"We have on Monday 6th May sent out a joint letter with 5 other Nairn community groups to the highest level of Highland Council and the Scottish Government and our elected representatives, to complain about inadequate structures in place to support consultation and involvement of Nairn communities in local development and community planning matters.
We are concerned that in Highland the principles of the Community Empowerment Act ( 2015) are not being effectively implemented, with potentially damaging effects for Nairn when decisions are taken without local consultation and due consideration of local priorities and needs."
Of course regular readers of the Gurn and the local media will know that the growing local democratic deficit with the claims that wishes of Nairn folk are being ignored as power became centralised in Inverness has been an undercurrent of concern for almost a generation in the town and surrounding area. This new initiative signed by, NRCC, Nairn West and Suburban Community Council, Croy and Culloden Moor Community Council, Association of Nairn Businesses, Nairn Residents Concern Group and Kingsteps Residents Group is a concise argument detailing the prime issues where many feel that local opinion has been and continues to be ignored.
The crie de coeur this time by the groups that have signed the letter centres on the lack of local input at a time when Scotland is supposed to be moving into a new local democratic age of "community empowerment". To many things are as bad as the ever were with organisations from outwith Nairn still making our decisions for us.
The joint letter finishes:
"There is a common thread in all these issues: that the input of local community groups is blocked, excluded, or ignored. We therefore seek a positive assurance that this will change, and that current and future decisions on the planning, development, provision of facilities and delivery of services will be led by the community's own priorities, and that local groups will be enabled and encouraged to participate fully in the decisions.
This letter is copied to the Minister(s) responsible, to our local MSP, and to relevant public agencies. We would would welcome a response from all which provides that reassurance, and sets out in detail how our concerns will be addressed."