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."