfers puts the priceless environment of the Moray Firth – including our iconic bottlenose dolphins – at risk.

“The plan means that instead of loading and offloading oil in the safety of Nigg harbour, oil would be pumped between ships at the mercy of the waves out in the Firth. It’s little wonder that this risky procedure is seen as a real threat by campaigners like Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

“The Moray Firth is one of Scotland’s most important marine habitats. As well as dolphins, porpoises and whales, it is an important area for seabirds, wading birds, seals and otters. It’s an important fishery and a centre for the production of shellfish. It’s an excellent location for windsurfing, kayaking and other water sports. All that is in danger if we allow oil transfers to go ahead.

“Greens have beaten ship-to-ship plans once before, in the Firth of Forth. With your help we can do it again: please sign the petition at http://bit.ly/SaveOurDolphins.”

Isla O’Reilly, Green Highlands and Islands list candidate added:

“A spillage in this area could cause serious problems for the coastal communities and environments from Ross-shire to Moray, while the discharging of ballast water could introduce further pollution as well as non-native species.”

High Street Gritting anger

Angry comments on social media this morning about the state of the gritting or lack of it in Nairn High Street. In the real world there were echoes of the complaints in the virtual one this lunchtime as worried shoppers negotiated ice station Nairn High Street. It was eventually gritted at around 1 pm but not before one or two people had fallen over in the town centre area. Citizens could be seen walking on the road rather than risk the pavement. 

Anger was expressed to this observer by two eye-witnesses who claimed that the area outside the Courthouse had been salted  before anywhere else on the High Street. 

The weather has been cruel, the Council cuts are kicking in but usually the town centre gets gritted, was there a problem with some of the machinery this morning perhaps?

Nairn River Community Council sketch - details from last Wednesday night's meeting

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. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

NICE's "most important and significant AGM ever" coming up?

Alastair Noble, Chair of NICE, states in his annual report published in advance of the orginisation's AGM:

"We think this could be our most important and significant AGM ever. A whole series of national and local policy decisions, such as the rebirth of a Nairnshire Committee, community planning, community empowerment, town centre regeneration and new Community Councils with increasing roles, in conjunction with our own experiences and hard work, allow us to propose an exciting and deliverable way forward for Nairnshire to benefit from all the opportunities that are available."

Further into his report Alastair says:

"We are proposing that the Councillors, Community Councillors, the Social Enterprise (NICE), the official bodies and the proposed BID team, all work in partnership. We are convinced that unless we get such a partnership model working, Nairnshire will not be able to benefit from its massive potential. All our discussions with many interested groups over these last few years have reinforced the latent capacity of Nairnshire as a great place to stay, work and come on holiday. We are moving towards a very strong position. How then do we deliver?"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Meanwhile just over the border the cuts debate is dominated by some of the possibilities

In Highland we are still to find out if we are to get a Council Tax rise and what will be the cuts that will hit civic life. In Moray there seems to be a wealth of press interest in what is going on with details leaking out. They could be in for an 18% rise in Council Tax according to some media reports and now a story about the green bins only being collected once every 3 or 4 weeks:

"CUTTING the frequency of green bin collections to once every three or four weeks is being considered.

Stephen Cooper, Moray Council's head of direct services, told a meeting of Elgin Community Council that a reduction in how often residual waste would be lifted was being examined as part of cost-saving measures."

Wedding fair in Community Centre - pictures

The Centre was once again demonstrating yesterday how it is the perfect spot for events and exhibitions. Below a few images from the wedding fair held there yesterday.



Individual images here. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Friday evening - fire-fighters extinguish blaze in garden shed in Douglas Street

Just after quarter past six Douglas Street was blocked off at both ends by police as two fire engines attended the fire at the rear of premises in Douglas Street. At one point fire-fighters wearing breathing apparatus could be seen and floodlights had been put in place illuminating the entrance to the garden and the front of the premises concerned. The fire was brought under control by about 6.40 p.m. and no one was hurt according to a fire service spokesperson. 


"Golf: Nairn's Kelsey MacDonald graduates from Tour School with top marks"

More on the National website here. 

Parking emerges as an issue for site of former Windsor Hotel Development

We have heard comment in passing that the development proposed for the Windsor Hotel might not be the best solution for the site but that it is the best that can be hoped for in the current climate and is a better outcome than the buildings remaining empty or being demolished for a new build. It does seem to be that parking is emerging as a concern for some though.

The Nairn Bowling Club have submitted a comment on the Council's e-planning site which reads:

"Nairn Bowling Club being the owner of the premises at XXXX who has operated successfully since instituted in 1880 from this location. We, the management committee and office bearers, are conscious of the impact our members and visitors have when parking vehicles in Albert Street especially during our playing season April to October. As a consequence we are very concerned about the additional parking this proposed development will have on Albert Street, as it is our opinion that the proposed parking arrangement for the guest house and 13 flats is inadequate therefore, leading to further parking and congestion on Albert Street. The Club strives to avoid causing parking issues with other residents in the vicinity and should this application be granted approval parking will be a major issue for all drivers of road vehicles accessing this part of Albert Street,Nairn.

As a sports club looking to increase our membership we would welcome this property redevelopment but at a lower density than that proposed in this application."

A resident from that area also lobbied River Community Council on Wednesday night on the issue of parking in the area of the former hotel and the effect the application would have on the situation. Readers can browse the application here on Highland Council's e-planning pages. 

This time the application is for a smaller guest house on the site again but for a reduction in the number of flats from 16 to 13. The number of parking spaces on the site will be 30. A previous application attracted the following comment from the Council's Transport Planning team:

"Application Description This application is for the conversion of an existing hotel into a smaller guest house with 12 rooms with the rest of the hotel converted into 16 flats. Nine of the flats are three bedroomed and seven are two bedroomed.

Car Parking

A total of 32 car parking spaces to the rear of the development have been proposed and it is unknown as to how these spaces will be allocated between the residential properties and the guest house.

The maximum car parking standards for a guest house are 1 space per bedroom plus 1 space per 3 staff which equates to approximately 13 car parking spaces.

The maximum car parking standards for flats is 1.2 spaces per flat and 0.3 spaces per flat for visitors. This equates to 24 car parking spaces. Therefore the maximum car parking standards for both uses is 37 car parking spaces. The Council may accept reduced parking provision in town centres if it can be demonstrated that the development is well served by sustainable transport."

Parking sensibilities seem to be taking effect with officials too. This time round for the current applicaiton the Transport Planning team have stated:
[...]
"Based on the above standards with an estimate of say four to six staff, the hotel would require 13 car parking spaces and the 13 flats would require 20 car parking spaces.

Therefore there is a shortfall of 3 car parking spaces as we would normally expect to see in the region of 33 car parking spaces associated with this development.

The Council usually requires parking to be provided at or close to the maximum standards but in certain circumstances we may accept lower levels of parking if the applicant can demonstrate that the development is well served by sustainable modes of transport. Therefore we object to this application until the applicant provides a Transport Statement providing evidence that the hotel and flats are served by high Page 2 of 3 quality pedestrian and cycle facilities and there is convenient access to nearby frequent public transport services. We are satisfied with the level of disabled car parking."

The present sorry state of what was once one of Nairns's most popular hotels

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Grants available to help nurture Nairnshire!"

Nairn Highland Councillors have set aside £25,000 from the local Ward Discretionary budget to let the local community decide for themselves which projects are needed in their area.

Community and voluntary groups in Nairnshire are being encouraged to think of projects that add value to their day-to-day activities. Grants of £200 – £2,500 will be available for groups to put these ideas into action.

Any local community, voluntary or non-profit group can apply; projects can be large or small and should aim to make Nairnshire a better place. The funding can be used to fund new projects or go toward bigger projects or ideas.

Projects that meet the eligibility criteria will be asked to present their ideas at a ‘Nurturing Nairnshire’ community event on Saturday 12 March, 10am in the Community and Arts Centre, King Street, Nairn, where local people will collectively agree what projects should be supported.

Provost of Nairn, Councillor Laurie Fraser speaking on behalf of Nairn Ward Members said: “This is a chance for the local community to make decisions about how funds are allocated at a local level, by empowering the community to make decisions on projects that are most important to the local area.

“In Nairn, there are a lot of successful community and voluntary organisations, and I would encourage them all to think about submitting an application - the process is easy and support is available.”

Application forms can be downloaded from The Highland Council Website at:


or collected from the Nairn Service Point, Library or Community Centre.

Anyone requiring further information or assistance with the application please contact:
Sam Morrison, Nairn Community & Arts Centre - 01667 453476
Shona McDonald, Youth Development Officer - 07825116484
Lizbeth Main, Sign-post - 01667 455234

The deadline for applications is 5pm Wednesday 17 February 2016


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nairn Economic Initiiative Newsletter January 2016

An interesting read in this newsletter below provided to the Gurn by Gemma Hill of the NEI. News of a few things that could give a boost to the local economy.

Dear All, 

This newsletter is intended as an introduction to those of you I’ve not had the chance to meet yet, as well as a synopsis of the past 3 months working for the Nairn Economic Initiative (NEI), for which the Association of Nairn Businesses (ANB) is the lead partner. My role is a part-time, short-term position, shared with Sharon Green. The post is funded partly by The Highland Council Nairnshire ward budget and partly by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and was established with the remit of developing, enabling and co-ordinating the achievement of NEI’s prioritised projects and key outcomes, and assisting with the identification and procurement of funding to drive these initiatives forward. The NEI steering group consists of Michael Boylan, Chair of the ANB, Sheena Baker, Treasurer, ANB and Steve Westbrook, an Economist. 

My own background as a consultant and project manager, in both the British and European private and public sectors, has allowed me to either manage or work on many projects, using a collaborative approach, to achieve common goals. I have been delighted to meet with many of you to engage in the various projects that have been prioritised by the NEI, and, whilst there is still much work to be done in 2016 and in subsequent years, I am pleased with the headway that has been made in the closing months of 2015. 

The NEI initiatives fall into 4 broad categories, which were borne out of a meeting in 2014 at the Golf View Hotel - Marketing, Events & Entertainment; Tourism, Culture & Heritage; Amenity & Infrastructure; and Business Development. 

For the Marketing Group, work has been focused on the redevelopment and ‘bringing into 2016’ of the NairnScotland Website, led by Steven Jack, which was handed over from The Highland Council. As this site is still, at present, publicly funded, the initial objective has been to update the old site in both ‘look and feel’ and content, to act as a ‘Gateway’ site to signpost potential customers and end-users to the other excellent and extremely informative websites Nairn has to offer; a hub to showcase all information relating to Nairn. 

We are also thrilled that the Nairn Academy have agreed to run a project, led and championed by Sharon Sharkey, Head of Technology, with her talented team of students, to produce a logo and branding design options. Sharon and her team will be working with a design brief, based on information gathered from the public’s response to the Survey Monkey criteria, to produce options with a view to developing a unique and unifying ‘fingerprint’ for Nairn. There will be a consultation period to invite all groups to be involved in appraising the options. It is exciting to have such enthusiasm from an experienced teacher and artist and her wealth of local young talent, and we look forward to seeing the options created towards the end of February. This will also form part of a potential Marketing Strategy for Nairn. N.E.I Nairn Economic Initiative

 The images on the site are being provided by a team of local photographers. I would like to say a particular thank you to David Brownless, who is leading on this aspect of the website project. Please contact me via the below email address if you would like to be involved. All photographs will be fully accredited and protected.

Sharon Green has researched and compiled an extensive listing of funding streams that are suitable for the project areas that NEI specified and will be a useful resource for other organisations in Nairn in the future. She concentrated particularly on the Amenities & Infrastructure and Tourism/Culture & Heritage categories and, during October and November, worked on researching funding streams that are ideal for progressing any of these projects. In particular, Greening Nairn, Castle Square, Coastal Paths and the Coastal Cycle Path, for which she arranged a well-attended meeting to discuss progressing these initiatives and next steps have been identified. If you would like more information on funding aspects please contact sheenabaker46@btinternet.com in the first instance. 

Several discussions have taken place, which will be progressed in the coming months, regarding the formation of a possible Destination Management Organisation, (DMO), the objective of which would be to bring various groups together to work collaboratively for the future of Nairn on shared goals for increasing tourism impacts in the area. 

Ground work is also currently in progress to develop the business case for the construction of new commercial units in Nairn. Whilst this initiative is more long term, the way is being paved to ensure that it is firmly on the agenda. 

Under the Business Development category, work has begun to explore the practicalities of establishing Nairn as the centre of care provision training in the Highlands. I will be producing a draft over-arching strategy document and an attachment detailing each of the NEI initiatives, including objectives, scope, action plan, responsible people, working group members, timescales and identified funding streams, with the criteria required for each application.

 I will then circulate this and consult with the various groups in Nairn for their input, asking each group to add their initiatives in the same format. Following completion of this, Sharon Green will be able to add in any additional identified funding streams against initiatives, with relevant application criteria, and offer support and assistance to other groups with achieving funding for their initiatives. 

May I take this opportunity to welcome any feedback, input or questions to gemmahill@me.com as well as to say a big thank you to those who have afforded their time to working on these initiatives in the last few months. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with all of those I have come into contact with so far and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the near future in order to ensure all objectives are achieved.

 May I wish you all a very happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you over the coming weeks and months. 

Kind regards 
Gemma Hill 
NEI

Nairn River CC minutes of meeting 9th December 2015

Gurnites may wish to browse the minutes of the meeting held on 9th December 2015 which have now been published on line by Nairn River Community Council - they are available here.

A meeting also took place in the URC hall last night. More details on the Gurn when time permits. 

Superstar to play for Music Nairn!‏ Saturday 24th January

Pascal Rogé (Piano)

Sunday 24th January 7.30pm

Nairn Community and Arts Centre , King street, Nairn IV12 4BQ

Tickets available in advance and on the night from Nairn Community Centre, or www.musicnairn.org.uk

Music Nairn are honoured to host world class French pianist Pascal Rogé on Sunday 24rd January at Nairn Community and Arts Centre. He exemplifies the finest in French pianism, and by the age of 17 had won several international piano competitions and become an exclusive Decca recording artist.
Pascal Rogé

Pascal has performed in almost every major concert hall in the world, with every major orchestra across the globe and has collaborated with the most distinguished conductors in recent history.

His playing of Poulenc, Satie, Fauré, Debussy, Saint-Saëns and especially Ravel, is characterized by its elegance, beauty and stylistically perfect phrasing, and Sunday’s beautiful programme highlights pieces by four of these well loved composers.

Following on from the dreamy Satie ‘Gymnopédies’ which open the concert, the Ravel ‘Sonatine’ and Poulenc’s ‘Les Soirées de Nazelles’, (a series of eleven lyrical improvisatory pieces), continue the flow of French impressionism at its finest. More of Satie’s quirky and fascinating miniatures lead on to what will be a spellbinding finale – Book 1 of Debussy’s stunning Preludes including well known favourites ‘The Girl with the Flaxen Hair’ and ‘The Sunken Cathedral’.

This is a concert not be missed, and tickets are available in advance and on the night from Nairn Community Centre, or on line at www.musicnairn.org.uk

Just a few facebook based matters that our readers have alerted us to...

Drew Hendry is wanting your delivery charge horror stories, here’s his video explaining the latest stage in his ongoing campaign to get something done about unacceptable deliver charges to the Highlands.

It’s a good way off yet but thanks to Kate who tells us about the vinyl pop up shop that will appear in the Crafty Wee Birdie on March 27th. Anyone else still got a vinyl stash? More information here. 

Know anyone whose first language isn’t English but wants to learn? There is a class “English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in Nairn Library on Monday afternoons. More information here on the Highlife Highland Facebook page.

Is a football free craft group on Saturday afternoons the thing you have been looking for? More information on the the  Nairn Wool Shop’s social media page here. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Meanwhile on Balblair Road Banter the latest interview - Ian Green puts the questions to Ali Nicol

Get the County Fans latest - what does fundraising legend and former player Ali think on the managerial issue? You'll have to be on Facebook and a member of Balblair Road Banter to find out. 

Vandalism on the Links - turf badly damaged by vehicle

According to reports on social media the damage shown in the images below occurred last night. Local residents are reflecting on the damage in a lively debate on the popular facebook group Nairn Rocks. 

Nairn Central "There are approximately 350 residential properties and 30 non-residential properties at risk of flooding" more SEPA information

Yesterday we published some information from SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) flood risk management documents for Nairn East and Auldearn and also a link to a document for Nairn West and Ardersier, you can find that article here.  Those documents detail the risks for those areas, and there are some quite considerable ones as these images here from August 2014 illustrate, but the biggest danger facing Nairn from flooding is highlighted in SEPA's document for Nairn Central, see the graphic below. 

A pie-chart from the SEPA Nairn Central Flood Risk Management document
 One of our readers left a comment on that previous article, here's a part of it:

"In the SEPA document for each vulnerable area, there is a task-heading "Flood Protection Study", and an entry showing responsibility for delivery of the study. Highland Council in each case. Nairn Central is Priority 2 out of 23 for Highland Council, Nairn East & Auldearn 6 of 23, and Nairn West & Ardersier 20 of 23.
  
And how is the Council progressing with this work - especially Nairn Central (which includes Fishertown) and is the second-highest priority flood-study needed in the region? Umm - it's shown as "Not Started", and has an indicative delivery date of 2016-2021. That's just for the study, not for any protection/prevention measures." More of that comment received displayed on previous article here. 

To put it in SEPA's own words: "A study is required to focus on direct defences to provide protection from river and coastal flooding. Other actions may also be considered in order to develop the most sustainable range of options."

To see maps, statistics, historical information and actions SEPA deem necessary for Nairn Central please read this document here.

To illustrate the very real danger here are a few Gurn pictues of a high tide on the 5th of December 2013 when water strarted rising on lower Harbour Street. 

Time for our councillors to get this study in motion (it is priority 2 out of 23 after all) to enable speedy subsequent follow-up action to protect the Fishertown?


Video from 15th December 2012