Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Meanwhile protests against parking charges in Angus towns - should Nairn businesses and community councils pay attention and organise similar?

In Angus parking charges were introduced into the Council area's towns at the start of this month. Businesses and residents there haven't taken it lying down though and there has been massive protest including a mass drive to the Council Headquarters last Thursday. 

As a result of that protest the demonstrators have secured a meeting with the Council. They state on their page:

"We are happy to inform you we have secured a meeting with Angus Council on Monday 12th November 2018. We will be meeting to discuss the parking restrictions and requesting Angus Council to take the views of the community seriously and start a dialogue so we can move forward on this issue. There will be representatives from other Angus towns and also local media present at the meeting at our request. We will not stop until this policy is changed.

It would help if you could feed any information or comments you have that you wish us to put forward through this forum or on the Angus Parking Potest page before 1pm on Monday. We will endeavour to collate this information before the meeting. It would also be good if town centre businesses can log footfall and takings from 1st November and let us know if the parking restrictions have impacted on daily business. We don't need financial business information just general percentage of any losses or reduced income from the start of the charges."

Real immediate evidence of a downturn in takings and footfall is being posted on the group's pages such as the following:

"I manage a charity shop in forfar and since the start of the charges been implemented footfall has fallen by 50%. Sales are down by 40% donations from customers are down by 30% this is having a huge impact."  More information here. 

We're told it is a done deal and the parking meters are coming. Well they are not here yet and there is a window of opportunity to get Highland Council to see sense. Here at the Gurn we would urge the Nairn Businesses and their representatives to watch the developing situation in Angus and to demand that Highland Council doesn't make Nairn suffer in the same way. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Local Politician and road safety campaigner seeks answers to length of time car has been abandoned on A96

Many of our readers may have seen the damaged and abandoned car that David Stewart mentions in the press release below. There is actually another one, upturned in the ditch 50 or so yards further along in the Inverness direction. If you are not a regular traveller on this section of road you may be forgiven for thinking that an accident of some kind had just happened, especially when travelling at night. Anyway the press release from the Labour mannie is below:

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has contacted the trunk road operator, Bear Scotland, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abandoned collision damaged silver Vauxhall Corsa lying on the South verge of the A96 Inverness Road near Gollanfield.

David said " I am told that this silver Vauxhall Corsa which has been involved in a collision, has been abandoned on the verge of the A96 Inverness - Nairn Road near Gollanfield for in excess of 10 weeks. All road users travelling this route are well aware of the vehicle. My understanding is that such vehicles could be moved at the time of the collision or shortly thereafter by the emergency services at the owners request. In these circumstances the Police for example would initiate the vehicle recovery scheme and the owner/driver would pay for the recovery. However, at the end of the day it is the owners responsibility to arrange removal of the damaged vehicle and not that of the Police.

" I am aware that this vehicle has been in situ for in excess of 10 weeks and I would have thought that in that time it would be classed as abandoned and it would have been removed by the Operating Company as per guidelines.

"I have today made contact with Bear Scotland to ascertain the reason that this vehicle is being left in situ and at the end of the day I would like them to expedite it's removal from the verge of the A96, as clearly it is unsightly, succumbing to vandalism and giving those resident or visiting the area a bad impression. I understood that bear Scotland could remove the vehicle and claim expenses back from the owner.

Lossie v Nairn 10.11.18 a few bits from the game on video

Nairn certainly came back into scoring form on Saturday. Match report here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

6 am Nairn 11.11.2018 and the pipers play

This morning at 6 am pipers played " The Battle's o'er "at four Nairn Churches as the Armistice 100th year day of remembrance began (St Ninian's, URC, Parish Church and St Columba's)

Picture Donald Matheson

Friday, November 09, 2018

A tale of parking charges recently introduced to small towns elsewhere in Scotland

People react to avoid parking charges and behaviour changes. This social media post from an Angus store explains the situation, parking charges were introduced in Angus towns on the 1st of November.


Here you can see further details of empty car parks and claims of business takings being 50% down. The folk in Angus are not taking it lying down though, they have started regular weekly protests at the local Council HQ.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

How Nairn's Highland Councillors could stop parking charges on the Links, the Maggot and the Harbour

Cllr Peter Saggers has said recently that we have to accept that parking charges are coming to Nairn. Parking charges are coming to Nairn because Peter, Laurie and Tom voted for them when it came to the the minutiae of the last Highland Council Budget.

It would seem that parking charges will come to the Highland Council owned spaces behind the High Street but what about the Library car park which they lease and also the spaces owned by the Co-op? Then there is the land in Nairn presently used for parking which is owned by the Common Good Fund such as the Links, Maggot and Harbour areas.

We believe that Highland Council have a tradition of accepting the will of the four Nairn Councillors when it comes to Nairn Common Good issues: even though the entire 80 Highland Councillors are trustees of the fund.

So we believe that Nairn Councillors should simply say that it is not the will of the people of Nairn for parking charges to be levied on Common Good Lands and as representitives of the community they cannot support the introduction of these charges. Then it is up to Highland Council to accept that or decide if they wish to act like a colonial government and seize complete control of Nairn's Common Good assets. 

Here at the Gurn we consider free parking to be one ot the town's greatest assets, is it soon to be simply cast aside? Will Nairn's Highland Councillors find the courage to resist or will they simply implement the wishes of the Inverness based Highland Council?

Nairn Library Car Park, not the propterty of Highland Council but could they still  install meters?

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

TONIGHT - Brexit Public Meeting - with Drew Hendry MP, Tuesday 6th November in the British Legion at 6.30 pm.

Do you have concerns about Brexit? Drew Hendry MP is holding a public meeting tonight in the British Legion at 6.30, go along to find out more.

Man assaulted after being asked for directions on A96 in Nairn

Monday, November 05, 2018

Nairn BID Board appointments announced

Chair - Michael Boylan, Co-op
Vice Chair - Peter Gibson, West End Concepts Finance Director - Mike Mitchell, Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Secretary - Peter Saggers, Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau

Board Directors:

John Bochel, Sunny Brae Bed and Breakfast 
Bob Ferenth, Nairn Bowling Club 
Michael Green, Seaview Lodge 
Iain Bruce, Nairn Drama Club (The Little Theatre) 
Anika Schulz, Cawdor House Bed and Breakfast 
Gordon Mair, Sainsburys

Friday, November 02, 2018

“What you have to appreciate is that car parking charges are coming” and then what? Gurn opinion

At the meeting of the Nairn West and Suburban Community Council in the Community Centre on Monday night there was an update on the situation on parking charges. There was mention of a meeting between councillors and officials and BID members and Cllrs are waiting for clarification on points from officials. The implementation of parking charges was delayed until after the BID vote but now it seems things are getting back on track.

Interestingly Tom Heggie mentioned that there was: “a clear differentiation between what belongs to Highland Council and what is Common Good land, so there is a clear distinction and there will have to be different considerations given to each.”

Tom certainly seems to be picking up Council-speak quite well, this observer was left wondering if that meant meters would go on Common Good land too with a cut going to Nairn somehow or would our four Highland Councillors find the courage to say no to that and leave as much of the town free of meters as possible?

In response to details concerning recent correspondence on parking Peter Saggers said: “I'm sorry my request for suggestions was misunderstood, I was looking for what charging structure would meet with approval. What you have to appreciate is that car parking charges are coming. I was looking for suggestions as to what might be acceptable and what might not.”

That's it folks, parking charges are coming. Here at the Gurn we think it is a way of playing Russian Roulette with the town centre economy but with perhaps four or five bullets in the chamber rather than one. We hope we are wrong but we believe parking charges will have a very bad impact. The three councillors who voted for parking charges to come to Nairn in the Highland Council budget earlier this year can dress it up any way they like but these charges are being imposed against the will of the community by an Inverness based Council.

There was mention too that it is all meant to raise £30k in the first year. Well that will be a figure that we doubt will ever decrease but come on – all that risk for just £30k? All that displacement of vehicles looking for free parking in presently trouble free side streets and other areas in the town centre? More yellow lines, more restrictions and residents permits will undoubtedly have to follow as we reach a truly false dawn of localism with the Highland Council's lowest common denominator, parking charges ideology imposed upon us.

A cash-strapped Council will do it's best to milk Nairn for every penny in an effort to make ends meet. Another £69 million in cuts are predicted and no doubt we will get our fair share of that pain. We find the suggestion that there should be discussion on what scale of parking charges should be implemented quite remarkable, the Cllrs who voted for this should have the courage of their convictions and implement it without all this waffle. It's probably all on a piece of paper in Glenurquhart Road anyway.

Happy days! It is tragic, no matter who you vote for, they always seem to let you down.

Monday, October 29, 2018

No fireworks in Nairn this year on November 4th as planned but other options discussed at Nairn West and Suburban CC meeting tonight

At the West and Suburban CC meeting in the Community Centre tonight it became clear that the proposed bonfire night including fireworks will not take place on the 4th of next month. Lorraine Mallison said that the application for the event had to be in three months before the date and she said that she held up her hands and admitted that it hadn't happened. She cited the level of work involved in organising the event and personal circumstances meaning she hadn't been available.

It appears ongoing discussions are going ahead with the relevant department of Highland Council with a view to moving the event to Burns Night (January 25th 2018). The event would take place at the same venue.

Cllr Tom Heggie suggested that the Community Council seek appropriate legal advice as they may be vulnerable to challenge as they were changing the original purpose for which they had been raising funds.

Lorraine said that she had been doing that. She said it came from the community and it was their decision and they wanted the event to go ahead and we are just trying to fulfil that as best as we can but.

Laurie Fraser said that if you wanted to go ahead then your papers had to be in by Wednesday, he went on: “you will get no sympathy I think from the Council officials if they are not 100% correct. This has been going on for nearly two years now, my advice to you is leave it for one more year and have it next year.”

Laurie also suggested talking to the BID as they were looking to put on events and it could be that if you give them all the cash and the paperwork and they will do it all for you.  

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Nairn Golf Club helps Football Club

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Highland Greens against Council cludgie closures

Council should flush toilet plans, say Greens

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie and Badenoch and Strathspey Councillor Pippa Hadley have called for plans to close a host of public conveniences across the Highlands to be scrapped.

The Highland Council will debate a report recommending the closure of public toilets throughout the area today (25 Oct 2018).

The Scottish Green Party is opposed to these closures as;

· They present considerable public health and public decency concerns, which the council has failed to discuss with NHS Highland and Police Scotland.

· They will result in the loss of jobs, and the jobs of those who remain will be impacted. Furthermore the council has not yet consulted all the affected employees.

· While the report states that 90% of the population lives within 15 minutes of a publicly available toilet, this fails to take into account the needs of remote communities, popular tourist destinations and the long journeys required to access important services such as hospital appointments.

· The council’s equalities impact assessment identifies negative impacts for older people, people with disabilities and pregnant women.

For these reasons Councillor Hadley will oppose these proposals at the council meeting.

Commenting, Councillor Hadley said:

“The proposals to close a considerable number of public toilets in the Highlands would present considerable challenges for the communities affected. The plans fail to take account of remote and rural communities, they don’t consider the long journeys many have to make to access NHS services, and they completely discount any impact on tourism.

“The council’s equalities impact assessment also highlighted a number of significant negative impacts and it is important that these are adequately addressed, the report completely fails to do so and it is for these reasons that I will be opposing the plans.”

Mr Finnie added:

“It is galling that despite all that has been said, including in the Highland Council’s own equalities impact assessment, about the negative impact of these closures, the proposals are still being presented.

“The impact on jobs, with both redundancies and reorganisation expected, seem to have been largely overlooked, and the council has not yet engaged on a one to one basis with all the employees affected. This is a disgrace, and a complete abdication of responsibility from an organisation which should be setting an example to others in the region on good practice.

“Highland Council has made a complete mess of this whole sorry affair. It is quite staggering that the council didn’t, for instance, take tourism into account, given its huge importance to the economy of the region. I am pleased that the council has finally acknowledged some of its own ineptitude in this report. Councillors should go one step further and vote along with my colleague, Councillor Hadley, to reject this outrageous proposal.”

"Few people in Scotland ever have to confront Scotland’s unjust planning laws. When they do, however, they soon realise that the dice is firmly loaded in favour of big business and house builders with economic muscle.” Tom Devine

All those serious students of planning matters in Nairn will probably agree with much of what Tom Devine has to say about the Scottish Planning System. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why are they closing Lovat Lodge? - a personal message from one of the regular users of the facility

Many of you will have seen the article in the Nairnshire where Cllr Liz MacDonald has explained the situation with Lovat Lodge being financially unviable and having to close. We recevied an e-mail explaining how this closure will impact on lives of the regular visitors to Lovat Lodge.

Vera tells the Gurn:

"It is such a god send to many elderly and disabled people from all around who otherwise will never get a holiday again? My husband had a stroke (severe) and there really is no comparable place for us to take a holiday. He needs an adjustable bed and a carer to help get in and out of beds. Luckily Lovat allow a private carer to come and help.We were up there again a couple of weeks ago and it was so sad to see a few of the old ladies getting together to book their next trip in May to be told Lovat would probably be shutting after New Year. They were crying its a lovely place to go and meet up with pals and be very well fed and looked after. There really is nowhere else like it that I can find. Surely the people of Nairn don't want that either, we all spend money in Nairn when we visit a couple of times a year. I am maybe not getting in touch with right people but wanted to give our side of story to anyone who will listen."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Quite a lot going on in the Nairn twittersphere these days folks, we'll post anything interesting we see here via the Gurn twitter page

If there's not much being posted here it's worth having a look at the Gurn twitter account. Quite a lot happens in the Nairn twittersphere these days and you can scroll down the wee twitter boxie on the right hand side as far as you like to see what the latest craic is. You don't have to have an account to look at tweets either. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Good turnout for anti-development protest at Culloden Battlefield

A good turnout for the  GSDC (Group To Stop Development At Culloden) protest earlier today, Speakers criticised the developers, Historical Environment Scotland and also the Scottish Government. They want intervention from Holyrood to stop other applicaitons now in the planning system.  A protest camp has been established close to the site. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Nairn Yessers at Edinburgh Independence rally

A large contingent from Yes Nairn were at the AUOB (All Under One Banner) rally in Edinburgh on Saturday (6th of October 2018). These images from one of our regular readers of the Yes Nairn meet-up outside the Usher Hall. Click on images to enlarge.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Scottish Water starts work to renew water main in Moss-side Road, Nairn

Scottish Water Press Release 

Scottish Water has started work to renew just over 1 kilometre of water main that serves customers in the vicinity of Moss-side Road in Nairn.

In May, the utility announced that it was prioritising the replacement of the length of 6 inch water main following deterioration in its performance. 

Scottish Water’s project team has completed the planning process and engagement with Highland Council is ongoing about arrangements to allow work in the road to take place safely. The replacement of the water main is expected to take around 6 months to complete.

Gavin Steel, of Scottish Water, said:

“The work beginning in Moss-side Road is necessary to ensure we can provide a reliable water supply to our customers in the surrounding areas of the town. We are grateful to Highland Council and our contractor for working with us over the summer so that we could be ready to start on site this autumn.

“Whenever bursts occur on our water network, our local operational teams aim to respond rapidly to restore supply to our customers and complete repairs. While targeted repairs and other measures can often achieve a return to reliable service, we keep the performance of water mains under regular review so that we can target wider investment where it is most needed. 

“I would like to apologise to customers in the Moss-side Road area who have experienced disruption to their supplies as a result of bursts. We recognise that the replacement of the water main will cause some further disruption in the local area and our site team will work hard to keep this to a minimum. We would ask customers and road users to bear with us while we invest to improve their water network."

Temporary traffic lights will be used during much of the work to enable the excavation and replacement of the water main to take place safely. To allow connections to the existing network, , some residents will experience a brief interruption to their water supply. Scottish Water will notify affected residents at least 48 hours in advance with details of the arrangements and advice on what to do.

Customers who need additional support or further information can contact Scottish Water on 0800 077 8778, quoting reference Capital - 503264.

LGOWIT Boccia tournament - cup returns to Nairn

More about the LGOWIT organisation here. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nairn honours Captain John MacGregor VC MC & Bar DCM ED

Midday Sat 29th and Ian McCuaig begins his 24hr running marathon for Team Hamish on the Maggot - get down there if you can and show your support!

He finishes at midday tomorrow (Sunday 30th) and you can pop down to encourage him at any time you wish over the next 24hours to give enouragement or even run a map or two yourself. All the best Ian, good luck for the next 24hours.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Paddling pool seems to still rock with Nairn folk - have Highland Council got it wrong on what the public want for the Links?

Earlier today we published a Highland Council press release on their findings so far from their consultations on the Links Future. You can read that press release in its entirety here. 

In the Press Release Tom Heggie states:  “Both events were well attended, attracting views and comments from around 100 members of the public" 

Then in relation to the findings of the consultation he continues: "From the two events a number of key points have emerged. It is clear that people recognise a need to develop and improve the Links area, but they want the environment to be respected and well managed. The open spaces, the trees and the views are highly valued. People would also like to see some improvement to the play equipment, with a a new water feature in place of the paddling pool. "

The press release information has been shared far and wide in the Nairn social media world this evening and it has drawn quite a bit of criticism from supporters of the Team Hamish initiative who feel that the Highland Council are not treating the popular charity fairly. 

And then (about half an hour ago a poll emerged on the Nairn Rocks site - a group that is facebook central for Nairn with over 9,700 members).  The poll asked the question "Today the Highland Council announced that the people of Nairn have indicated to them that they would like a new water feature to replace the paddling pool. So here's a straw poll:"

The Paddling Pool     74
A new water feature  21
Both                           18

The figures to the right of the options are the numbers of votes after about half an hour. This observer is not sure how you work that out as a % when you have a third option question for both - could you say that at the time of writing there is a 75% majority in favour of keeping the pool?

Whatever the figures - more people have had a say on the Links in 30 minutes of this poll than did so across the entire two events run by Highland Council. 

Are Highland Council getting it badly wrong on development on the Links?  

The paddling pool in 2008 - image Iain Fairweather

UPDATE - Almost 24hours later and 500 votes in on the poll still with about the same majority in favour of keeping the padding pool.   

Big changes coming up for Grants Garage site

Sandown application - support for housing but questions being asked - a few documents for serious students of Sandown matters to consider

In the wake of earlier Gurn reports about the latest proposals for housing on the Sandown Common Good land, the readers in Gurnshire might be interested to know that some of the more public-spirited members of the community have been monitoring recent developments with a beady eye. And they don't much like what they see. While there is understandable support for the delivery of more housing, the recent proposals raise more questions than answers. Joan Noble has written to the Director of Planning  asking why the area identified in the planning application is considerably larger than in any other previous development brief or draft plans. It appears to close off or ignore the other ideas and options for Sandown which were explored earlier. Could one be forgiven for, once again - believing that the decisions on the planning proposals, the choice of developer, and the way in which Nairn's Common Good is managed, are all totally opaque and are being pursued behind closed doors.

So efforts are under way to find out exactly what is going on, the NRCG has submitted a set of very specific questions as an FoI request. This is aimed at getting full clarification of how and why the Council has launched the latest proposal, what the basis was for selecting a developer (HHA) of which they are a part-owner, and whether other options have been considered and discussed openly with the Common Good trustees.

The same set of questions (and a few others) were also submitted to the four local Councillors on the eve of their committee meeting. In an interesting illustration of the Council's approach, the response has come - not from the Committee Chair, or the local Ward Manager - but from the Inverness Ward Manager, David Haas! 

So a reply has just been sent back to the official in Inverness, pointing out that his response falls far short of what local people have a right to expect.

Avid Gurn readers might well like to see what kind of further replies the Council sends to these letters. Watch this could get quite interesting!

Nairn Links Development Plan moving to next stage

Highland Council press release

Two public engagement events have already been held as part of the initial work to prepare a Development Plan for the Links. These were on 18th August at the Nairn Highland Games and 1st September at Nairn Cricket Club pavilion. 

Chair of the Nairnshire Committee, Councillor Tom Heggie said: “Both events were well attended, attracting views and comments from around 100 members of the public. These were mostly from local people, however we also welcomed the views of visitors and holiday makers who took an interest. 

“From the two events a number of key points have emerged. It is clear that people recognise a need to develop and improve the Links area, but they want the environment to be respected and well managed. The open spaces, the trees and the views are highly valued. People would also like to see some improvement to the play equipment, with a a new water feature in place of the paddling pool. 

“A number of comments were received encouraging joint working with local groups and we are exploring opportunities for this. I would like to thank everyone for their contributions.” 

During October the Council’s project team, which includes external support from consultants Sandy Anderson and Nick Wright, will be in touch with local organisations to ensure that they properly understand local ideas and aspirations for the Links. A first draft plan will be prepared for the Links which will try to draw together all of the local aspirations. We will share that draft at a public event in early November with the specific intention of seeking feedback to get it right. Then, a month later, we will organise a second public event to finalise that plan in response to those comments and – equally importantly – ask people what should be the immediate priorities for action and who wants to be involved. 

Details of the two public events will be publicised in the coming weeks. 

Anyone who would like to input to the proposals for the Links should feel free to contact Nick Wright, a member of the Council’s project team, on 07900 334110.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

With 33% of Scots having gone without food in the past year due to lack of money NairnCAB is urging people to take part in a national survey

A McDonalds and a Home Bargains for Balmakeith

Here's how the debate went at Highland Council's South Planning Committee yesterday. It is lenghty but the debate was very interesting and touched on a litter cleaning plan for any wider area affected, how it would impact on town centre spending, people spending out of town anyway, flood danger in the Auldearn Burn. What sort of goods in the shop etc. Nairn not having a 24hr culture. How Sainsburys are now selling differnt types of goods with Argos in their store. Impact on nearby residental areas. There are contributions from Laurie Fraser and Tom Heggie who mentioned public support for the application. 

Tyre-less training on Nairn Beach for Artic Expedition

Out thanks to the Editor over at Nairn When You Were a Bairn for this story.

"I spotted this item on BBC breakfast on TV this morning,it's a group of women calling themselves the 'Polar Maidens' who are from different decades, the oldest being the leader Jan Meek 73 who will be trekking the 200 miles to the south pole to see what the effects have on women of different ages, the training on our beach includes the woman pulling tyres to simulate the weight of the loads they will be carrying on the expedition, here is a link if you wish to read the whole story."

Thanks too for the quick of the mark screenshots. 

Here's a tweet that Jan Meek posted too with Nairn Beach looking at its best. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Morganti Land Planning application withdrawn

This in an e-mail from Highland Council 

 Further to our previous correspondence in respect of this application, I have now received written confirmation that the application has been withdrawn. This has been recorded in the public planning applications register and the case file is now closed. 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. 

Yours faithfully 
Nicola Drummond 
Area Planning Manager – South/Major Developments (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey & Lochaber)

Next Nairn River Community Council meeting Wednesday 19th September 2018 At Nairn Community & Arts Centre At 7.00pm

More details here. 

Nairn Healthcare News Autumn 2018

Copy of the latest Nairn Healthcare Newsletter here. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A96 temporary traffic lights chaos - MSP wishes to reduce frustration and anger amongst the motoring fraternity.

That's twice this week we've had something up from a Labour mannie. Yes the Gurnmeister is a big Yesser and supports a certain party that leans in that direction but whatever your party colours if you mention Nairn in your press release then please let us know. 

Here's the latest from David Stewart MSP:

Reacting further to the issue of unmanned temporary traffic lights causing chaos on the A96 between Inverness and Nairn twice in two weeks, David Stewart MSP has suggested appropriate information signage at these unmanned works would apprise motorists of the reason for the lights and reduce frustration and anger amongst the motoring fraternity.

He said “ When there is a possible collapse of a manhole cover, which there seems to be a lot of lately on the A96 and temporary traffic lights are required to be installed, I have wondered why when they are unmanned, the operating company or the utility company concerned do not place a temporary ‘A’ frame yellow and black information sign at these unmanned temporary lights, merely advising motorists ‘manhole cover collapsed’ or similar. Then as the motorists pass these lights, they are made aware that the lights have not been set up for no good reason and it immediately takes the heat out of the whole situation.

“Trust me, there is nothing more infuriating for the travelling public than to see apparent road works, temporary traffic lights and no work on going, or workmen present. If they know the reason for these lights then everyone concerned understands the situation and there is reduced frustration. I am not saying we need sign for every different scenario, I am just suggesting an appropriate sign advising ‘collapsed manhole cover’ or ‘urgent road repairs’. This allows everyone to know that there is a valid reason. Let’s be honest, two weeks ago a utility company arranged for temporary traffic lights to be installed on the A96 at Barn Church Road, for non emergency work and then never turned up to do the work. There were massive tailbacks, driver frustration and chaos and after my intervention we had the lights removed.

“ I have made contact with Bear Scotland regards to the signage suggestion and I hope they will take it on board.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

MSP worried over removal of road kill - cites dead badger by side of A96 at Auldearn as example

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart contacts Transport Scotland to ascertain policy on the removal of road kill by operating companies on trunk routes.

David Stewart said “ I have been contacted by a constituent who has advised that there has been a dead badger on the side of the A96 Auldearn bypass for two weeks now. This is not the first time I have received such contacts. I have previously been advised of dead deer on the verges between Inverness and Nairn. I assumed that the operating company, in this case Bear Scotland, had a responsibility to remove these carcasses within a set period, as part of their contract. I have written to Transport Scotland today to ask this question and ascertain with which body this responsibility lies.

“Considering the operating companies travel along out trunk routes daily, I am surprised that no action is being taken.

“ Of course it is upsetting for animal lovers to see such animal deaths, but I am afraid that is one of the hazards of driving on rural roads. As the dark nights creep in we have to be more aware of the likelihood of wild animals straying onto our carriageways, so I would urge extra vigilance. Wild animals on the road can and do cause collisions. The best advice is to brake and try to avoid a collision without leaving your lane, unless it is safe to do so. If you hit an animal which is covered by The Road Traffic Act 1988 – namely, dogs, goats, horses, cattle, donkeys, mules, sheep and pigs you are legally required to report it to the police.

Parking meters are coming to Nairn - "The option of no charges is no longer on the table"

A season ticket for locals? 

More in this week's Nairnshire Telegraph which reports the comments by Cllr Peter Saggers at a recent community council meeting. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

65-70 "affordable houses" - will it all go Hunky Dory or will everyone have another sup at the Sandown poisoned planning chalice

A company that Highland Council has a sizeable share in has put in a scoping application for 65-70 “affordable houses” on Sandown. Highland Council is the planning authority and also administers the Common Good Land on which the houses would be built. Highland Council will also be holding a consultation on the proposal as under the Community Empowerment Act that has to be done if Common Good Land is “disposed of”. That's a bit of a complicated mix. Add into that a motion that was passed way back in 2013 when the debt the Common Good had incurred with Highland Council due to various things concerned with Sandown was partially written off. 

Flashback then to June 2013 and this from an article we wrote on 23/06/18:
“Sandown debt - no motion for deferral - 390K written off but Council will still get a share of Sandown”

“The total debt up for debate was £734,410.78 but the Nairn Common Good still takes a £344,000 hit. Here is the motion that won the day.

"Option 5. The Council writes off all or part of the debt that relates to the fee of £390,000 paid to acquire vacant possession of the land, and transfers a pro rata share of the land equivalent to the value of the remaining debt."

The following proviso was added from the Director of Finance's report para 3.7: 

(a) any gain in land value is returned to the Nairn Common Good Fund
(b) Highland Council does not gain financially from any future sale of the land"

This adds another element into a situation that this observer feels will not please everybody. Will the toxic history that has plagued previous planning issues concerned with Sandown come back to haunt this new application or can a satisfactory way forward be agreed with the community? There is no doubt that there is considerable support for public housing of some kind on Sandown but will what is proposed here hit the spot? Will the Common Good get any cash at all once the sale price is paid? 

Whatever way this pans out however we thought some of our readers may wish to follow a few links to other articles concerning Sandown that we published in 2013. They may also be of some use to new Councillors on the block, Peter Saggers and Tom Heggie, who were not in office when everyone was supping from the Sandown poisoned chalice last time round.

Just click on the titles to see the full articles:

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2013

Debt decision - Michael Green's view - "closure to the Sandown saga"


Saturday, September 08, 2018

Oirthir gu h-oirthir - Rèis nan Radain - Coast to Coast - Rat Race 8th September 2018 Start at Nairn

Brigadoon like it will all be over by 9 am when the last wave leave on their journey across the Highlands to the West Coast. Good to see this competition returning each September to Nairn. 

Individual images here. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

Apples - got too many? Why not get juiced up at the Nairn Festival - Sat 15th September - Viewfield 13.00 - 16.00

Review of Nairn Sandown for new affordable homes

There has to be consultation then before any disposal of "Common Good Land".

Highland Council's previous involvement with proposed development on the Sandown Lands has been highly controversial to say the least. This time round it looks as though the local authority is setting out its stall before things go any further. Here's the press release issued today:

"The Highland Council has a commitment to deliver 2500 new affordable homes over a 5 year period. The Council and its partners have been carrying out a review of potential development sites throughout the Highlands regardless of land ownership in order to deliver this programme.

As part of this review, the Sandown area south of the A96 was identified as a zoned site, within the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan, with potential for housing development. The site also benefitted from an approved development brief. 

The Council asked Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) as one of its development partners, to facilitate a feasibility to determine if this would be a viable site for consideration to assist the council in meeting its overall affordable housing targets. 

Initial feasibility work included contacting statutory authorities to determine whether there would be any significant constraints on the site. This also included contacting the council’s planning service with regard to a screening application to determine whether an environmental statement would be required if a planning application were to be submitted. 

The feasibility work being carried out will assess if the site is suitable and viable for potential housing development, and whether HHA should consider submitting a proposal of application notice (PAN). 

Any application related to Sandown land would have to be considered by the Nairnshire Area Committee and subsequently by the full Highland Council prior to any decision being made. 

Also as part of this process, in accordance with the Community Empowerment Act, the Council is now required to undertake a consultation process before any disposal of Common Good land can proceed. Representations received must be taken into account when reaching a decision on disposal. Proposals would be published on the Council’s website together with a guide for making representations, with the relevant community council and any interested community bodies being notified directly. This consultation is separate to the formal planning process.

Any potential planning application would have to follow the major application process. No planning application would be made without approval from the Nairn Common Good and prior to submission of any planning application, full public consultation would take place. 

Feasibility work is at an early stage but this is potentially a great opportunity for new affordable homes for Nairn."

Gurn comment - how about Council housing instead of "affordable housing"?

More Gurn comment - Highland Council administer the land, they are also the planning authority and own a sizeable share of the company that has put in the application. Bearing all that in mind would it be wise for them to put this consultation out to an organisation that has no financial or other interest in Sandown?

Dà thachartas Gàidhlig aig Fèis Leabhraichean Inbhir Narainn Dihaoine sa tighinn

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Housing Development in Nairn turns East? 65-70 Houses for Sandown?

Oppps apologies "West" - a bit confused folks, so much in Nairn has gone West already. 

A screening application for 65-70 houses has appeared on the Highland Council website here. 

The application takes in a large area of land on the southern field of the three Sandown Lands fields between the wetland area and Sandown Road, a map can be seen on the site. The application is in the name of the Highland Housing Alliance. Their website here states 

"Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) is a development company dedicated to building and managing a wide variety of good-quality homes for people in the Highlands.

The HHA’s vision is to facilitate and deliver additional good quality housing in the Highlands with a wide range of private and public sector partners and to provide a top quality housing development and management service to our customers."

Further information on the site as follows:

"The Highland Housing Alliance is a development company set up to work in partnership with the Highland Council, housing associations, Scottish Government, private landowners and developers to help build more homes of all tenures for people in the Highlands.

The Highland Housing Alliance’s vision is to facilitate and deliver additional good quality housing in the Highlands with a wide range of private and public sector partners and to provide a top quality housing development and management service to our customers.

The Highland Housing Alliance is owned by five housing associations working in Highland, one housing trust and The Highland Council."

Ploughing the Sandown Lands
The Sandown Lands are owned by the Nairn Common Good Fund and this observer has heard them referred too in the past as "a common good asset" rather than common good land". One would imagine that any potential developer would have been in contact with the Trustees of the Common Good Fund (the Highland Councillors) before submitting any sort of application - and as Highland Council are part owners of the Highland Housing Alliance then it would be hard to imagine that this application might have escaped their notice. 

Obviously our four Nairn Councillors will be bound by commercial confidentiality should any such discussion have taken place or be ongoing but perhaps it may be to everyone's advantage for all parties to be as transparent as protocol permits given the troubled history of previous applications for housing on Sandown. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Team Hamish and NICE "Vision for Nairn" Initial project plan now published

The potential of Team Hamish working with NICE and the fledgling BID to finally kick start regeneration of Nairn has been outlined in a document now available online on the group's site. Reports and initiatives have come and gone (usually to gather dust on a shelf somewhere) or to await a further reinvention of the wheel a few years later. It is usually about suits coming into town with powerpoint presentations telling us what is good for us. Now it is time for home grown talent to take the lead, will the incredibile potential of allowing this community to do it's own thing finally be unleashed with this project being allowed to be the driving force for regeneration of Nairn, with the backing and good will of the many willing and talented folk able to put their shoulders to the wheel? 

The Introduction to the Project Plan begins:

"Nairn is widely recognised by outsiders as being ripe for regeneration as a tourist destination. It is in a location that has assets in abundance, but the town centre itself and the seafront do not offer enough to encourage visitors to stay for more than a few hours or the potential to choose Nairn as a ‘return’ destination.

Over the years many ideas have been offered, but unfortunately these have not been brought to fruition. We would suggest that previous proposals have lacked a holistic, overarching strategic master plan that encompasses all of Nairn’s assets and highlights their potentoal. Similarly, full collaboration between community bodies, voluntary groups, local businesses and the statutory authoritoes has been overlooked. This has resulted in there being limited ‘joined-up’ thinking to put Nairn back on the map as a tourist destination and revitalised for the benefit of its Community as a whole. 

We believe that a number of recent key developments make this moment in time the perfect opportunity to begin enhancing Nairn.

 The BID, now approved, will play a critical role in Nairn’s future, and will be the local businesses’ contribution to its regeneration. "

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fancy becoming a volunteer driver for the Community Minibuses?

Originally posted by Andrew Randerson on the Nairn oor Toon social media page

Goodmorning folks..

I know most if not all of you have seen the nairn community transport busses in nairn ...

And the transport do a great job for the 70 groups who use them ..but they after more people to hire them especially evening and weekends..

Did you know you can hire them like you would hire a car ? 

Do you have a dart group pool group dominoes or even an outing to a city or event etc.. well the busses maybe available to hire ..

Imagine only needing 1 responsible driver :) 

Or instead of upto 14 of you needing trains busses etc to Aberdeen invernss Glasgow etc it could well be cheaper clubbing together to hire the bus ..

As for the driver you have two options either use your own (who will need to go through an easy Midas test first. Basically it's just to prove your a safe and responsible driver if I can do it anyone can and Gary who runs it is very friendly and welcoming ) or if your lucky then the community centre maybe able to draw from its pool of volunteer drivers as they currently do for a vast amount of folk ..(If you use a volunteer driver id advise payment of a wee chokkie bar ;) ;that's me just hoping it's not mandatory lol ) if this is maybe of Intrest to you or someone you know please pass along .as sometimes people dont know what they have on their doorstep ..

Also if at all you fancy becoming a volunteer driver hours.. times .. days commitment are all upto yourself and extremely flexible then the community transport need you ...

If you have d1 on your licence all the better but it doesn't matter as it's not needed for all the busses, a standard normal full licence is all you need ..

If any of this interests you or someone you know then please contact Nicola Mackinlay at the community centre .... :) 

Fèis chiùil Gàidhealach a' comharrachadh òigridh ceòlmhor na h-Alba le 1,000 dhiubh ann an sàr-chuirm

Chaidh am prògram airson Fèis Blas na bliadhna-sa fhoillseachadh an-diugh, a' taisbeanadh sàr chruinneachadh de luchd-ciùil bho air feadh Alba agus thar a crìochan, a bharrachd air cothromanan inntinneach do dh'òigridh a tha airson iad fhèin a chur air adhart mar luchd-ciùil agus sgrìobhaicheran-ciùil.

Tha Blas air a cho-òrdanachadh le Fèisean nan Gàidheal an com-pàirteachas ri Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd bhon 7mh-15mh dhen t-Sultain. Tha e na amas aig Blas cultar na Gàidhlig agus saoghal beothail ceòl traidiseanta na h-Alba a chomharrachadh thar naoi latha de chuirmean, cèilidhean agus tachartasan nas motha, aig diofar àiteachan air feadh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean.

Thug Blas air adhart cothroman inntinneach ùr do dh'òigridh cuid de phrìomh thachartasan fèis na bliadhna seo a dhealbh agus a lìbhrigeadh, le taic bho stòras thachartasan Bliadhna na h-Òigridh 2018, fo stiùir Roinn Thachartasan VisitScotland.

Am measg prìomh luchd-ciùil fèis na bliadhna seo, a bhios a' tachairt eadar Bheàrnaraigh is a' Chomraich, bho Phort Rìgh gu Port MoCholmaig, tha a' bhana-sheinneadair Julie Fowlis, dithis a bhuinnig Farpais Oigridh Folk BBC Rèidio 2 roimhe seo, Mischa Nic a' Phearsain agus Brìghde Chaimbeul, an còmhlan rock Ceilteach Wolfstone, a tha a' nochdadh aig Blas airson a' chiad uair, an còmhlan folk Breabach a tha air a bhith am measg nan duais iad fhèin, an còmhlan òg Ceilteach leatronaigeach, Niteworks agus an còmhlan sàr-chliùiteach RURA.

Bidh dithis shàr-Ghàidheal, Alasdair MacGillIosa agus Dolina NicIllInnein, le chèile a' comharrachadh an 80mh ceann-bliadhna le tachartasan sònraichte anns an Eilean Sgitheanach agus Leòdhas an cuideachd taghadh iomraiteach. Agus le Runrig air an t-slighe tron Mhìle mu Dheireadh, bidh Trail West a' comharrachadh ceann bliadhna air leth - 40 bliadhna bhon chaidh an clàr ainmeil agus adhartach Play Gaelic fhoillseachadh, a lìbhrigeadh ciùil bhon chlàr aig dà chuirm anns an fhèis.

Chan eil e na annas gu bheil òigridh nam pàirt chudromach de dh'fhèis Blas, ach ann am Bliadhna na h-Òigridh thèid barrachd cothrom na bha riamh ann a thoirt do dh'òigridh na Gàidhealtachd an cuid thàlantan fhoillseachadh. Bidh luchd-ciùil òga a tha a' gabhail ceumannan-toisich air an àrd-ùrlar a' nochdadh aig a' mhòr-chuid de thachartasan agus gheibh an òigridh deagh eòlas air margaidheachd agus stiùireadh thachartasan mar a bhios iad ag obair ann an suidheachaidhean le uallach airson a bhith a' cumail rian air fèis na bliadhna seo agus ga sanasachd, mar chuirm mhòr a' foillseachadh òigridh.

An déidh cuirm mhòr Ceòl nam Fèis anns a' Phàillean ann an Srath Pheofhair air Dihaoine 14 Sultain, thig Blas gu ceann aig sàr-chuirm ann am Pàirce Cruinneachaidh a Chinn a Thuath ann an Inbhir Nis an ath latha, Disathairne an 15mh; bidh barrachd air 1,000 de luchd-ciùil òga air an an tarraing bho Fhèisean air feadh na h-Alba agus buidhneanagus iomairtean-ciùil òigridh leithid Buidhnean Ciùil Òga Chomhairle na Gàidhealtachd agus Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd. Bidh òigridh sàr-thàlantach a' gabhail an àrd-ùrlair còmhla ri còmhlain a thagh iad fhèin, leithid buidhnean mòra ainmeil mar Skipinnish, Trail West agusBreabach còmhla ri Brìghde Chaimbeul. Thèid òran Gàidhlig ùr a chaidh a sgrìobhadh le Robbie MacLeòid a tha na oileanach ann an Glaschu, a lìbhrigeadh leis a h-uile neach-ciùil anns a' chuirm, an tachartas as motha a chaidh a chur air adhart le Fèisean nan Gàidheal nan eachdraidh thar 30 bliadhna.

Tha cothrom air leth air a thabhann do neach-ciùil og eile tron fhèis, a bhana-sheinneadair Gàidhlig Mischa Nic a' Phearsain à Leòdhas. Bidh Mischa, a bhuinnig an duais Folk ainmeil agus luachmor do dh'Òigridh aig Rèidio 2 ann an 2014, a' lìbhrigeadh a coimisean ùr, le taic bho Thorntons Investments, grunn thursan tro Bhlas. `S e cruinneachadh de dh'òrain ùra an Gàidhlig a th'a nn an Bho Èirigh gu Laighe na Grèine – Sun, Moon, Land, Life, Sea, a' gabhail a-staigh seann bhàrdachd Ghàidhlig, dealbhan agus fiolmaichean goirid.

Thuirt fear de thosgairean òga Fèis Bhlas na bliadhna seo, Lache Robinson: "Tha e dìreach sgoinneil a bhith an sàs ann a bhith a' deisealachadh airson fèis na bliadhna seo agus a bhith a' coimhead air adhart gu prògram a tha cho inntinneach agus tarraingeach, le cuid dhen luchd-ciùil òga as ainmeile a th'againn nam pàirt dheth. Tha Òran Mòr gu bhith dìreach sònraichte agus tha mi fhèin agus mo cho-oibrichean òg a' coimhead air adhart gu mòr gu bhith na mheasg agus a' frithealadh thachartasan eile tro Fhèis Bhlas."

Thuirt an Leas Phrìomh Mhinistear Iain Swinney: “Ann am Bhliadhna na h-Òigridh, tha e sònraichte a bhith a' faicinn Fèis Bhlas a' foillseachadh uibhir de thàlantan òga agus mar a thathas a' cruthachadh chothroman ùra do dh'òigridh air àrd-ùrlar agus a' tabhann chothroman dhan ath ghinealach de sgrìobhaichean agus luchd-lìbhrigidh ciùil”.

“Bidh prògram na bliadhna seo, le measgachadh air leth de chèilidhean, cuirmean agus tachartasan eile air an cruinneachadh agus an dealbh le taic bho na tosgairean òga a' cur air adhart agus a' comharrachadh cultar na Gàidhealtachd gu luchd-amhairc is èisteachd bho fhad is farsaing”.

“Tha Blas fhèin a' comharrachadh prìomh innleachd aiseag cultar na Gàidhealtachd agus tha Riaghaltas na h-Alba a' gealltainn an tuilleadh taic son fàs, a bhios a' cur ri beatha cultarail na h-Alba agus a' cur ri taisbeanadh agus misneachadh na Gàidhlig ann an Alba."

Thuirt an Comhairliche Alasdair MacFhionghain, Cathraiche Buidheann Ro-innleachd agus Buileachaidh na Gàidhlig agus Cathraiche Stòras Corporra Chomhairle na Gàidhealtachd: "Tha a' Chomhairle air a bhith taiceil do dh'Fhèis Blas bhon a chaidh a stèidheachadh 13 bliadhna air ais. Bha a' chiad fhèis ann an 2005, agus tha an fhèis air fàs agus tighinn air adhart, ach chaidh aig an fhèis air leantainn le bhith a' cur cultar na Gàidhlig a tha cho sònraichte aig cridhe chùisean, a' leigeil le luchd-ciùil ainmeil eadar-nàiseanta a bhith a' nochdadh air an aon àrd-ùrlar ri òigridh bhon sgìre seo fhèin. Tha prògram na bliadhna seo tarraingeach, inntinneach, agus làn foghlaim, gu h-àraidh seach gu bheil sinn a' comharrachadh Bliadhna na h-Òigridh. Tha sinn a' moladh do dhaoine a dhol gu aon tachartas aig a' char as lugha ach am faigh iad a-mach dhaibh fhèin cho sònraichte agus tlachdmhor sa tha an fhèis seo de cheòl agus cultar na Gàidhlig."

Thuirt Ann Marie Reid, Ard-Mhanaidsear Leasachaidh, Iomairtna Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean: "Tha sinn air leth toilichte a bhith a' toirt taic do dh'Fhèis Blas a tha cho cudromach mar thachartas do choimhearsnachdan air feadh Alba. Tha an fhèis a' fuasgladh chothroman do dh'òigridh an cuid thàlantan a thoirt air adhart agus am misneachd agus an sgilean a thogail, a bharrachd air a bhith gan lìbhrigeadh fhèin agus a' soillseachadh na sgìre do luchd-tadhail agus muinntir an àite fhèin ach am faigh iad cultar na Gàidhlig agus na Gàidhealtachd a chomharrachadh."

Gheibhear an làn-phrògram de na tachartasan aig far am faighear cuideachd fiosrachadh mu cheannach thiocaidean agus, an lùib sin, lùghdachadh phrìsean mu choinneamh chairtean Young Scot.