An NRCG spokesperson told the Gurn:
"The decision to grant planning consent for the Kingsteps site is deeply regrettable. Once again Nairn has had a development-planning decision imposed despite overwhelming local opposition. The consequences will haunt the town for years to come."
And they are extremely critical of the planning officer's report, they go on to claim:
"The planning official's report was flawed, inaccurate, misleading and complacent. Informed discussion – at the site visit and committee – was prevented or cut short. The official report, and the developers' assertions, were inadequately scrutinised."
We were also told:
"The fact that the committee was evenly split (5 votes to 5) demonstrated that members had serious doubts about the merits of the application and the quality of the planning assessment. To have the decision railroaded through by the casting vote of an Inverness Councillor backed by a colleague from Badenoch simply reinforces the impression that Nairn's interests are being overridden by representatives from elsewhere."
Tom Heggie comes in for a blast from NRCG too:
"But the sense of betrayal is most acute in relation to the only other Nairn member with a vote on the committee. Cllr. Heggie owes the community an explanation for his extraordinary failure to speak up for, and reflect the views of, those whom he claims to represent."
The group had more to say:
"As it is, the people of Nairn will pay a lasting and heavy penalty for this ill-judged decision. Traffic congestion, flood risk, environmental disturbance, and pressure on infrastructure, services and amenities will all increase.
The only winners in this lamentable story are Springfield, the developers, who will be able to walk away with even more massive profits; and Councillor Liz MacDonald the landowner, who will become very rich indeed."
Again the theme of local democracy or the lack of it as perceived by NRCG and others in the town raises its head once more, the NRCG said:
"Three years ago the Community Empowerment Act (CEA) gave the people of Scotland the right to determine the needs and priorities of their local place. Had this right been implemented by Highland Council, the outcome of the Kingsteps application may well have been very different and more aligned to the priorities of Nairn.
Nairn was stitched up and the only way to stop this happening again, and it will, is for Highland Council to implement the Community Empowerment Act within the spirit and intent it was legislated and not some watered down and restrictive version drawn up by officers of the Council.
Nairn is more than capable of making its own decisions and when it did so it thrived."