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: