Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tom Heggie tells the Gurn that the Harbour road will reopen.

This observer bumped into Tom Heggie today and he told the Gurn that the necessary works down at the harbour come under the title "emergency repairs" and will have to be done. He told us the road would have to reopen.

Tom, a relatively new councillor,  has been consulting his colleague Liz MacDonald who for sometime has been Nairn's representative on the Highland Council Harbours Management Board. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Nairn harbour by night 29th December 2017

Individual images here


Christmas Rocks at Nairn Harbour!

Gurn fashion prediction for 2018 - sand and gravel is out but next year rocks will be big!

Let's rock on! All go at the harbour as a temporary repair goes ahead. Sand and gravel oot now rocks are in. A million campervan owners breathe a sigh of relief?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas e-planning Lochloy badger survey document mystery

The other evening this observer was on the Highland Council website browsing the Badger survey document submitted by Springfield along with their planning application for 115 houses on Liz's land out at Lochloy. 

Now the document no longer seems to be available on the Highland Council e-planning file for this application though and no doubt Glenurquhart Road will be closed for a day or two now - I suppose we'll just have to wait until after the holidays until we can find out what happened to it?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Community Council chair concerned about another part of the harbour - no money for this area either?

Last night Tommy Hogg, Chair of Nairn River Community Council, explained how he had been told by a local Highland Councillor that there was no money to fix the current situation at the harbour (previous article here).

Tommy also expressed his concern about an area over by the housing and cafe where things seem to be going wrong. He said there had been a problem there for sometime but  he was certain that recently it had got a lot worse. 

This morning we went down and had a look. You can clearly see a lot of empty space through the gaps that have appeared. Could this be the next area to suffer subsidence? Obviously Highland Council have this situation in hand too?  This observer is sure that they would swiftly let us know if there was any danger at all to the public.

Perhaps soon we will see a press release from the Highland Council or one of the four local Highland Councillors about the situation? The harbour is a vital part of the town's tourism and recreation infrastructure - just how long will it take to fix things or will they ever be fixed?

More images and a larger one of the above scene here on the Gurn flickr pages.

Grian-stad an t-samhraidh sona dhuibh uile - happy solstice to everyone!

Caran lag ach gathan na grèine air an taigh-cùirt sa mhadainn seo. A bit weak bu the rays of the sun on the Courthouse this morning. Tha sinn a tilleadh a chàirdean, we're on the way back folks!

Nairn Community Councils to hold joint meeting to discuss Springfield application for 115 houses on Liz's land at Lochloy

In January of next year the CCs will hold a public meeting to discuss public concerns over the Springfield application. On a night when there had been traffic jams outside the Community Centre almost up to the start of the meeting at 7.30 pm the watchdogs heard concern expressed over the impact of traffic on the road including the busy A96 Lochloy junction, the sewage infrastructure and the capacity of the the local Health system and the schools capacity. There were also worries for the welfare of the many badgers on Liz's land. 

An interesting discussion ensued around housing lists and the suggestion that it was often the Highland wide list that was paramount for allocation social housing in Nairn rather than simply those Nairn folk waiting for a home. The meeting heard how developers may be building the wrong type of homes when it comes to social housing as the demand for single bedroom accommodation was very high now. Members wanted to know why over the years more social housing had not been insisted on in the Lochloy developments and reference was made too to the lack of any social housing on Sandown yet given the plans developed after public opinion was canvased via a "Charrette" over five years ago.    

Members of River CC seem to be coming round to the view too that any development on Liz's land and on the Morganti plot too cannot be seen in isolation given the effect on the sewage system and also on the A96.  

Nairn Health Care News December


Nairn Healthcare has had a few changes in the past season. We have said goodbye to Dr John Pitman and Dr Rachel Armitage, who has finished her six-month placement with us. Our Data Quality Administrator, Rosie, has also retired after 10 years of service.

We will be saying goodbye and good luck to Dr Katie Reid who will be going on maternity leave in the coming months.

We have welcomed new GP, Dr Nick Baker to the team and will be welcoming new receptionist, Jacqui, in the New Year.

Dr Kirsty Clark has also change her name and will now be known as Dr Kirsty Duthie.

Christmas and New Year opening Hours

Christmas Jumper Week

The surgery took part in an annual Christmas Jumper Week from Monday 11th December – Friday 15th December. We decided this year to fundraise for Team Hamish.

Re-ordering Prescriptions

We would like to remind patients to please have enough medication to see them over the festive period.

You can re-order your prescription by handing in your re-order form to the reception team at the desk, on our website ( or by email at Prescription requests take 2 working days to process.



Christmas is just round the corner so please follow these tips on how to be safe and healthy this Christmas:


Can we just remind patients to drink in moderation and sensibly this Christmas. Research shows that people tend to drink 41% more alcohol in December than any other month. Also, laws make the legal drink-drive limit in Scotland lower than elsewhere in the UK. So if you wish to have a jovial tipple, please leave the car at home.


Make sure the turkey is properly defrosted before cooking. If it is still partially frozen, it could be that harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process.

Keep the uncooked turkey away from food that is ready to eat. If raw meat touches these foods, bacteria will spread and may cause food poisoning.

The turkey is cooked when the meat is steaming hot all the way through. The meat should NOT be pink when you cut into the thickest part of the bird and the juices should run clear when you pierce the turkey.

For more information on turkey and avoiding food poisoning, please visit



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No money for repairs to Nairn harbour following recent road closure due to subsidence

At tonight's meeting of the NRCC in the Community and Arts Centre, the recent subsidence in part of the harbour wall was discussed and Chair Tommy Hogg told the meeting that he had been told by Highland Councillor Tom Heggie that there was no money to repair the damage to the harbour and that it would have to be done in stages. Community Councillors present and members of the public expressed concern and there were calls for a look at the risk assessments etc connected with the recent works. 

Oh dear, the car park overlooking the sea could be closed for some time folks and it is one of those things that folk come to Nairn for too. Bad news indeed. 

7 pm 20th December 2017 and traffic jams in Nairn

There have always been things going wrong with Nairn's traffic lights since their installation. Tonight it wasn't much fun if you were travelling eastward. The video below shows the scene at 7 pm tonight (20th December)


Folk are taking to social media this evening to report taking 25 minutes to travel 300 yards.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

With two large contentious planning applications causing a Christmas stir there should be a good crowd at the Nairn River CC meeting tonight (Weds 20th) 7.30 pm in the Community Centre

No agenda is mentioned but surely ongoing planning issues will feature in the Community Centre tomorrow night.

There's Springfield wanting to build 115 homes on Liz's land out at Lochloy and Deveron Homes wanting to build 32 homes on the Morganti land on the Forres Road. Regulars on the Nairn Rocks and Nairn out Town our views facebook pages will have seen that there are certainly a few issues that people have been raising. 

So folks if you have any views on the two applications why not get along and tell the members of Nairn River Community Council?

Good win for Nairn County through in Lossie on Saturday

There was a bit of a shortage of football in the first half but things came to life in the second session and we came away with a win - Lossie 2 Nairn 3. Below pictures from Donald Matheson and a wee Gurn vid of the final 10 minutes or so.   

Individual images here.

A twilight stroll on a very mild December evening - video

Nairn can be a special place at anytime of the year and a warm December end to the day offers an opportunity to take a stroll. Not an exceptional video in any way at all but hopefully it captures some of the essence of what a special place Nairn is. 

Nairn Academy parent council survey on the state of the school facilities. Open to pupils, parents, staff and the wider community

Monday, December 18, 2017

Springfield application for 115 houses on Liz's land - extension of date for comments

Morton tells the Gurn: "Ken McCorquodale the Planner has agreed to extend the time for comments to 30th January."

In other planning news discussion of aspects of a proposed application by Deveron Homes for 32 houses on the Morganti land at Forres Rd is ongoing both on the Nairn Rocks and Nairn Our Town facebook pages. 

Well worth a read of an MFR article "EXCLUSIVE: Council gag 31 Evanton jobless with secret s£ttlement"

More here on the MFR site. Well done to them for their ongoing coverage of this story.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Springfield submit planning application for 115 houses on Liz's land - just beyond the existing Lochloy housing schemes

The application reads: "Residential Development and Associated Infrastructure at South Kingsteps, Nairn (NA2)" 

The potential for development on this land has caused a few problems for Cllr Liz MacDonald for some time now, and effectively silenced her from commenting on other local large scale planning applications in recent times although she has latterly made contributions to elements of the local planning and housing debates.

Some of her comment on housing development issues was directed  towards River Community Council and what she had to say about them and their response have been detailed in recent editions of the Nairnshire Telegraph. This Inverness Courier article explains the dilemma she faced when it came to the controversial South Nairn planning application: " Lawyers warn ex-provost to stay out of row over Nairn South planning controversy"

Gurnites can browse the application here, there is extensive detailed documentation supporting the application under the "documents" tab on that page.

Part of a planning support document reads:

"The proposed housing is aimed to provide a much-needed new homes for families, first time buyers and older people in a range of detached, semi- detached houses and flats. This would be in a development that would be well laid out and landscaped to ensure that it allows for the long-term sensitive urban extension of the existing settlement through well connected and landscaped housing. In response to neighbours concerns regarding the scale of development in the Northern portion of the site two storey properties have been replaced with single storey properties. 

Our proposals are intended as a sustainable, natural next-phase expansion of Nairn to the immediate east of the existing town on an allocated site. A modern, contemporary form of design will be adopted, along with a layout that reflects current roads standards and Designing Streets approaches. Springfield aims to deliver developments which have a high-quality and distinctive urban realm with an acknowledgment of the six qualities of successful places at its core - distinctive, safe and pleasant, welcoming, adaptable, resource efficient and easy to move around. The houses would be predominantly two-storey semi-detached but with detached houses and a small number of single storey and bungalow properties with established building lines for each row fronting onto principal roads or open spaces. Streetscenes would be broken up by varied house types, landscaping and sensitive boundary treatments."

An extensive Transport Assessment reads:

"The results of this assessment show that the traffic generated by the development proposals will have a negligible impact on the local road network. Background traffic levels are such that the existing junctions all operate well below practical capacity, with no detrimental impact as a result of the proposed development traffic."

One of our regular readers Morton Gillespie told the Gurn:

"Springfield have delivered an early Christmas present to the people of Nairn - a Planning Application to build 115 Houses on McDonald’s field, Kingsteps as part of an extension to the Lochloy Estate. This compares to the 90 houses allowed for in the Local Plan.

The people of Nairn will be pleased to learn that according to the extensive Traffic Impact Study the provision of 115 new houses will have “negligible impact” on the local road network.

This despite the fact that all traffic will be routed through Montgomerie Drive and Lochloy Road to join the A96. Existing users of this busy route may think differently.

Similarly Scottish Water have no objections as they are satisfied that there is sufficient capacity in the Nairn Waste Water Treatment Works.

It’s good to learn that there are currently no infrastructure problems in Nairn and the building of 115 new houses will have no impact.

Best Regards

Morton Gillespie"

Gurn prediction - this application will receive quite a few submissions from members of the public but that may be reduced perhaps by the deadline date of the application being the 15th of January which includes the festive period.

Update: This planning application now being debated on the popular Facebook page Nairn our Town our views. 

Update: A "Badger Survey" on the Council's e-planning file states: "Badgers are active within the development area with a number of active sets and evidence of feeding, trails and older unused sets."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

And the citizens are gritting it for themselves...

Well done the ladies who dealt with the dangerous state of the path down from Boathpark to the riverside. An old lady coped over on the ice yesterday and this motivated a group of women to go out and deal with it for themselves. Images and comment on the popular Nairn Rocks Facebook page.

Here at the Gurn we are hearing tales of quite a few people falling over and some injuries too. Society can't afford the gritting but the hospital bills will probably cost more. Yes the Council boys can't be everywhere but there are a lot less of them these days - the cutbacks have gone to the bone and beyond. 

Mind is blown, game changer, earlier yesterday brought two pints of a decent beer for £3.78

Before this observer left town for Elgin on the train with a friend we had a couple of pints of a fairly decent lager that cost over £9. Sort of what you expect really

Then Wetherspoons in Elgin where two pints of this very nice ale came in at £3.78. It was an awesome moment in a pub that was packed out on a Wednesday night.   It really made this observer think. Wetherspoons what about the Royal Bank site in Nairn - would it make a lovely pub?

Then it was off to the comedy gig at the Drouthy Cobbler, a good gig but not a patch on some of that Wildnight Comedy stuff we used to see around the place in recent times.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cromarty Rising instructs legal advisor to commence a formal complaint to the European Commission about a breach of European law.

Cromarty Rising are again raising the subject of what they see as Scottish Government reluctance to get involved in the proposed Ship to Ship oil transfers. In a press release they state:

"Cromarty Rising, a Highland community group opposed to ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil inside the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation (SAC), has instructed its legal advisor to commence a formal complaint to the European Commission about a breach of European law. Cromarty Rising has written to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on a number of occasions since April 2017. 

Despite promises to respond, key questions remain unanswered. Namely why the Scottish Government refuses to mention its responsibility for European Protected Species licensing. Cromarty Rising wants to know: Who is protecting the protected species? The Scottish Government remains silent on the subject." 

A new application for ship to ship oil transfers is anticipated from the Cromarty Firth Port Authority in 2018. The statement goes on to say:

“This is an absurd situation. The protection of protected species is falling between Government agencies. Here we are two years down the line with no answers and nobody taking responsibility. The primary objective of European and UK Habitats Regulations is to protect identified species and the habitats which support them, importantly offering protection to the species in rearing their young. It is a criminal offence to cause harm. We are looking to the European Commission to call upon the Scottish Government to accept its responsibilities and be accountable for the protection of European Protected Species in this situation.

Ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth are highly contested. More than 103,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees Scotland petition against the CFPA proposal. Every major wildlife NGO in Scotland has objected. 27 local community councils object or have expressed concern. 

Last week Cromarty Rising and Nairnshire Rising, together with Marine Connection of Cawdor, held discussions with representatives from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which has already issued a statement expressing concern."

Anti S2S campaigners demonstrating on Nairn East Beach this time last year
Click image to enlarge and more images here

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Advice to motorists who use the Whitebridge near Nairn"

Issued by Police Scotland

Police in Nairn are offering advice to motorists who use the Whitebridge on the B9090 between Clephanton and Cawdor.

The bridge, which crosses the River Nairn, has an 18 tonne weight limit, which has been in place since April 2016.

Officers have received a number of complaints from the local community about large lorries and goods vehicles suspected of breaching the weight limit.

In effect, vehicles designed to transport loads where the maximum permissible weight of a tractor and trailer combination exceeds the 18 tonne restriction are not lawfully permitted to cross the Whitebridge, irrespective whether they are laden or not. 

Local officers and officers from the Road Policing Unit are being deployed to enforce the weight restriction.

The minimum penalty is a fixed penalty notice for disobeying traffic signage - while any offence could also be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration of court proceedings or referral of vehicle operators to the Traffic Commissioner's office.

Nairn-based Sergeant Graeme Erskine said: "Vehicle operators and drivers of HGVs are asked to give due consideration to the weight restriction on the Whitebridge and help to maintain the structural integrity of the bridge and the safety of other road users.

"The Highland Council has identified a preferred diversion route for vehicles with a maximum gross weight exceeding the 18 tonne restriction, avoiding the Whitebridge via the A96, A939 and B9101 roads and we urge all drivers to stick to that route.

"We will take action against anyone found to be exceeding the weight limit. The few minutes potentially saved in journey time are not worth the risk of the potential penalties which could be imposed.

"Anyone with information or concerns about use of the bridge can contact us on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you prefer to remain anonymous."

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Phallic Snow Art appears beside A96 in Nairn

Yes for once the phrase is spot on - "It's bollocks in Nairn"  The art installation is also directly across the road from the controversial housing scheme proposed by a north company - surely no connection?

Thanks to our regular reader who, although shocked by what they saw, managed to forward an image to us despite their anger and outrage.

Jordan MacRae to stay at Station Park: "“The setup is fantastic at Nairn and there is a great team spirit within the dressing room and across the whole club."

Friday, December 08, 2017

Meanwhile down at the Harbour in the "road closed to subsidence" zone daylight reveals the extent of the problem.

Click to enlarge

Clunas Christmas Conundrum Continues - another mystery gift appears on gates

 Clunas resident David Clem tells the Gurn:

Dear Gurn,

You may remember that last year we sent you details of an intriguing Christmas mystery in Clunas. All the cottages and houses in the area were delighted to find beautifully and lovingly constructed wooden Snowmen deposited at the end of their tracks or at the garden gate. Despite lots of local speculation, enquiries and publicising the event with The Gurn and in the Nairnshire we never found out who the benefactor was.

This year we all decided to put the Snowmen out at our front gates and imagine our surprise that, at the same moment, another Christmas gift appeared in the form of a fantastically and lovingly crafted, wooden, Christmas Robin which was placed at everyone's house.

The photo shows last year's Snowman with this year's Robin plus a close-up of the Robin. One has to admit it is a work of art and to construct about 16 or so would require not only a great deal of time and effort but quite an outlay of cash in paint, buttons, scarves and hats!

Yet again, we have not the faintest idea who is responsible for the work of art!
Does anyone out there have any idea as to the identity of the Christmas Robin creator? There are a lot of Clunas folk who would like to say "Thank you".

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Nairn Harbour Access closed due to subsidence! Video from the scene.

The road down to the car park next to the west pier was closed this afternoon at around 15.00 at the time of the high tide and in the eye of Storm Caroline. The dredger was busy at the part of the harbour where the problem seemed to be though - were the dredger crew pumping material up against the harbour wall to shore it up?

Update Press Release from Highland Council:

"For public safety, The Highland Council has closed Nairn Harbour access road from the point just beyond the Nairn Sailing Club’s yard fence. 

There is currently no access to the large car park at the end of the pier, and there is no access to the slipway into the harbour.

Access to the Sailing Club Yard is still in place at present and pedestrian access for boat owners to the pontoons is being maintained.

The closure is due to subsidence in the harbour wall. 

Access to local businesses is unaffected.

Signs have been erected and motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are urged to heed the signs.

Assessments into the condition of the harbour wall and repairs required are ongoing."

New logo for Partnership

The Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partership now has it's own logo, designed by two S3 Nairn Academy Pupils - Angus Baker and David Fleming.

The launch of the logo coincides with the release of the Nairn and Nairnshire Community Partnership plan.

Storm Caroline no match for material dredged from Nairn Harbour

Accidentals Christmas Concert St Ninian's Church 7.30 pm Saturday 9th December

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Team Hamish Ceilidh 15th December

NRCC fight back against Councillor Liz MacDonald

A letter from Nairn River Community Council appears in today's edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph and it sets out their defence against a recent statement critical of the CC from Liz MacDonald.

One of the initial paragraphs reads:

"We wish to clarify our consistent support as a body for provision of appropriate housing in Nairn to meet local need. At no point have we ever as an organisation taken a position against provision of social housing for Nairn. We are thus disappointed to see this suggested on your front page."

It's a very good, well-structured letter which analysis Liz's present planning position in depth and it pulls no punches there. This observer would recommend that you invest 50p in this week's edition of the Leopold Street Thunderer for this masterpiece fightback alone. Keep up to date, read this letter!

There is actually criticism of our Highland Councillors in two other letters this week and support for the Community Councillors. GS Guthrie thinks Community Councillors have backbone and writes:

"Recent reports in your paper of attacks on the Community Councils by town councillors have caused me great concern. I have lost my confidence in them completely, as I feel this sort of criticism is totally unjustified."

A cracker of a letters page with Ritchie Cunningham also asking questions of Fergus Ewing and the Scottish government on the proposed ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth. 

A very good edition this week fellow Gurnites, break open the piggy bank and get down the paper shop asp. 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Massive hike in cost of renting a garage from Highland Council?

We had a tweet from one of our readers tonight, he suggests that the rent for his Highland Council garage could rise an incredible 2500%

He went on to tell us that in cash terms that would be a rise from £39 to £936. This observer suspects that that would be a fair whack out of most household budgets in Nairnshire. We have forwarded Tams information to Oor Liz (via Twitter) to see if she can tell us whether Tam is merely unlucky or whether this will affect a lot of folk if it goes through.

To get a better idea of what is going on we had a look at the minutes of the Community Services Committee mentioned in the image that Tam posted with his tweet and with regard to garages. The minutes for the meeting on the 15th of February state:

"The continued difficulty in letting garages was acknowledged and alternative ways to address this were explored. It was suggested that they could be sold on the open market or, taking into account any potential parking issues, that they be used as house sites. Many were in a dilapidated state and attracted anti-social behaviour and ideally therefore they should be phased out. In addition, given that most were rented by non Council house tenants for storage and/or commercial/business use, there was a commercial opportunity open to the Council to increase the rent in these cases for garages and garages sites by more than the proposed 1%;"

The committee agreed: " a review of the use of garages and garage sites be undertaken."

More background here from the webcast of that meeting which indicates some of the dilemmas facing the Council with garages and some of the thinking going on. The video starts with Donnie Kerr it is also worth going to 2.22 in the video where an official responds to some of the points made. 

NCFC Chairnman's report -

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Banca Rìoghail na h-Alba ag radh gum bi am bamca aca ann an Inbhir Narann a' dùnadh

Chan e a-mhàin gu bheil e cudromach don choimhearsnachd mar bhanca, seall ciamar a tha e aig teas meadhan pàirt den Phrìomh Sraid agus ceàrnag le Sraid Leopold far a bheil cuisean air a bhith a dol gu h-ìre math, agus a dh'aindeoin a h-uile bacadh a tha bailtean a leithid Inbhir Narann air a bhith fulaing.

Ann an seadh ailtireach tha e cudromach cuideachd. Chithear sin anns an dealbh. Cha mhòr nach eil iad a' dèanamh sgrios air pàirt den eaconamaidh den bhaile agus a bharrachd air sin an sealladh laitheil againn. An gabh dad a dhèanamh? Gu mì-fhortanach tha sin den bheachd nach gabh agus gum bi riaghaltas Lunnainn coma mu a dhèanamh.

"Port of Cromarty Firth says ship-to-ship plans will be resubmitted"

"CONTROVERSIAL proposals for ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Cromarty Firth will be resubmitted despite a 100,000-strong public petition voicing concerns about the potentially disastrous impact on the environment and a world-renowned colony of dolphins."

It is really disappointing, Fergus Ewing and the Scottish Government cannot fail to be aware of the level of anger against this S2S proposal - you would have thought they would have found a way to sort the Port Authority over this by now wouldn't you? An imaginative bit of speedy legislation perhaps?

More Gurn comment on this over the next few days. Enjoy Christmas and Hogmany folks and then  prepare once again to fight the Port Authority and to put pressure on our local Scottish Government MSPs again too.

Meanwhile two wee snippets worth a read on the Cromarty Rising web site: "What’s the difference between Fergus Ewing, Rossana Cunningham and Douglas Ross?" and "Port of Cromarty Firth ignore their stakeholders"

A reminder of what we all got up too around this time last year below. Individual images here. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

All looking lovely and Christmasy in Auldearn

A Magical Christmas Fayre fundraiser for Nairn Play - Community and Arts Centre tomorrow Saturday 2nd December 10 am - 4 pm

Women's Charities and foodbank stall on Nairn High Street Saturday 9th December 10.30 am to 1.30 pm

Labour wifie speaks out against RBS closures

Drew got the ball rolling this morning and he has his finger on the wave of outrage sweeping across the Highlands today. Don't believe us? Go and have a look at the pages of the Nairn Rocks Facebook groups and the Royal Bank thread. 

Hopefully we will see cross-party support against the RBS Banksters and maybe even public demonstrations? Maybe, just maybe, this can be stopped? Now here's what Scottish Labour have to say.:

"Highlands and Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant has hit out at the decision by RBS to close a further 62 branches in Scotland.

Rhoda Grant said “I understand that banks are coming under pressure due to reduced customer footfall with the onset of online banking and telephone banking becoming more popular. However, off the 62 RBS closures,13 are in the Highlands and Islands where access to online banking is limited and the distance to an alternative bank is prohibitive.

“It is the elderly and the disadvantaged who are the main users of on street branches and they are the very people who will find it hardest to either access these other forms of banking or be able to travel to the next available bank. We have to also think about the staff who at this time of year are more than likely to hear they are losing their jobs.

“Village banks especially those in the remote areas are integral to the community. In many cases they are the magnet that pulls people into our villages and towns. If they close we are likely to see what’s left of our business and trading community diminish as the villages and town centres become more like ghost towns.

“Banks always talk about their social responsibility, well in most of these cases the closures seem more about costs and savings than any form of responsibility to the community.

“ I will be writing to the CEO of the RBS, Ross McEwan, seeking answers to the questions many constituents of mine have been asking. These will include what plans have they to reduce any staff compulsory redundancies, how are they going to provide a service to the loyal customers in the towns and villages across the Highlands and Islands and what action do they propose to take to sustain and support the local communities they are abandoning. A further key question that I will be asking is have RBS taken into account the poor broadband connection in many rural places across the Highlands & Islands which will prevent many from utilising this particular service."

Royal Bank no more and ATM goes too! Latest from Drew.

Housing, Banksters - Social media comment on issues affecting the town today on the ever-popular Nairn Rocks Facebook pages

Interesting comments today folks, especially local thoughts on the Bankster decision to close the Royal Bank branch in Nairn, plus a load of stuff about events and businesses in the town.  More here. 

Royal Bank branch in Nairn to go according to shocked MP

News emerged this morning of RBS branches to close. This will be a devasting blow to Nairn High Street. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Finnie Raises Easter Ross Recycling Jobs with First Minister

We're going a little off-piste with this one Gurnites but it just seems so tragic that such a decision by Highland Council means workers in the Highlands getting paid off like this. The details is in the press release from John Finnie MSP which can be read below.

North Green MSP John Finnie raised the plight of 31 workers, who have lost their jobs due to a controversial Highland Council procurement decision, at First Minter’s Questions, this afternoon.

The decision has resulted in the entire workforce at Evanton-based William Munro Construction losing their jobs, after Highland Council awarded a £1.5million recycling contract to a French multi-national company, SUEZ.

The council informed the company by email, less than 2hours before their existing contract expired that their recycling contact would not be renewed.

Subsequently, SUEZ has denied they need to take on any of Munro’s workforce under the TUPE Regulations and the 31 workers now not only have no work but are also, due to their disputed employment status, unable to claim benefits.

This new contract will result in recyclable waste from across the Highlands being transported to Newcastle for processing.

John said:

“It is extremely concerning that the Highland Council have acted in this fashion, essentially pushing 31 employees into redundancy less than one month before Christmas.

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to raise the issue with the First Minister and welcome that she plans to investigate.

“It beggars belief that the council have decided they will transport this waste to Newcastle for processing. They have failed to adequately consider the workers involved, the impact this will have on the local economy in Easter Ross and the wider environmental impact transporting this waste will have and I’ve written them telling them so.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nairn BID meeting goes very well in the Golf View tonight

Lots of support expressed to the BID team tonight from local businesses. More about the BID here at 

Nairn Traffic Lights Abolition Society celebrate minor victory

"local democracy in Scotland is on life support" say Scottish Community Alliance

Yes a lot of people in Nairnshire think that and, in addition, that our community has been shafted over the years with facilities disappearing to Inverness. Many believe that what the high heid yins through there think is good for us becomes the mantra for officials and elected councillors alike. 

Regular readers may well remember the recent stushie between the Community Councils and the Nairn and Nairnshire partnership. For a long while relations between Highland Council and the CCs too have not been very good either and some of the usual suspects are seeing the recent attacks on CCs by Tom Heggie and Liz MacDonald in this light - perhaps that could be true to a certain extent but here at the Gurn we suspect that there could well be additional parochial matters that have been driving these recent outbursts. 

So it is with all this in mind that we publish a wee extract from the Scottish Community Alliance's latest newsletter:

"Despite being woefully under-resourced and under-powered, routinely ignored by local councils and often maligned by public caricature, the fact that 1,200 community councils continue to meet on a regular basis across Scotland is a remarkable tale of civic durability. It’s 45 years since they were first established – a sop to those who railed against the erosion of local democracy when burgh and town councils were disbanded in the 1970’s – and so what’s about to happen has not only been a long time coming, but it’s likely to be an uncomfortable ride for anyone who thinks the current democratic stasis is acceptable."

Will we ever see a democratically elected public body sitting  in the Courthouse again, deciding all of Nairn's affairs or are we shafted beyond return? Some still hold out hope for such advances in Scotland. Anyone interested in these matters might want to read a bit more here on the SCA site. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Raise your lid, pull out a quid (or two) and support the BID - Wednesday night is the night

Finnie Calls for Radical Overhaul of Drugs Strategy

Scottish Greens Justice spokesperson John Finnie MSP this afternoon (28/11/2017) responded to a ministerial statement calling for a radical overhaul of Scotland’s drugs strategy.

Minister for Public Health Aileen Campbell used the statement to highlight that the Scottish Government will refresh their drug and alcohol strategy in the spring.

Responding for the Greens, Finnie, who is also the Co-Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Drug and Alcohol Misuse, pointed to the unacceptable level of drug related deaths.

Mr Finnie highlighted figures from the Scottish Drugs Forum, outlined in a parliamentary motion last week (1), of an outbreak of HIV in Glasgow with 105 cases identified as of October, with a number of these cases having hepatitis C co-infection – an issue across Scotland. He also referred to the closure of the busiest sterile injection equipment supply facility in Scotland, at Glasgow’s Central Station, has led to a significant reduction in the number of clients accessing such equipment.

Speaking after the statement John said:

“Clearly this is a health rather than a justice matter. The Scottish Government must accept that rather than a refresh of something which is obviously failing, a radical overhaul - including looking at decriminalisation – is required if we are to seriously address this issue.”

Monday, November 27, 2017

Deveron Homes Forres Road Development - " please ensure your true feelings are known" says one of our readers

One of our regular readers, Martin, has asked us to highlight the consultation being held in the Community Centre by Deveron Homes for development of affordable homes on the Forres Road site - more commonly know in the town as Jac's plot or the Morganti land. 

The previous application for 31 homes was withdrawn after significant numbers of objections were received by the Highland Council planning department. 

The consultation is taking place in the Community and Arts Centre from 2-8 pm on Weds 29th of November in the Conference Room. 

So folks if you have strong feelings either way about development on this site you could go along and speak to the developers. There will, of course, once again, be an opportunity to submit comments to the planning department when/if a new application is made. 

We'll leave the final word with the rather partisan Martin who told us: "Hopefully a good turnout throughout the day against this proposal will make the developers change their mind."

Festive winter colour for the town - KNC and others brightening up the town with planting and Christmas trees

A Keeping Nairnshire Colourful spokesperson told the Gurn:

Thanks to the continued support of local businesses, groups and volunteers, Keeping Nairnshire Colourful(KNC) has been able to plant up some of the town with winter/spring colour. Green's Nursery donated some bedding which KNC members and volunteers have planted in the Sainsbury's beds at Balmakeith, the three raised beds opposite Nairn Old Parish Church and the Museum beds. Nairn Baptist Church have adopted the three planters at the steps up to the Community Centre and put in winter colour and bulbs for the spring. 

Georgina Innes at Brambles is continuing to sponsor the Rosebank bed which has been re-planted with a colourful display of Greens' plants. Brambles are also participating in the Charity Trees event for the High Street shops and KNC has decorated mini trees for her window.

Individual images here and more below in the slideshow.

Super, super County - Nairn 4 Buckie 1 - pictures Donald Matheson plus Gurn video

It was a joy to watch as County completed this season's double over last season's Highland League Championi. 6 points from Buckie this season, simply wonderful and what football we played on Saturday - it was a joy, an awesome experience. Match report here.

Pictures from Donald Matheson. Individual images here and full screen slideshow here. 

A few minutes video from the end of the match below

Veronica Wilson speaks to the BBC

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Liz goes all #RiverCCbad all of a sudden

If you haven't seen it yet get hold of this week's edition of the Nairnshire in which Cllr Liz MacDonald accuses Nairn River Community Council of not supporting housing for people on the waiting list. Full details in this week's dead tree edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph (aka as the Leopold Street Thunderer).

This observer must confess that he wasn't at the last River CC meeting so doesn't know what exactly went on  but we do know that members of the CC care passionately about housing and many other social issues in fact many of them get off their backsides and can be seen manning foodbank collection stalls in the High Street and elsewhere. I know them all personally, they want to build a better Nairn and there is no way they don't want to see social housing built in our town - I trust each and every one of them implicitly to act with their hearts and instincts, life experiences and collective wisdom for the best interests of Nairn.

So fellow Gurnites we kind of think that Liz is a little off the mark here. And let's remember quite often what Highland Council want is not what dovetails exactly with the community and River CC are quite within their rights to point out any flaws with Council policies if they think they reflect genuine anxieties from the general public. 

River CC and many others recently objected to a planning application for 31 houses on the former Morganti patch on Forres Road. Now even the developers must have come to the conclusion that this was a bit of an over development and have pulled that application and are going to submit another one with less houses. Was it this objection that has attracted Liz's ire?

Why should people that live in social housing have to live in such over developments. They deserve houses with a bit of space like everyone else. Now over five years ago Highland Council came up with plans for houses at Sandown. Why has no social housing been built there yet? Just what is holding Highland Council up here? The town owns the land so surely with a bit of official imagination some device could be created to ensure that the local community has a say in who lives there and not just the high heid yins in Inverness. 

We would respectfully suggest to Liz that she was a bit over the top with what she had to say to our local paper, please stop having a go at folk who care passionately about our community and give their time free of charge to try and highlight and remedy issues affecting us all. 

Homes for Nairn folk on Sandown please - ASP - get working on it Highland Council!

Top Ten Anti-Gaelic Arguments Demolished

Beagan fiosrachadh an-diugh:

"Here are the top 10 most common anti-Gaelic language arguments and why they’re daft:

1. Scottish Gaelic is an SNP Nationalist plot!

It was the Scottish Secretary in Thatcher’s 1980s Government, George Younger, who began funding Gaelic TV and Radio, with gradual increases supported on a cross party basis from then on. This culminated in the Gaelic Language Scotland Act 2005, introduced by the then Labour and Lib Dem coalition with cross party support. This is the legislation which requires public bodies to produce Gaelic Language Plans, the results of which are increasingly apparent."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Shanghai to Snecky service on the draft timetables but there's other big changes that might affect you - best to have look?

This observer has been having a look at the proposed bus changes that will be up for consulatation on Thursday morning. There will be services from/to Lochloy and Queenspark to Inverness now but it looks like swings and roundabouts with less 11s and more 10s - hard to see if it is an overall reduction but it could be. If you rely on the busses to get you to Inverness and back you'd perhaps better look at the proposed draft timetables.

The 11 no longer will go to Forres and Elgin.

You can get the draft timetables on this page here (scroll down and click on Service 10 and Service 11.)

According to Stagecoach the consultation will be taking place on Thursday 16th November Nairn Bus Terminal, 9am - 12pm

Monday, November 13, 2017

Highland Council's £1.1 million unsecured loan "An appalling situation" Cllr Roddy Balfour nails it

This observer is very impressed with what Roddy Balfour had to say to the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee last Wednesday the (8th November). Sin thu fhéin Rodaidh a bhalaich, 's math a rinn thu!  Oor Liz asked a wee question too. 

Pour a big dram and watch the webcast about a wee loan that Highland Council made to Inverness Airport Business Park Ltd. Was an unsecured loan for 1.1 million pounds a good idea? Have a wee look at the vid and you decide! (after all it's our money).

There is a white start button in the centre of the embedded screen - a bit hard to see but just click on  it to get it going.

You can download a copy of the report that was put to councillors on this Highland Council page here - it's down at item 12.

Application for 31 affordable homes on Jac's former home on Forres Road is withdrawn.

Highland Council planning department have written to those who made representations to the controversial application informing them that the application has been withdrawn. In their letter the council state:

"Should any further application be received for this or a similar proposal it will be necessary for you to write again to advise the Council of any concerns that you may have as comments made on previous applications cannot be transferred."  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ship to Ship oil transfers - Fancy sending a letter to Nicola? Cromarty Rising believe there are at least two things she could do.

Cromarty Rising have a proforma letter prepared that you can print off and sign and send to Nicola Sturgeon the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament. There are two things that they are urging her goverment to do.

Dear Ms. Sturgeon

Proposed Ship-to-Ship Oil transfers in the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation

As the Leader of our Government, it is your responsibility to ensure Scotland’s beautiful land and seascapes are protected for future generations. Marine reports prepared by your Departments explicitly state that ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil could have serious detrimental effects on our onshore and marine environments.

Indeed, you stated in the Scottish Parliament (12/1/17):

“On the basis of the current information, the Scottish Government is unconvinced that ship-to-ship oil transfers can, or should, take place at anchor in the Cromarty Firth without unacceptable risk to the marine environment—in particular the European Union designated area for bottlenose dolphins.”

You also stated regarding concerned constituents:

“I assure them that the Scottish Government absolutely hears their concerns and will continue to do everything we can to make sure that they are heard by those who take the decisions.”

You allude to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, who will determine any new application. But you do not have to allow a non-elected body in Southampton to take control. You and the Scottish Government can do at least two things to prevent such potentially devastating operations in our inshore waters:

You can use your powers to refuse to issue the required licence to disturb bottlenose dolphin and other European Protected Species

You can sit down and talk to the Cromarty Firth Port Authority, and persuade them to stop this. 

You don’t have to let others take this decision. Your Government has the power to make sure people are heard. You can decide to respect the will of more than 100,000 people who have registered their opposition to ship-to-ship crude oil transfers on the 38 Degrees Scotland site.

I respectfully urge you to use your powers to prevent ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.

Yours sincerely,

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nairn v Forres - a double helping Saints and County entertain visitors from along the road

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nairn Festival looking for a new chairperson - could it be you?

More details here on the Festival site.

Bus consultation event in Nairn November 16th from 9 am to 12pm

Nairn Police hunt fire-raisers

Police in Nairn are appealing for information following a series of recent fire-raising incidents..

Officers in the town have responded to a number of incidents in the last 10 days, which have involved wheelie bins and rubbish being set alight.

Fires have been reported around the King Street and Mill Road areas, Jubilee Park and in grassy areas at the dunes.

Area Inspector Mike Middlehurst said: "Fortunately, none of these fires have resulted in injuries or anything more serious.

"However, it should go without saying that deliberately setting fires is reckless and irresponsible and always has the potential for serious unintended consequences.

"It is also an unnecessary use of resources for the emergency services who may be called to one of these incidents when they could be of better use elsewhere.

"I would urge those responsible to think about their behaviour and anyone with information to contact officers in Nairn by calling 101.

"Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Labour regional MSP steps back into Nairn Traffic Lights row

Davie Stewart has a few things to say about Nairn Traffic Lights:

Speaking today (9/11/17) he said “In 2015, I was instrumental in trying to persuade the Government and Transport Scotland that the congestion in the town was due in part to their decision to increase the traffic lights at the A96 junctions through the town from four to eight, claiming this was as a result of the expected increased traffic from the then new Sainsbury’s store which was opened in 2011.

“I lodged Parliamentary Questions on the issue, wrote to the then Transport Minister and set up an i-petition to try and address the issue. I also lodged a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with Transport Scotland, seeking the junction collision history through Nairn.

“These details were produced and revealed that between 2005 and 2015 there was no road traffic collision at the junction of the A96 with Seabank Road, Nairn. Three slight collisions at the A96 junction with Harbour Street (2005,2009 and 2013), two slight collisions at the junction with the A939,(2007) and two serious and two slight in the last 10 years at the junction of the A96 and Marine Road Rounabout (2006,2007,2008 and 2011).

“There were no road traffic collisions at the junction with Albert Street and three slight collisions at the A96 junction with Moss- Side Road (2005,2008 and 2011).

“On reflecting on these figures, back in 2015, I said at that time ‘In 10 years, there have been 10 slight road traffic collisions and two serious collisions at the A96 road junctions through Nairn. Of course It would be best if there were not any, but I really have to ask if that is a collision history meriting an increase in junction controls from four sets of traffic lights to eight through the town?”

“ Lets take Albert Street. In a 10 year period there has not been one road collision at the junction, yet it was and currently still is controlled by traffic light signals,albeit here they are some years later now thinking of removing them!.”

“ Despite all my efforts at that time, the Government and Transport Scotland advised that surveys revealed that there was a need for this level of traffic control. Transport Scotland advised that they had reconfigured traffic detectors, improved road markings and implemented pedestrian sensors at the A96 junctions through Nairn which were all designed to address the concerns of the majority”.

“I was advised that the then Transport Minister had instructed Transport Scotland to establish a local Focus Group involving Councillors, Community Councillors, and other parties to look at the traffic management through Nairn”.

“ the Government tried to claim that the road safety statistics on this route through Nairn had improved over the previous three years (2012-2015). Strange then that on average there has been one slight road collision at one of these junctions, every year since 2005 and in the years 2012 - 2015 there has continued to be one slight road collision on average each year, so I saw no improvement there. What should have be jumping out at the Government and Transport Scotland was that fact that over a 10 years period there was no real history of road collisions at A96 junctions through Nairn, (10 slight and two serious in 10 years) so on that basis, there was no need to increase the number of traffic light controlled junctions from four to eight when the Sainsbury’s store opened in 2011”.

David Stewart concluded “ As is often the case, the Government and Transport Scotland do not accept that they make mistakes with such matters and as a result the commuters and the communities around the Highlands have to suffer. This Government body seem to at times have blinkers on. Look at the issues with the Kessock Bridge. Look at this issues with the Forres community wanting one pedestrian crossing on the A96 along the Forres bypass, to cater for the increased footfall of pedestrians utilising the increased rail service from the new Forres line and Station. These pedestrians have to negotiate the A96 without a crossing. This is why I come out and ask: why do the Government and Transport Scotland not consult with local communities, listen to their concerns and their views before making some strategic decisions which are at times contrary to what is required for the smooth steady and safe flow of traffic and other road users. In the case of Nairn, here they are, some two to three years later trialling what the majority of road users could see was required back then. I ask why does it take them so long to act?