In the wake of earlier Gurn reports about the latest proposals for housing on the Sandown Common Good land, the readers in Gurnshire might be interested to know that some of the more public-spirited members of the community have been monitoring recent developments with a beady eye. And they don't much like what they see. While there is understandable support for the delivery of more housing, the recent proposals raise more questions than answers. Joan Noble has written to the Director of Planning asking why the area identified in the planning application is considerably larger than in any other previous development brief or draft plans. It appears to close off or ignore the other ideas and options for Sandown which were explored earlier. Could one be forgiven for, once again - believing that the decisions on the planning proposals, the choice of developer, and the way in which Nairn's Common Good is managed, are all totally opaque and are being pursued behind closed doors.
So efforts are under way to find out exactly what is going on, the NRCG has submitted a set of very specific questions as an FoI request. This is aimed at getting full clarification of how and why the Council has launched the latest proposal, what the basis was for selecting a developer (HHA) of which they are a part-owner, and whether other options have been considered and discussed openly with the Common Good trustees.
The same set of questions (and a few others) were also submitted to the four local Councillors on the eve of their committee meeting. In an interesting illustration of the Council's approach, the response has come - not from the Committee Chair, or the local Ward Manager - but from the Inverness Ward Manager, David Haas!
So a reply has just been sent back to the official in Inverness, pointing out that his response falls far short of what local people have a right to expect.
Avid Gurn readers might well like to see what kind of further replies the Council sends to these letters. Watch this space......it could get quite interesting!