Tuesday, January 31, 2017

" Change in the air " - "Taking the town centre plan forward"

NICE have published a very interesting article on their website - it details have the community might finally have more say in planning; also  coming soon is the fruit of research into how the town centre plan could move forward. 

An epidemic of optimism seems to be breaking out. There's more too, anyone interested in Nairn getting its fair share should pop over to the NICE site for a browse. 

Update: Interesting comments coming in


Anonymous said...

when o when are the houses opposite police station be reused,they have been empty for over 20 years,surely they can be brought back into use,or sold,someone needs a right boot up the arse for this waste


There was money made available for the conversion years back. But NICE objected for reasons of there own. Any thought of MUCH NEEDED HOUSING is not an option .
that would be too sensible and destroy Another of their dreams..

Anonymous said...

Whenever I read about Nairn and planning I remind myself that one of our four councillors is excluded from planning decisions as she herself is a property developer (Cllr Elizabeth MacDonald). We rely on our councillors to represent us and the town, and planning is the most contentious subject within local government/communities

I very much hope that at the local council elections these year we see four people returned as councillors who can fully represent their communities. Nairn needs all their voices to be heard

Anonymous said...

Sorry but once again I read NICE proposals and come to the conclusion that they are out of touch with the realities of our current world. A new spa to be built?! We're about to be hit by the most savage cuts in public spending, whereby we'll be lucky to see current facilities in Nairn stay open such as the library and the swimming pool and that's just leisure facilities but all other public services are going to have very reduced budgets

Maybe NICE see the way forward for our leisure to be be privatised? Praise is offered for the Sun Dancer and 112 on the brae. A BID will also focus on businesses in Nairn but are people aware that'll it'll be the larger businesses pulling the strings?

I could be wrong but NICE seem to have gone from producing utopian blue prints for the town to that of supporting private enterprise. Maybe in 2017 that's what we all should be doing because the likes of public services and the NHS are fast disappearing

Murd said...

Would those buildings not be houses now if not for NICE? How many times have we heard of development - most of the land is in private hands.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with anon @ 12.22

I really don't think she should be a councillor when she's compromised by her developer status and has to avoid all planning meetings etc. Nairn is not served well by her

house martin said...

Sorry, anon/narook, The Jocbite, and Murd - you are completely wrong, and NICE has got it right.

Building houses - especially in the town centre - is not the answer. Without more local jobs, successful businesses, useful shops and better facilities, just building more houses won't revive Nairn and help it prosper.

Nairn has built plenty of housing. In the last decade or so, apart from an (unused) new police station, a (superb) new Community Centre, and an edge-of-town Sainsburys, all the development has been houses. More than 600 at Lochloy; dozens of flats at the Maggot; in the centre, more flats in Barron House and the old bus station to add to those in the old Station Hotel. All this housing hasn't prevented the decline of the High Street, the loss of local jobs and services, and the closure of hotels and other businesses.

There is no point in just building houses for folk who commute to work and do their shopping in Inverness or Forres or beyond. Visitors and tourists won't be attracted or spend money in a town centre that is mainly residential flats and houses. Tourists and sailors won't spend time in a harbour that offers limited facilities. Coach tours won't stay over in a town which consists largely of residential housing.

That's why NICE is right. Nairn has to start by enhancing the town's assets: improving the town centre and harbour area and making sure the facilities (beaches, leisure park, putting green, paddling pool, parking, and yes, decent public toilets) are maintained well and marketed effectively. Better attractions and good facilities bring more visitors. Visitors spend money in shops, cafes, restaurants. Businesses make profits. Jobs are created. People work locally, and look to live locally. So then you build more houses.....

The opportunities are there. Look at how Brodie Countryfare, Logie Steading, Househill pull in customers who spend money locally. Ways need to be found to bring Rosebank Church, the old social service/police station, and other town centre buildings back into public use. The Windsor Hotel remains empty and derelict. Dozens of High Street premises from the Ballerina up to the old Hydro shop remain empty. Getting more tourists and visitors into the town will encourage new enterprises and shops. The local economy will benefit. That's why the NICE strategy is sensible and a BID is the best chance of progress.

The task is urgent. Once the bypass is built, Nairn needs to make itself into a destination which is worth the detour off the dual carriageway, and a place which is also agreeable and attactive for those who live in the town.

So, narook, Jocbite, murd (and others) - let's have a bit less moaning and a bit more constructive and imaginative thinking.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid myself and many others fear "nice are call talk and no action " Murd has accomplished more in the last few months than Nice has done from there beginnings
A complete waste of time

rose tinted specs said...

As retail continues to fail on our High Street/s (there are a few exceptions) we face empty properties or retail premises being turned into flats (Ballerina next). We lost Broadhill garden centre last year (an attraction) that failed to find a buyer. Yes we could have a High Street with further food venues but I'd suggest that it's already full to capacity

Our High Street just about chugs along but the volume of traffic on the A96 each weekend suggests that many people are choosing to travel to Inverness when they want to shop, a journey that's forced on anyone who wants to look at and buy a pair of shoes for example

There's no getting away from the increasing amounts of internet shopping. Local businesses struggle with both price and choice

NICE suggests improving the harbour area, great but the harbour and the river are fast silting up and becoming unusable for craft. Highland Council has failed to find a date when it might be dredged and has been looking to do this work for over two years now. The East pier is fast crumbling with massive cracks appearing and I suspect will be closed off to the public before too long

NICE mention the success of the new Sun Dancer restaurant. I'm sure this is fine addition to all our restaurants but no mention of how parking at the harbour is now difficult. I wonder how they might plan to improve that?

Brodie Countryfare, Logie Steading, Household are definite attractions that follow a pattern. People like a short drive and then enjoy what they have to offer. Our High Street is never going to be like that

As has been said we're about to face major cuts in public services, that means cuts to both facilities and jobs. neither of which equals growth, quite the opposite

I have to admit NICE is very good at imaginative thinking, what I've yet to see is any real shovel ready progress. NICE seem to be lost in a never ending mire of press releases with new ideas but no real action. I won't hold my breath

house martin said...

@rose tinted specs makes some valid points, but ends up being unjustifiably defeatist.

Things change, and retail has to adapt. HMV and Virgin Records faded away with the arrival of iTunes. Corner grocery stores (Watsons...) were squeezed out by the out-of-town supermarkets. Now the move towards online shopping is irreversible.

The challenge for high streets - and for towns in general - is to offer what can't be experienced online. People still need to eat, drink and talk in agreeable surroundings. People still want to ramble, paddle, swim, watch birds, play sports, go to live concerts, visit galleries and museums, stroll round craft or antique markets. You can't do those things on the internet. You can't take a pee online.....

It's also true that people have more leisure time because the day-to-day routines of living take up less time. Some may choose to spend it in front of the TV or on the PlayStation. But many more are looking for enjoyable, authentic, experiences in fresh air and pleasant surroundings. That's what the tourism of the future is about. The Highlands - not just Nairn - could and should be capturing a chunk of that market. That means thinking differently about how to attract, entertain, and persuade people to spend the money which keeps people in work.

It's true, public money is tight. The days when "they" (the Government, the Council, the local laird...) planned, provided and paid for public services are gone. Shovel-ready projects won't magically appear, funded and delivered by "them". If the town is to survive and thrive then the community itself has to step up. That's what a BID, backed by local businesses, guided by local civic leaders, and drawing on the support of local people, is supposed to do. It now has to be "us", not "them".

If the complaint is of division or dissension, then the answer is - Get Together, Collaborate, Contribute. If the issue is a lack of action, then the solution is in the local community's own hands. In the words of the ad slogan: "Just Do It".

It's not acceptable to do nothing, and then complain that NICE isn't delivering. They are creating the structure. The BID offers the opportunity. Nairn needs to seize it, not whinge about it.

Anonymous said...

NICE were formed in 2010, this is 2017, what have they done for the town?

Anonymous said...

Things like setting up a Nairn park run would increase footfall. If NICE succeed in linking footpaths for town and coast then make an attraction out of them. Special geocaches, qcodes etc something to make parents with kids traverse nairn.

Anonymous said...

@ House Martin 5:27

'visit museums'

I'm sure Nairn museum means well but the last time I visited it seemed to mainly be filled with slightly moth eaten items that Nairnites had dragged back from the then British Empire a couple of centuries back. Still, I'm sure NICE will improve it

Murd Dunbar said...

Reply to to house martin.
Before spouting off TELL me where I have suggested houses to be built in the town center??The buildings I refer to are already there as neglected houses AND rapidly deteriorating. and with some renovation could be earning money not eating it up in taxes and yes it would provide homes needed for people who would spend money in the town.
It wont be long before the cry goes out by N.I.C.E. to have them knocked down calling them an eyesore .
. PLEASE tell me where I got it wrong when I said half the land is in privately owned. Not only is it in private hands something like £68.000 was spent to increase the area of private land for a supermarket.
You also also talk about dredging the harbour it will take millions of pounds NOT the £88.000 that has been quoted to shift the hundreds of tons to do any good for shipping to get in and out. To do that they have to get in first.
You also quote about premises being converted to flats now tell me how many are empty? and you say there is no need for more housing?? There is still A housing waiting list!
Homes will be require to be maintained and create work tenants might even shop in town but they most certainly have to eat some where.
You should get out of your N.I.C.E comfy martin nest and fly about to get the facts for me.
Also consider people who have needs greater than A few people playing about on boats.

You also mention fresh air and pleasant surroundings some thing I agree with and have tried to get A ramp at the Firhall Bridge for all to use. NO support for that from NICE.
BUT that did not surprise me after years of listing to suggestions nice have made.


narook said...

well said murd,house martin needs to spread his wings and open his eyes,as you said,the buildings are already there,and there is a long list of folk waiting to be housed,the revenue from the old houses that could have been occupied 20 years ago if renovated,would have helped the local council,but nice,seem to know better.

Graisg said...

@anon 10.12 Didn't you see all the Fishertown material?