Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Nairn's Cludgiemageddon - has it started?

Mystery surrounds the closure today of the toilets behind the Courthouse. Already social media in the town is seething with further anger at Highland Council.

The scene today that would have confronted any traffic warden in need of a comfort break. 

Walking the line in the Fishertown today - "don't follow leaders watch the parking meters"

Thanks to one of our regular readers today who sent us in the snap of something we are not very used to at all in Nairn but here it is folks, parking wardens in Harbour Street earlier today. Just wait until we get the meters too. 

Anyone out there in Gurnshire get a ticket today?

Liz on parking charges - No costs attributed to anticipated revenue - video

Monday, February 26, 2018

Parking charges and other matters - will civil disobedience emerge in Nairn?

No decisions or motions but serious calls at the Nairn West and Suburban Community Council for individuals and businesses to withhold their council tax and rates until Highland Council falls into line and listens to Nairnshire. 

The idea being that you pay your money instead into a fund that promised to pay the Council once the officials and power brokers through in Inverness actually start to do what Nairn wants instead of dishing it out top down like we have had for many years now. The feeling now is that the only way to make Glenurquhart Road listen is to stop giving them money.

Parking charges, cludgie charges (for some just as much as a red line as the parking charges) housing development at inappropriate sites and none at the appropriate ones, other cuts - an Academy that is falling down. It might just be that the latent anger over the way that Nairn has been treated in recent years has reached boiling point now with the parking charges finally lighting the blue touch paper. 

There was indication too of outrage in the business community and that Highland Council were delaying their acceptance of the Business Improvement District (BID) application for Nairn. Parking charges were being talked about tonight and revolution was in the air. 

Breaking...Liz says "The Christmas Lights will happen"

Cllr Liz MacDonald said on the ever-popular Nairn Our Town Facebook page this morning:

"The Christmas lights will happen in Nairn. Today there was a meeting of the Christmas Event working group. Last year we organised the switch on, but there will be much more to arrange this year. If you are genuinely interested and would like to help us you'd be very welcome to join us. There are also site inspections taking place in March with Lorraine Mallinson and the agencies (Police, Fire, Council) involved so the firework/bonfire can go ahead this year. Please let me know if you'd like to help at either of these events."

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nairn River Community Council to protest on Saturday March 10th 10.30 am over proposed RBS closure

NRCC, at their regular monthly meeting in the Community and Arts centre, last night decided that they would organise a protest outside the Royal Bank of Scotland Branch in Nairn to show their concern at the effect the intended closure of the branch will have on businesses and individuals in the town. The protest will take place on the morning of Saturday 10th March. 

Recently there was a meeting in the town in which David Richardson of the Federation of Small Businesses and local MP Drew Hendry spoke of the ongoing effect that bank closures were having on rural communities in Scotland and the damage more closures could cause. Video of that meeting here. 

Liz on why Nairn Academy needs to be rebuilt

Liz MacDonald was also up at Nairn Academy this morning supporting parents campaigning for the school to be rebuilt. Earlier we posted an interview with Laurie Fraser, you can see that here. 

Nairn 2 Rothes 4 Pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here. 

Laurie speaks to the Gurn on Parking charges, toilet charges, Christmas Lights and the need for a new Nairn Academy

Parents, alumni and some present day pupils made their way up to the frozen campus of Nairn Academy this morning for interviews with local media. Also present was Cllr Liz MacDonald, we'll post a wee interview with her later.  Laurie was willing to have a wee blether about some of the issues posed by the recent Highland Council budget vote and also on the pressing need for a rebuild of Nairn Academy. 

The scene earlier this morning in Duncan Drive as concerned parents, former and present pupils gather to talk to MFR about the need for a new Nairn Academy to be built.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Coming to Nairn this summer...something different, something fun, something to benefit locals and tourists alike – Riviera Rickshaw Rides!

Coming to Nairn this summer...something different, something fun, something to benefit locals and tourists alike – Riviera Rickshaw Rides! Utilising Nairn’s quietest roads and the many wide paths especially in the areas north of the A96 and along the river, three colourful rickshaws will sedately tour their passengers around the best of its scenery and attractions. One of them will carry the elderly, the less mobile and housebound on short trips getting them out into the fresh air. A similar Danish scheme – ‘Cycling Without Age’ (www.cyclinwithoutage.org) is now in 40 countries around the world including Scotland. 

Nairn has above the national average of over 65’s – 5% over, in fact, and we would love to get as many of these residents out for runs which are proven to improve their physical and mental well-being. The demand is there. 

The other two rickshaws will mainly be for hire by the visitors to the town – but, of course, anyone can hire them. The income from their fares will help subsidise the rickshaw for the less mobile and also to help support our not-for-profit social enterprise develop its services. We’re waiting for our charitable status to come through. We’ve started fundraising to trusts to buy the rickshaws...and will crowdfund for one in the near future. We hope the rickshaws will be a great addition to Nairn
bringing colour, a touch of playfulness and ‘Riviera’ romance to the town –especially to the seaside areas.

In answer to some obvious concerns, when a rickshaw is on a path, (and they won’t be all the time), at 4’ wide, they’ll take up less than half the path width, they’ll travel slowly and carefully (remember who’s going to be in them!) and will ring a gentle tinkly bell to let folk know when they’re approaching. 

The rickshaws can be used at community events, special occasions, birthdays, weddings - and for fundraisers! We hope that they’ll become an asset for Nairn.

We’ll be recruiting and three fit local, probably young people (ideal for students) to be the rickshaw riders in May/June for the summer while looking for volunteers to take out those less mobile on runs - after proper training. Don’t worry that rickshaw will be power-assisted! 

Finally, we’re inviting people to get involved with this innovative project in various ways; fundraising, events, (there’ll be an open day soon) marketing and admin skills or indeed anyone who would like to learn those skills. Anyone interested in the environment, eco-tourism and cycle tourism are particularly welcome. Thanks for reading... more news to follow...

Riviera Community Enterprises - An Eco-tourism, Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise for Nairn
8, Leopold St.
IV12 4BE


Thanks to the Highland Council budget parking charges and cludgie cuts Dingwall has a problem just like Nairn

And just like Nairn their local councillors who are members of the administration will have voted for this. 

"DREAMS of Dingwall becoming a visitor hotspot could disappear if the town’s only public toilets are closed and free car parking scrapped.

Fears are being raised that the impact of moneysaving moves could sink hopes of the county town benefiting from bus tours from Invergordon’s multimillion-pound cruise line trade."

More on the North Star website. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Nairnshire Partnership news of Cyber Crime Awareness Masterclass.

Christmas Lights no more for Nairn High Street - seasonal goodwill cut with Highland Council budget?

There was a lot of talk about cuts and parking charges at the River CC meeting on Wednesday night in the Community and Arts Centre. It looks like we will have to start to visualise Nairn High Street without any Christmas Lights this year. Here's what Liz had to say.

"It's so depressing when you think we don't even know how we are going to get the Christmas Lights up...It's seven and a half thousands pounds coming out of Nairn again...Nairn, Auldearn and Cawdor. Council guys put the lights up and they're not going to do it anymore."

No more visits for the Highland Council fleet of cherry pickers at Christmas time unless someone can find 7.5K?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Anti parking charges movement blossoms on Nairn High Street - now there's a petition

Posters rapidly appearing in windows today and The Flower Shop and other outlets also have petition sheets. 

Update: and that's to say nothing about Leopold Street - what a hotbed of resistance that is. Support your town centre Gurnshire - tell Glenurquhart Road to do one - a big one!

Potholes rapidly turning into craters at A96 King Street roundabout

Getting even worse as you approach the King Street roundabout on the A96 from the east. Take care folks. 

New funding to tackle Japanese Knotweed and other invasive species on the River Nairn

"PROJECT managers are now in place to lead an ambitious four-year scheme to reduce the population of American mink and target non-native plants including Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed around riverbanks in Nairn, Findhorn and Lossiemouth."

Royal Bank Closure later this year - Nairn River Community Council to protest on Saturday March 10th

NRCC, at their regular monthly meeting in the Community and Arts centre, last night decided that they would organise a protest outside the Royal Bank of Scotland Branch in Nairn to show their concern at the effect the  intended closure of the branch will have on businesses and individuals in the town. The protest will take place on the morning of Saturday 10th March. 

Recently there was a meeting in the town in which David Richardson of the Federation of Small Businesses and local MP Drew Hendry spoke of the ongoing effect that bank closures were having on rural communities in Scotland and the damage more closures could cause. Video of that meeting here. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Parking charges latest - debate at River Community Council meeting - Tom Heggie outlines his posistion

There was quite a lot on tonight at the regular meeting of the Nairn River Community Council. A large number of members of the public were present and also Highland Councillors Tom Heggie, Laurie Fraser and Liz MacDonald with apologies form Peter Saggers. When it came to the subject of parking charges the Chair of the meeting, Tommy Hogg, asked Tom Heggie to speak. Cllr Heggie began:

"As you are aware there was a meeting last Tuesday and people made their views known and we as councillors made our views known. We were in a situation in the Council that every Councillor was told that if they had a proposal to take something out of the budget they had to have a substitute because there was a need for a balanced budget. The proposals were put through with the proviso that further consultation would take place. All of the Councillors voiced their disapproval.

We accepted that there would be further consultation. We've been doing quite a lot of research. Michael Boylan from the BID and the Association of Businesses, he has offered to pull together people to discuss all the implications with us and we will be having meetings with – in fact- the budget leader sent me an e-mail today saying he's be open to meeting with us to discuss proposals. The toilets should be seen as part of the whole package.

We are looking at , again there's lack of clarity about everything. Where we are at the moment, was I have made a plea to the Council and, that a) we were put in an invidious situation that nobody had valued, nobody had put a sum of money on what this car parking was supposed to generate. Some of the car parking was Common Good and further research indicates that there's a probability that other areas are in the same situation and there's maybe other complications that a head of service or whoever is proposing this hasn't researched properly.

We have the support of Michael Boylan and as a group of councillors we will be looking closely at further developments. Liz who is a member of the opposition and they wish this to be postponed. That was not carried in the Council but the four councillors are bringing information together and it looks as though, because this has not been thought through the proper – who actually owns the land I think would be a fair one. It's not been properly researched, that there is still a case to be made, a strong cast to be made that this should be taken off the table but we are in the early days of negotiating that. That would be our view, that would be our objective and that is what we will be trying to achieve. Having it taken off the table but the other side of that is we also need clarification and there was a great lack of clarification about the whole idea of the toilets and how that can be progressed. In some communities Alness and others in the West they have taken responsibility locally and they have community groups that are talking responsibility for certain activities in the community, quite extensive involvement in quite a number of activities but we don't have that option at the moment. "

Tom was then questioned by Iain Bruce of the Community Council and faced criticism from Sheena Baker too. More when time permits. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Parking charges for Nairn - mystery of how they were strangled at birth yet again before the 2017 Highland Council budget.

Just for historical purposes we thought we'd link back to pre-budget posturing at the end of 2016 when the possibility parking charges for Nairn and other small towns and communities in the Highlands emerged yet again in a Press and Journal report. 

There then followed some very entertaining comment  from (then) councillor Michael Green at a Community Council meeting:  

"So it is incredibly unlikely and what was driving it transpired was seemingly some councillors down in Fort William who couldn't get to sleep at night with the thought of folk in Nairn getting free parking. " More here 

And so once again parking charges never appeared - fast forward to 2018 and we wait with interest as to how Tom, Laurie and Peter will expand on their cunning strategy of stopping parking charges for Nairn by voting for them in the budget - maybe more in the Leopold Street Thunderer tomorrow too. Where there's a will there's a way? 

Don't forget citizens of Gurnshire you can also go along and try and catch the eye of the chair of River CC Tommy Hogg on Wednesday night in the Community Centre at 7.30 and request to address the meeting yourself as parking charges are on that organisation's agenda for this week's meeting.  For the serious stundents of these matters, good comments too on a thread over on the ever-popular Nairn Rocks Facebook page. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Parking charges for Nairn - BIg turn out possible for Nairn River Community Council meeting on Wednesday night (21st Feb)?

When a controversial subject hits the public domain in Nairn it usually means a good turn-out for the local community council meetings. On Wednesday night in the Community and Arts Centre there will be a meeting of NRCC starting at 7.30 pm.

Item 10 on the agenda states: 

"Updates Parking, Harbour, Public Survey, Scottish Water liaison, RBS closure, NHS Dental Services at Nairn Hospital" . Full agenda here.

So there will be an opportunity to members of the public to react to the decision of three of Nairn's Councillors to vote for a budget that included parking charges for Nairn. Perhaps their decision included a strong hope that they could still do something to stop them as the process is implemented, their strategy seems to have been lost on the majority of residents however, with anger being expressed on social media and in real time too. 

Perhaps Tom, Laurie and Peter will turn up to tell the meeting how they intend to stop the parking charges (after voting for them in the Highland Council's budget). What is the method in their apparent madness? Maybe we will hear more too if they have spoken to Leopold Street's finest for when the Tuesday morning edition hits the streets. 

County win over Strathspey - videos of Jordon Madrae's goal and interview with Ali Nichol and Donald Wilson on latest ground improvement fund-raiser and things at the club in general

Match report here. 

Update pictures Donald Matheson - Individual images here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Riviera Community Enterprises - A new eco-tourism initiative for Nairn

A small group of local people interested in tourism, cycling and the environment got together before Christmas and started to develop an idea which if it succeeds will bring a new eco-tourism initiative to Nairn in the summer. It will use a colourful, fun and eco-friendly type of transport that will also improve the well-being of many of the town’s elderly and housebound. And it’s an activity that additionally will provide healthy seasonal employment for several fit young people.

The answer the group came up with is ‘Riviera Rickshaw Rides’ – with the ‘Riviera’ reference being what the Moray Firth coast was known as - the ‘Riviera of the North’.  The group hopes to bring back a little of that 20’s and 30’s romance in its branding.

The fledgling organisation, will be a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity whose main aim will be to promote of eco-tourism, especially the pedal-powered variety in the Nairn area.
‘Its eco-tourism with social benefits’, added David Munro, who is a local professional tour guide who founded the Forres-based social enterprise Moray Wastebusters, ‘ as the aim is to also support the elderly, less able and housebound in the town to improve their well-being by taking them out for rides in the fresh air. The tourist service will help to subsidise that part of the service.

An iconic type of transport throughout Asia and now operating in many towns and cities throughout the UK rickshaws could become a colourful feature to the town’s quieter roads and paths leisurely carrying their passengers around Nairn’s attractive coastal scenery and countryside.

The plan is to operate two rickshaws specifically for tourists and one customised power- assisted rickshaw for use by Nairn’s less able residents. After receiving the appropriate training the customised rickshaw could be ridden by volunteers as well as the professional riders to ensure that as many as possible would get a chance to go outside on a sunny day, get some fresh air and maybe visit a seafront cafe for a cup of tea.

Having had an enthusiastic reception from the care homes and sheltered housing units we are just beginning to promote the idea to all the accommodation providers in Nairn. The ones we have spoken to so far have been enthusiastic and see it as a welcome addition to the town’s tourist facilities.
Many tourist whether its a middle-aged couple staying in the Muthu Newton, the Golf View Hotels or parents a toddler staying at the caravans park will enjoy using the colourful rickshaws which will travel slowly and safely around Nairn’s quieter roads and paths to allow their passengers to savour Nairn’s attractive scenery at a gentle pace.

The riders will simultaneously deliver a commentary about some of Nairn’s fascinating history from small fishing community to Victorian health resort.
We also hope to provide regular walking tours, which will add another dimension to Nairn’s tourist activities.

‘The response from the care homes and sheltered housing units has been very enthusiastic and we’re looking forward to the day the service will start - hopefully by the early summer. I’ll be giving presentations to the care homes over the coming weeks to let them know more about the service and what it entails’ added David.

Rickshaw Rides is based on a Danish organisation that is already operating in some towns in Scotland called ‘Cycling Without Age’ (www.cyclingwithoutage.scot) but the main difference is that while CWA relies entirely on volunteers we will be asking a donation to help cover the wage of the rider and help make the service more sustainable. If people want to volunteer that’s fine and we’ll be happy to train them but in terms of not disappointing any residents we felt it was better to use both staff and volunteers. We’ll be closely monitoring how that works in practice.

The enterprise will operate out of Leopold Street’ David added, ‘the location is ideal because we effectively have a high-street location with potential to develop a small tourist hub here’. We are currently exploring with VisitNairn and VisitScotland the possibility of being a Visitor Information Point where tourists will be able to come to the office to get information about everything that’s happening locally.

Through using the rickshaw service nad providing electric and mountain bike hire our aim is to promote Nairn and the surrounding area as an eco-tourist destination –we have a beautiful area with above-average sunshine, a stunning coastline, the UK’s biggest coastal forest and an attractive rolling hinterland with rugged moors- all dotted with attractive villages, medieval castles and forts. The beauty of it all is that it has hundreds of miles of relatively flat roads running through the coastal landscape –ideal to promote cycling in its many forms.

David Munro - Project Coordinator - STGA Green Badge Tour Guide, Founder of Moray Wastebusters -Fundraiser

Kevin Grant - Owner of ‘Bikespokes’ - Mobile bicycle engineer – bicycle hire operator

Wendy Springett – Auldearn – based crafstperson and artist.

Advisor - Hugh Grant – Tour Guide, Owner of Inverness Tours, Author

More water supply problems in Tradespark

Residents again reported loss of water in the Tradespark area as there was yet another problem with the water main in Moss-side Road.

Local resident Nancy told the Gurn of the ongoing situation this has all created:

"It is bad enough trying to negotiate the travel throughout Nairn without suffering burst water pipes 2 days in a row in Tradespark. Once again, Moss-Side Road is being dug up and no water coursing through our taps. The stress is getting to be too much. Disrupted travel plans yesterday as vehicular access cut off to Emily Mews and Charlotte , including extensive flooding of the grounds. Then no water until 3.30 pm. Another burst pipe this morning. It is too much in the 21st century."

Scottish Water have since apologised to residents, a top local newshound who lives locally accepted their apology and replied to them on twitter

Sewage Bridge (aka Merryton Bridge) now open

Lost Cat Waverley Road Nairn - have you seen Dipper?

Update Found -  happy day now in Waverly Road

Lost cat Waverley Rd Putting this up for a friend. Please contact the Gurn if you have any information also contact details at Moray Coast Vets

‘Missing from Waverley Road since the 16th February. Have you seen Dipper? She is old, very timid and completely deaf’.

Update: spotted A96 end of Waverley Road around 6 am. Please have a look around if you live in the area folks.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Budget passed including car parking charges - see what Nairn's four councillors had to say in Highland Council's own video

The Highland Council Budget has been passed including car parking charges for Nairn. This link will take you to the point that Liz MacDonald starts to speak about Parking and other issues. She is followed by Tom Heggie and a  bit later on in the video at 2.20.30 you get Laurie Fraser and Peter Saggers. The budget was passed however and no doubt the three councillors who voted for it are pining their hopes on the promise of further consultation where perhaps something can be done, those at the meeting on Tuesday night in the legion were very cynical about consultation after the event however.

Are we stuffed or is there still room for manoeuvre?  Anyway, we hear that Liz voted against the budget and Nairn's three other councillors voted for it.  See for yourselves below, the start button in the centre can be a bit hard to see but it is there.

Update: Here at the Gurn we think the day's events were summed up well by this Inverness based journalist. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ANB "stop the parking meters" public meeting in the Royal British Legion Nairn 13 Feb 2018 - video

The Meeting held by the Association of Nairn Businesses in the legion was well attended.  Nairn's four Highland Councillors were left in no doubt on what the public wanted to do. Questions about how it all happened, comments on how it will affect businesses and the community and suggestions on how Councillors can act to stop it going through in the budget on Thursday at Highland Council headquarters in Glenurquhart Road Inverness. 

The video below comes in a playlist of five sections, when one finishes the other will start automatically.

Drew Hendry MP's message of support to Nairn meeting against proposed parking charges

A message of support from Drew Hendry MP was read out to the meeting last night  (videos of meeting here):

"Nairn deserves a well thought out and agreed plan, to protect and boost our communty and economy and I believe this proposal does not achieve outcomes that would deliver for Nairn. It is neither properly thought out nor agreed with local people and would be likely to cause a number of problems, not only for business but for local people and tourists.

Our High street in Nairn and local businesses have had to weather some pretty tough times and a loss of discretionary spending would be highly likely as choices are made over concentrating shopping activity in retail parks for convenience and costs.

I also believe that parking charges would cause drivers to displace to other parts of the town where charges would not exist. For example this could be to car parks provided for shoppers, such as the Co-op, but would also start to impact on nearby residential streets. This, in turn, would be highly likely to have to lead to the introduction of formalised street parking control for Nairn.

This is a double problem as it is probable that enforcement would be limited, the cost to return being unbalanced, inevitably leading to newer “on street” rules being flouted. This would lead to a further unfairness or a perception of it for local people.

Another issue, as others have pointed out, is one of overalll financial fairness to the community. 

The prospect of income being raised on Nairn Common Good Land going directly to support budget savings failures for the Highland Council is simply not acceptable. If Common Good land is, through agreement with those who live and work in Nairn, to generate income then that must go back to Nairn Common Good.

There are many other implications but I believe that these reasons alone are sufficient to insist that the proposal should be abandoned. The people of Nairn deserve more respect and it is past time that a proper approach was taken to planning how to invest in Nairn’s future. As stated above, this is neither inclusive nor fair and I would be happy to support all of those who oppose the proposal."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Highland Council parking charges for Nairn condemned in hard-hitting editorials in both the Inverness Courier and Nairnshire Telegraph

Local press coming out strongly in favour of stop the parking charges protesters in Nairn. Public meeting tonight in the Legion at 7 pm please go along if you can. 

Nairn - a very strong community prepared to stand up for itself - parking protest tonight comes almost ten years to the day of another major protest in the town

Last night at the meeting to stop the Royal Bank Closure, Drew Hendry MP took the time to give his support to the campaign to stop parking charges in the town. He called the proposal "horrible" and said he was firmly against it. Speaking after the meeting this observer told him that it was such a shame that Nairn has to spend so much time fighting a rearguard action against proposals from outwith the town that are not in the community's interest. It would be far better if we could channel our collective energy and talent into positive initiatives that the authorities could support instead of always trying to impose what they want on us.

Tonight 13th (February) at 7 pm there will be a meeting in the Legion to try and stop (once again) parking meters being installed at four sites in the town by Highand Council. It is a battle we have to win readers, please get to this meeting if you can. 

This fight comes almost ten years to the day when Nairn residents took to the streets for a major protest to try and save the Harbour Street Post Office. The authorities got away with that one sadly, but the images below demonstrate just how strong this community is and how it is prepared to defend itself against unjust and stupid decision by people that don' t live here.  If you can't play the slideshow below then please head here to see the individual images.

Sewage Bridge closure for up to a fortnight - or as the authorities prefer to call it "They Merryton Bridge"

Thanks to Stephen over at the popular NWYWAB page for the picture below. Closed for up to a fortnight according to information posted on the bridge.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Banking closures harming communities and businesses - Drew Hendry MP and David Richardson of the FSB speak at Nairn meeting against further RBS closures

Opening the meeting Drew and David


More Q&A

Two meetings you really should consider going to - tonight Monday 12th and tomorrow Tuesday 13th

First up tonight in the Community Centre 6.30 pm - stop the Royal Bank Closure organised by the FSB and speaking is Drew Hendry MP.

"The Federation of Small Businesses is working with local MP Drew Hendry to fight the RBS branch closures. There's a meeting in Nairn on Monday 12th February at 6.30pm in the Community Centre. They say, "It is important that we all work together to show our support for local branches and the more businesses that attend the better. Please come along and bring your friends."

And tomorrow night in the legion at 7.00 pm - stop the parking charges!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Pre-consultation consultation on where the bairns that would live on Liz's land would go to school?

In that article we quoted the following: "An interesting paragraph appears re school catchment areas. In that document the Transport Planning Team state:

"It is understood that the current primary school catchment for this site will be Auldearn Primary, which would require the provision of transport to and from the school given the location of the site in relation to the school. Subject to this remaining the case, it is recommended that any permission granted is required to agree a suitable level of financial contribution towards the provision of such school transport services supporting this site. The amount and timing of such contributions should be agreed with the Public Transport Team to ensure that the funds can be used in time to provide the necessary services from when units start to become occupied."

Now, interestingly, the Gurn has seen a copy of an e-mail (coming to us from an unreliable source with links to  the  Nairn River Community Council). The e-mail from the Highland Council education folkies to the Community Council talks about changes to school catchment areas and specifically mentions Lochloy:

"Dear Sir or Madam

Highland Council is in the very early stages of considering some changes to the catchment areas of the primary schools around Nairn. These are linked to the development of the Lochloy Housing Estate, and to the re-routing of the A96.

Changes to catchment areas are subject to an extensive statutory consultation process, that involves notification being provided to all parents and all staff of the affected schools, and to local community councils. A public meeting is part of the statutory consultation process. I would stress however, that at this stage we are a long way from even having a Proposal to issue for formal consultation. A statutory consultation exercise has to be approved in advance by the members of Highland Council’s People Committee, and as yet we have not approached the Committee members to seek such approval. 

Prior to approaching elected members, we would like to gather the informal views of local parents and other community representatives. Depending on the views expressed, we might then seek agreement to conduct a statutory consultation exercise.

I would therefore like to meet with the Community Council to outline our thoughts in more detail, and explain the reasons behind them. I would be grateful if you could let me know where and when this would be possible. I can be contacted on 07500 120 271

When discussing this matter with other members of the CC, I would be grateful if you could make it clear that the Proposal has not yet been approved by the Highland Council’s People Committee, and that this approval is required prior to any formal consultation taking place.

I look forward to hearing from you."

So the start of the process begins, wouldn't it been a lot easier if a school had been built up in Lochloy after all as originally planned?  Is there any room left for one now?

Here at the Gurn we find this part very interesting: "Prior to approaching elected members, we would like to gather the informal views of local parents and other community representatives. "   Just a minute shouldn't Nairn's elected members (the four Highland Council ones) be the first people to contact because any councillor at the top of his or her game should surely know what the parents are thinking? 

So readers, education folk are wishing to speak to the community council, if you are a parent with an interest in Nairnshire's cachement areas you may wish to get a seat at that meeting. Parents with bairns at Nairn schools will no doubt be aware of the places and limitations of each school. It says some changes - just how many schools will be affected?  

If Highland Council have detailed plans for where they want bairns to go or to change schools perhaps - shouldn't they just come out with them now?

Please support this public meeting to stop parking charges in Nairn - Come along to the Legion on Tuesday night (Feb 13th)

Highland League Cup - Nairn 3 Lossie 2 Pictures Donald Matheson

Match report here.   Individual images from Donald here. 

Gurn video of third County goal from Jordon MacRae

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Property and vehicles attacked in Lodgehill Road overnight

Anyone with any information please contact Police Scotland. Attacks happened overnight Friday 9th Februay/Saturday 10th February. More information will no doubt appear in the public domain later. 

Friday, February 09, 2018

West Beach and Harbour street toilets under threat from Highland Council cuts - also Christmas lights no more?

One of our regular readers has been having a look at the proposed cuts document that goes for approval next week at Highland Council's headquarters at Glenurquhart Road. He went to do a bit of research after a BBC article earlier today. See tweet below.
In a document available on the Highland Council website entitled : "Booklet B, Revenue Budget 2018/2019, Details of proposed budget savings", the following information is available concerning two of Nairn's very regularly used toilets at the West Beach and Harbour Street. 

Please click on the image to enlarge if you can't read it. the first £ column is the Labour Saving, the second is the rates, water and electricity saving and the third the total saving.  So closure for the Harbour Street toilets and summer only for Nairn West Beach - what happens if you come to Nairn and get caught short outside of the summer season - shit on the beach? People come to Nairn all year  round, please wise up Highland Council! 

That is 25K then that can be saved from the toilets according to the experts now what about the Christmas Lights how much could the Glenurquhart Road Ruling Regime save with that? 

So £7.5K for Highland Council turning their back on the Christmas Lights? Lovely, how community minded is that? 

So come to Nairn, get hit by Parking Charges at the Links and Harbour Street and not even be provided with somewhere for a piss? The time's they are a-changing folks. Please complain to your four local Highland Councillors if you think the direction of these cuts is all wrong. Here they are, Tom Heggie, Laurie Fraser, Liz MacDonald, Peter Saggers. 

News in the post below about the proposed parking charges and more soon about a meeting organised by the Nairn Business Association for Tuesday night. 

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Wasn't just a rumour then - car parking charges on the way for Nairn - MFR report

MFR reporting that it really is in the budget proposals and the Highland Council mannie in this interview is well, well up for it. The death-knell sounded for Nairn High Street today in Glenurquhart Road?
Update MFR also stating on twitter: "Year 1 of five year plan includes Nairn Library, Harbour, Cumming Street, The Maggot"

Cumming Street Car Park "The Links" is Common Good Land isn't it? Can they do that?

Stop Royal Bank Closure - Call to support meeting in Nairn Community Centre Monday 12th February at 6.30pm

Local businessman Iain Fairweather told the Gurn:

"The Federation of Small Businesses is working with local MP Drew Hendry to fight the RBS branch closures. There's a meeting in Nairn on Monday 12th February at 6.30pm in the Community Centre. They say, "It is important that we all work together to show our support for local branches and the more businesses that attend the better. Please come along and bring your friends."

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Seafront consultants - the way we were (in 1994) and the way we are today.

There is at present an ongoing consultancy for the future of the Links. As a Highland Council press release put it last year:

"As the local community is aware, consultation has been underway on the future of the Paddling Pool Area. Linked to this, the Nairn Councillors are taking forward a scoping exercise on the existing provision to lay the groundwork for a Development Plan to ensure that the community has their say on the future of the Nairn Links. All of this presents an exciting opportunity for the Highland Council to work in partnership on the future development of the Links with Team Hamish, NICE and the Nairn community."

One of our regular readers contacted us recently however, wondering just how he could make representations to the consultation as he feels it is a pretty low profile initiative at the moment. 

Highland Council and the money they spend on consultants have had a bit of a bad press recently, especially at a time of proposed cuts. The money for this consultation was £2,500 though so wouldn't be breaking the bank and perhaps might not bee too lavish an affair. The Council will be paying by the way and not the Common Good fund and as he value of the work commissioned is under £5000 it didn't have to go out to contract.

Our correspondent is politely suggesting that the ongoing consultancy comes up for a wee bit of air and puts a bit of info out there to the Community Councils and other "stakeholders" and asks for public submissions. Perhaps that is planned for a future date but with a sensitive area such as the Links perhaps it is best to keep as many folk informed as possible. 

So flashback then to another consultants report which became a Tourism Management Plan for Nairn Seafront. Some of the things in the report happened, others didn't and some are still talked about. For a quick flashback to 1994 and the way we were, pour yourself a dram or make a cuppa and have a browse here. Our favourite page is 30 and "Nairn Seafront: The Vision" and not far behind is P13 3.8 a wee list:
  • new harbour breakwaters;
  • a new basing with 265 marina berths;
  • parking for 100 cars;
  • possibly a disused tanker as an eastern breakwater;
  • a boating pond (at the North end of the Maggot);
  • a weir across the River Nairn;
  • an indoor Wet Weather leisure facility;
  • a traffic management scheme for the Fishertown
  • an aquarium;
  • a visitor centre (possible relocation of the Fishertown Museum)
A fascinating list and a lot of it eerily reminiscent of ambitions we hear about from unreliable Gurn sources close to the Harbour working group. We'll be featuring one or two gems from this report over the next week or two folks and reflecting on the way we were and the way we are now. 

The biggest difference we suppose is that the magic money tree that was available has been severely pruned since then but magic money was there to dredge the harbour and funds (100K) supposed to be coming for a repair to the harbour wall that will enable the road to be opened again.  We are now exactly two months on from the closure of the harbour road to the carpark and it will be sorted for Easter we are told. 

Try grafting - it isn't rocket science and you can go home with your own wee apple tree!

Monday, February 05, 2018

Try Curling - Friday 16th February

Huntly 2 Nairn 3 - Pictures Donald Matheson

The game wasn't without incident, how could it be with three Huntly players sent off? The Christie Park faithful will be talking about the referee for a long time to come but County came home with three points. Visits to Huntly certainly have been memorable under the new regime - remember the 4-6 result from last season?

Match report here. Ronnie's reaction here. A few Gurn videos of some of the action over on the Gurn's Youtube pages here. 

Now a slideshow of Donald Matheson's images from Saturday, if you have trouble opening the slideshow you can see the individual images here. 

Next up on Saturday is the visit of Lossiemouth in the Highland League Cup

Saturday, February 03, 2018

"Dozens of community events under threat as new council charging scheme emerges"

Oor Liz is quoted in the P&J:

"Ms MacDonald, who helps organise Nairn’s annual Christmas lights switch-on, added: “For an organisation to be paying £675 for a one off event is unaffordable. At a time when the council is doing less and asking communities to do more, I think it’s unacceptable to charge them as well. It’s too much. It would be the death knell for the events that people work so hard for. It’s hard enough to get volunteers without having to scrape around for money to pay for what the council used to do."

Gurn Opinion, why do the proposed cuts and charges being proposed by the Independent administraiton at Glenurquhart Road  have so much potential to harm communiities? How about the Highland Council's consultants taking a hit instead? Highland Council spent £5.6 million on consultants last year.

Job at Nairn Library - Closing date 14/02/18

Friday, February 02, 2018

Work to renew Merryton Bridge walkway - bridge expected to close for up to two weeks from Mon 12 Feb

Work to renew the pedestrian walkway across the Merryton Bridge in Nairn will be carried out by Scottish Water this month.

The work will see the wooden decking replaced on the bridge, as well as supporting timbers where required.

Subject to suitable weather conditions, the work is expected to take place for up to two weeks starting from Monday 12 February. In order for the work to take place safely, the bridge will be temporarily closed to pedestrians during this period.

Gavin Steel, of Scottish Water, said:

“We are carrying out this essential work on the Merryton Bridge to ensure it can continue to serve as a safe pedestrian route for local residents and visitors.

“The work has been planned to avoid the busier summer months; however, we apologise for any inconvenience caused. We would ask pedestrians to heed the signs that will be in place and cross the river via the other bridges during this period. 

“Our contractor will be working to complete the work and enable the bridge to re-open safely as quickly as possible.”

Springfield application for 115 houses on Liz's Land - Transport Scotland ask for extension of consultation period

In an e-mail published on the Highland Council's e-planning file for this application Transport Scotland give the planners their reason for asking for an extension to the consultation period:

"The response time will obviously be dependent on the outcome of our audit of the TA. This process would have been assisted had ARUP consulted Transport Scotland when seeking to agree the scope of assessment, particularly given the potential for the proposed development to impact on a sensitive part of the trunk road network. Notwithstanding this, we will liaise with ARUP as necessary and would anticipate being in a position to respond before the end of February."

Gurnites can also read the latest objections to the proposal here on the Highland Council e-planning site.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Cleaning the town up a bit more - can we as a community take a bit more responsibility and get something done?

This week this observer had a wee walk around parts of the  town with one of our regular readers who is very concerned about what he sees as the deteriorating state of how we look after the spaces that visitors to the town use. Our regular reader is not blaming anybody for this, we all know that the Highland Council workforce in the town has been cut to the bone and beyond and those that are left are doing their best in increasing demanding services. There's a new round of cuts coming with the Highland Council budget on 15th February too. 

The question then is, do we, as a community, look for imaginative ways of doing things so something could be done to clean things up a bit more? Can we find funds, machinery or manpower from other funding sources to do something to remedy things?

We are often sitting waiting for the latest big "idea" to get off the ground such as Town Centre Redevelopment or improvements to the Harbour area. One day hopefully some of the ambitions will realise themselves but in the meantime are we taking our eye off the ball and just getting used to a deteriorating situation. Is it time for a debate about what, if anything can be done to look after what we have more effectively? We are perhaps for the most part inured to changes for the worst as they grow on us slowly but it isn't about how we see ourselves it is about what visitors think - time to tidy up some of our roads, paths and civic spaces a bit more?

Below are some pictures in a slideshow you may wish to play, the individual images are here. 

Nairn Academy Parent Council asks parents to contact elected councillors, MSPs and Highland Council leaders in campaign to stop education cuts

A Nairn Academy Parent Council spokesperson told the Gurn:  

"Just wanted to let you know that there has been communication this week from Nairn Academy Parent Council to parents and carers via the school blog and Facebook. Highland Council budget decisions will be made on 15th February with potentially very damaging cuts to secondary schools, these cuts would have an impact an ALL pupils at the school. We have asked parents to contact elected councillors, MSPs and Highland Council leaders about the situation."

This is the communication sent to Parents:

"You may be aware that there were changes last week in the Highland Council options being considered regarding budgets cuts affecting school staffing, and a perceived u-turn on some proposals. However, the issue of cuts in education has not gone away, and if cuts go through there will be impact on all pupils at the school. It is likely that the impact will be seen most in secondary schools, including teacher reductions in all schools that have a roll over 250 pupils. Nairn Academy cuts will include a loss of two teachers – perhaps more. This will impact the availability of subject choices and levels of qualifications offered for our children. There will be even more pressure on teachers affecting morale, recruitment and retention. The school leadership team will not have sufficient time to manage the school as they will be covering class teaching. Reduced staffing will have an impact on all pupils in the class including those with additional support needs, these are just some of the impacts of the proposed cuts."

Here is the suggested text to a letter that the NAPC have asked parents to send to councillors:

Dear Councillors

As parents of children in Secondary Education in Highland, we are appalled at the Education Service savings options being proposed by Highland Council Officials for consideration by the Elected embers on 15 February. 

We appreciate that it is the Highland Council view that it is being forced into £25.8M of savings by a combination of cuts in its Scottish Government funding and the associated enforced balancing of the budget. Furthermore we do realise that you have been given a ridiculously short timescale for considering how to resolve this funding disaster. 

However, we cannot accept cuts of 40 teaching staff and many more Pupil Support Assistants across the 20 or so Secondary Schools under threat of cuts, nor the proposed 20% reduction in Additional Support Needs provision. It is very clear to us that cuts of this scale will devastate teaching provision and thus learning in schools like Nairn Academy. Across Highland our schools have already suffered significant reductions in staffing over the last decade, and we are under no illusions that most secondary schools will be forced to further reduce subject choices, and probably abandon Advanced Highers entirely, if these cuts go ahead. 

The education of our children is key to the success of our communities in future, both economic and social. If more resources are needed, have the courage to confront the Scottish Government with the injustice of its approach to the Highlands by challenging the financial settlement. We know that good public services cost money, and that the Highland Council faces by far the most complex and demanding task of any Local Authority in Scotland. But before imposing cuts of the sort being proposed you must first demand – on our behalf – a fair settlement from the Scottish Government, and then make the case – to the Council Taxpayers of Highland - for raising more revenue locally.

Nairn Gritter driver Derek Reid thanked for rescuing driver

Highland Council Press Release:

A member of the Highland Council’s winter roads maintenance team has been praised by Councillors for his quick actions in rescuing a driver whose car had plunged down an embankment and landed in a stream. 

John Dermody from Newcastle was driving along the B9007 near Ferness, South of Nairn on the 28 December in snowy conditions when his car went off the road and down a steep embankment. Although he was able to contact emergency services to tell them about the accident he was not able to give them details of his location. 

Lucky for him gritter driver Derek Reid from Nairn spotted the car skid tracks and stopped to investigate. He was able to scramble down the slope and reach Mr Dermody who was trapped in his car then confirmed the location of the accident to the emergency services and stayed with Mr Dermody until they arrived. 

At the start of today’s meeting of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Derek was presented with a quaich and thanked for his quick actions in coming to the aid of Mr Dermody. 

Chair of the Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: “Derek demonstrated above and beyond public service when he came to the rescue so on behalf of all the Committee we wanted to thank him for his quick actions.” 

A modest Derek said: “I only did what any of my colleagues would have done Coming to the assistance of drivers, especially in the winter, is something we all do, so I see this presentation and thanks not just for me but all my colleagues.”