Friday, November 30, 2018

"How would community level democracy work?" Podcast discussion from Common Space - very topical for Nairn's situation?

Those regular readers who pay particular attention to the democratic deficit that Nairn has suffered for some time in the local government sphere may wish to pay a little attention to the podcast below, where CommonSpace editor Ben Wray speaks to Common Weal head of policy & research Dr Craig Dalzell about the think-tank's new paper on restructuring local democracy titled 'Development Councils - A Proposal For A New System Of Local Democracy In Scotland'.

The full report can be found here. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Petition to keep Lovat Lodge open

There is a petition on calling on the Trustees of Lovat Lodge to keep the facility open. Stephanie Pottinger who started the petition states on the petition's webpage:

"My name is Stefanie and I’m a Social Care Worker. I have stayed at Lovat Lodge twice accompanying adults with physical and/or learning disabilities. I believe there is no other place like this, where the staff and facilities are so brilliant. For this to close without attempting to save it would be very sad indeed."

Scotlands Towns Design Competition...and the winner is Team Hamish!

A great boost for Nairn with the fantastic result for Team Hamish. 

Sam Hey of #TeamHamish stated of the result: "We are absolutely delighted to have received the most public votes. This is such an honour, particularly when we see the high quality and thought that has gone into the development of the other shortlisted ideas. 

When we established #TeamHamish, we had two principle aims: to create a legacy for our son who’s life was cut tragically short; and to create places and spaces that could be enjoyed by the Community of Nairn who have supported us with so much love throughout Hamish’s journey. 

As our ideas developed, it soon became evident from the way that #TeamHamish was embraced that we had the opportunity to make a really positive impact on people’s lives from a truly devastating situation. 

Winning the Scotland’s Towns Partnership FutureTown Design Competition through a public vote has really bolstered our confidence and allowed us to take another step towards making our ideas a reality and achieve our goal of creating wonderful places and spaces for the benefit of the Nairn’s Community and its visitors".  More from the Scotland's Towns press release here. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

10 great things about Nairn and top ten concerns in 2018 for Nairn Community - River CC document sent to the new Highland CEO prior to her visit tomorrow

The Gurn understands that the leaflet below should now be in the inbox of the new Highland CEO Donna Manson - for her to read before she sets off for her visit to Nairn tomorrow. She will be with Members of the budget team will be at Nairn Community Centre between 6 and 7pm on Wednesday 28 November for a public drop in session.  

Worth making a cuppa and having a wee read. If you are unable to read the images below you can see a full size copy of  the document here. 

A big mistake for Nairn BID to elect someone who supports parking charges in Nairn onto their board?

Here at the Gurn we think Cllr Peter Sagger's membership of the Nairn BID board makes it harder for that organisation to resist Highland Council's plans to install parking meters in the town.

Surely parking charges go directly 100% against Peter's committment to the well-being of the town? More in the BID post below. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

What have the Romans ever done for Auldearn?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Parking Charges danger for Nairn - "Rita Meter Maid" comments and suggests looking at "The hard evidence already available from the real world"

At the River Community Council meeting last Wednesday night Cllr Tom Heggie made reference to parking charges in other areas in Highland, he mentioned Lochaber, Fort Augustus, Aviemore, Inverness and Portree. 

Well one thing that comes to mind immediately is the level of tourists that visit these areas. In some instances possibly hundreds of thousands more each year than we get in Nairn. On this point the Gurn received the following comment from “Rita Meter Maid” which sums up the difference between Nairn and these areas. Here it is: 

“This discussion and report reveal the inadequacies of the Council's policy proposals. The figures from a Council official quoted by Cllr Saggers are theoretical or notional. They represent only a tiny fragment of the financial picture. They are meaningless in relation to Nairn.

The costs and income from the very different existing chargeable car park bays around Highland, from Inverness city centre to Fort William to Aviemore, will vary wildly depending on local circumstances and, crucially, the availability of alternative options. 

The critical requirement is to carry out a rigorous local impact analysis. The Council has to develop realistic models for calculating costs and forecasting revenue (both best and worst case scenarios). The policy proposals also have to identify consequential effects. 

Such prior study is essential. It's not rocket science but it requires serious work. There is no evidence that the Council has done such homework in the three targeted localities. Nairn does not have a serious parking problem at present. Charging will create one. Even if only on Council-owned sites, charges will produce a damaging chain reaction or domino effect since the natural reaction of all drivers, visiting or resident, will be to look for alternatives. So...

- there will be increased pressure on the so-called Common Good parking areas (which will lead to calls for charges there);
- more cars will park in the 'free' customer car parks such as the Co-op, and the High Street banks. This will force them to introduce costly controls, surveillance, clamping or fines (as has happened in Elgin);
- more people will then look to park at the Community Centre, around Viewfield, on the grass at the Links, or anywhere else there is space, causing a management and access headaches for those venues;
- cars will be parked in adjacent side streets and residential roads, adding to hazards and congestion there and leading to extra overheads for warden-enforcement;
- shoppers will eventually give up and opt for (free) parking at Sainsburys and the proposed Home Bargains instead, further damaging local High Street retail. And visitors will just drive on to other destinations.....

So Cllr Heggie is right to call for realism. The hard evidence already available from the real world, in Angus and many other places where charges have been imposed, proves that parking-fee schemes are counterproductive. All these consequences are predictable. All will involve extra costs. All will reduce the mythically optimistic income predictions made by Council officials. All will be seriously damaging to the town and the local economy. 

Our Councillors, the BID, and the local community need to mobilise now to prevent this stupidly misconceived policy from being implemented.” 

Friday, November 23, 2018

It's the season as Nairn turns on the Christmas Lights - video

Russian Consulate tribute to Artic Convoys veteran Bill Shand 30.03.1925 - 11.11.2018

Tom Heggie “I think there is a difference between blackmail and reality.” More notes from River CC parking charges discussions

More from the charges discussions at the Nairn River Community Council meeting in the Community and Arts Centre on Wednesday night.

Cllr Peter Saggers was able to illuminate some of the financial thinking that seems to drive the Glenurquhart Road high heid yins in their odyssey to implement parking charges in Nairn and other towns in the Highlands, he said: “If I can come back on one point that Mandy made. I got figures on Monday from Shane Manning which says that car park bays generate between £300 and £1500 a year and the cost they are showingis , the annual cost for one bay, is £43.”

Shortly after that Tom Heggie said: “I think what we are trying to say is that we're trying to get as many figures clear, the outlines as possible so that they become, so we have something that is clearly defined and can be discussed properly and not go round in circles which is the other issue.”

A little on from that Loreine Thomson made an interevention: “The one comment that I have read in the document* clearly, itis well set out. The only thing that worries me about it is, looking at the local engagement with communities, it says the key message is about the proposals at, what the proposals are and why they are proposed. It doesn't actually say what input the community has to those proposals and just like the Brexit proposals if there are proposals brought forward to us that we don't like we don't want it to be take it or leave it like what we've got with Brexit. Because that's what it seems to me, because it is basically saying what would happen if the proposals cannot be taken forward. The choice is on service reductions and workforce so it is almost blackmail. It's just like the Brexit sort of deal again.”

Tom Heggie replied to Loreine : “I think there is a difference between blackmail and reality.” After a pause for laughter in the room to die down, Tom continued: “The reality is very, very simple if you don't have the money you can't pay the wages.”

More from the River CC meeting when time permits. It was a good gig and lots of important material for Nairn discussed. No doubt there will be plenty in the Leopold Street Thunderer about it all available next Tuesday morning too.

*Highland Council parking policy

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Parking charges: Tom Heggie responds to the questions asked of Peter Saggers by the CCs – River not happy though - 30K figure "gone into the ether now" says Tom

Extensive discussion on parking charges and other topics important to Nairn last night at River Community Council's meeting in the Community and Arts Centre.  Circulated was a copy of a letter written to the CC by Tom Heggie in response to the joint Community Council letter to Peter Saggers. Readers might already have read the text of that letter which is available here (if you haven't get yourself a cuppa and sit down for a few minutes and give it a go). Here is Tom's response.

River CC weren't happy and there was much animated discussion which this observer hopes to relay to readers when time permits. Readers may wish to know that at the moment there are one or two discussions ongoing on these topics in the popular facebook group, Nairn Our Town, Our Views. In the meantime here's a taster from last night.

Secretary of River CC Mandy Lawson said: “We went to some effort to set out a list of questions, we felt, I think, at Community Council level, and it is good to hear that people from the business association had a private meeting about this but we certainly don't feel that we haven't been involved in any shape or form or consultation whatsoever, however you interpret the Community Empowerment Act. Also we asked some questions and none of them as far as I can tell have been answered here. We don't see if this is actually a financially viable thing, never mind whether it is good for Nairn. […] So we just want to see how the sums add up and we haven't seen that yet."

Tom Heggie replied: “I think Chairman, what I've indicated in my response is that the officers will be present and they will be able to give detailed answers and a proper consultation, folk say that we voted for it, there was no councillor that voted against this, the only vote that happened in the Council meeting was that the opposition said that this should be delayed until we found a better way to do things. No one has come up with any better way to do things. I understand that it is controversial, it is difficult. I understand you are saying very specifically Nairn and the thirty thousand pounds was bandied about. That's gone into the ether now, there will be a full consultation question and answer session with the actual officers who hopefully will clarify some of the questions were a wee bit difficult, went through all kinds of things.”

Tom then went on to say that the Common Good car parks were not the province of Highland Council and that was up to any local decision making. If charges went ahead on Common Good land he indicatedthey could only be used for the Common Good and not anything else. More details when time permits

Gurn comment: It isn't over until the meters appear. We have to pursuade Highland Council to pull back from implementing parking charges, they could be catostrophic for the town centre economy. When it comes, Nairn folk should attend the consultation in massive numbers , bring a banner maybe but behave respectfully and peacefully and articulate to Highland Council that it is not on and they have made a huge mistake. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Food and toileteries collection for charity - High Sreet Nairn Saturday 24th November 10.30 - 1.00 pm

WOW! Wee ones at Whinnieknowe - wonderful initiative praised by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Susan Brown

A fantastic, heart-warming video posted on social media by CrossReach today.

When are car parking charges going to start in Nairn? Highland Council say "Discussions are ongoing on the carparks."

Last night Highland Council held an online budget discussion with a few of the high heid yins in temporary digital residence on their facebook page. You can find that Q&A session here. 

This observer asked: "When are car parking charges going to start in Nairn?" The reply came eventually as "Discussions are ongoing on the carparks". 

That is an intriguing reply and perhaps it might be possible to expand on that tonight at the Nairn River Community Council meeting where parking charges will again be discussed and with members of that organisation eager to see if Cllr Peter Sagers has replied to a letter they sent to him some time again with a series of questions linked to parking. You can read the text of NRCC's letter here. 

So just what discussions are ongoing? Asking the Co-op if they can charge for their spaces too? Asking our four councillors if they can use Common Good Land for installation of parking meters? Asking the owner of the Library Car Park a similar question? Asking the BID for their blessing? Asking the traders if the first 10 or 15 minutes or more should be free? Asking themselves if a fiver a day would be a good going rate for long-stay in the town? Discussing with the meter company if they can be installed by Christmas? Perhaps more will be revealed tonight by Tom, Laurie or Peter? 

Tonight's NRCC meeting:
Nairn River Community Council Meeting - Wednesday 21st November, 7pm Nairn Community and Arts Centre - more details here. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Never mind, Christmas is coming

Nigel once again out catching the early morning action.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Fancy a go on the Brexitometer? Available Nairn High Street Saturday 17th November 10.30 am - 1 pm

The Gurn understands that Yes Nairn will have a Brexiometer for sounding out Nairn public opinion on Brexit available 10.30 am to 1 pm in the High Street. You put a sticker on the board to demonstrate your thoughts on various questions. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Questions for Cllr Peter Saggers on parking charges from Nairn Community Councils - they cite 10 reasons why the charges will be bad for Nairn

The Gurn has seen a copy of the questions that Nairn West and Suburban CC and their colleagues at Nairn River CC have submitted to Nairn's Conservative Councillor Peter Saggers. It's a fairly long read but if you have concerns on the effects of parking charges on our community it will certainly be a good idea to make a cup of tea and sit down and read the following document:

Proposed parking charges for Nairn from 2018/19
October 2018
Initial response and questions from Nairn West and Suburban and Nairn River CCs

Dear Councillor Saggers

You asked us at a recent meeting of West and Suburban Community Council to come back to you with our thoughts on a way forward for implementing proposed parking charges for Nairn which were voted through by Highland Council in March without prior community consultation.
We have been told it is a matter of when, and how, not if, these charges are to be imposed on Nairn's residents and economy, as we, apparently, have no choice in the matter.

We would like to reiterate jointly the strong objection of local residents and businesses we represent, as the two Nairn town Community Councils, to the way these proposals are being forced upon our town, with no prior consideration of the informed experience of Nairn residents.

In our view the imposition of parking charges for Nairn is a highly irresponsible and economically unjustified intervention by Highland Council.
Furthermore , it demonstrates a complete failure by Highland Council to consult meaningfully, listen to and reflect the expressed views and needs of local communities, and a total disregard for the key principles of the Community Empowerment Act.

That said, we want as local communities to be involved and engaged in meaningful dialogue with Highland Council, so that we can understand exactly how charging for parking in Nairn, could impact on our local economy, tourist trade, public safety and residents’ quality of life.

We have yet to see a coherent business case and rationale to justify why these parking charges are viable in terms of revenue for Highland, without risk of damage to Nairn's local economy.

Until we have this background information, we are not in a position to make any constructive comments to Highland Council on what should or shouldn’t happen next

We would therefore ask you, as one of our elected members, to source answers to the following questions from Highland Council and bring them back to a future meeting of Nairn Community Councils to allow a properly informed discussion with residents on this issue and what should happen next, if anything.

Q 1 A What locations are already targeted for parking charges in Nairn ? (if any)

When Charges were agreed in principle in March at the Council budget meeting ( without prior public consultation) we were told of 4 parking locations proposed for Nairn.

3 were on Nairn Common Good Land , which means that these could not be put to any use without full consultation with the people of Nairn, as is required under law (CEA).
Q 1 B Have the 3 Nairn Common Good locations been ‘withdrawn’ from any pilot Parking Charges scheme for Nairn? 

Q1 C If so how will that affect revenue projections and annual targets?

The 4th location(LIbrary Car Park) is privately owned with the Council leasing it from the landowner, who is within his rights to raise the rent if the Council starts generating more income from this asset, thus potentially compromising any new parking revenue for the Council.

Q1 D Is the Nairn Library Car Park still proposed for Parking Charges?

Q1 E What are revenue projections for that location and annual targets ?

Can you clarify in the light of the above

Q2 Why is Highland Council still pursuing Parking Charges for Nairn when none of the sites proposed so far may be viable to generate an income stream as they stand?

Q3 Also for reasons stated above, why is Highland Council not first engaging, before implementation, in a full consultation process on possible parking charges with the people of Nairn, as is required under the Community Empowerment Act?

Q4 As regards the ‘Business Case’ for these proposals - we have several questions- as none of the numbers we have seen to date actually 'add up' to a viable scheme to benefit Nairn.

4A Can we see a credible business case for Parking Charges in Nairn, with a 5 year cash flow diagram showing initial costs of implementation , and ongoing running and maintenance costs for future years which indicate a long term viable income for Nairn at a local level. This should factor in projected loss of business through leakage from the local economy, and added costs of policing parking overspill outwith chargeable areas.

4B Can we see quantifiable evidence from other small towns like Nairn, where parking charges have generated sustainable local revenue or benefitted local economies?
(As it stands the only beneficiary here seems to be Highland Council)

Q5 Implementation costs and projected income

5 A Why is £30, 000 the target income to be raised annually in Nairn?
( what this is based on, how many spaces, and from which targeted locations in Nairn? )

5 B How much will it cost to set up parking meters, and other services and infrastructure to collect parking fees for Nairn?

5 C How much will it cost to run and maintain this service annually in Nairn? 

5 D How much will it cost to fund enforcement of parking charges in Nairn ?

5 E Will all these costs be deducted from Nairn’s parking charges revenue?

Q6- Enforcement and Traffic Wardens

6AHow much Traffic Warden time can we expect to see in Nairn in future?

6B Will Traffic Warden costs be paid centrally by Highland Council as part of central payroll or will they also be charged in future to Nairn’s Community Services budget?

We strongly object as Community Councils to any shortfall in parking revenue being docked from Nairn’s Community Services budget - but adding new enforcement costs would add insult to injury by expecting local residents and visitors, who choose to park here to use Nairn amenities, to pay to be further penalised and in effect punished for that choice.

We note upcoming consultation on traffic enforcement for Nairn in October

We believe that these new measures though long awaited to tackle current parking infringements in Nairn, will be used in conjunction with proposed new parking charges by Highland Council to draw more revenue out of Nairn into central Highland budget. Charging to park will cause significant economic and social damage locally -in terms of loss of business for our High Street shops and local businesses, accessibility issues for the less mobile, and negative messages to visitors. This measure will cost Nairn much more than a few parking fees

Looked at holistically at the Nairn locality level, the resulting cost in lost business income to the town’s fragile and interlinked local economy is likely to be many times the £30,000 revenue income targeted by Highland Council in parking fees.

The Association of Nairn Businesses, Visit Nairn and Community Councils told our elected members this, loud and clear, before March’s regrettable and possibly illegal budget decision

There is clearly no business case for investing significant sums of public money up front in a centrally driven, unproven scheme, in the face of a high level of informed local business and community opposition, to generate a mere £30,000 revenue for Highland Council.

This is a tiny sum in the context of Highland’s massive overdraft and potentially 6 figure sums of Developer Contributions currently unaccounted for Nairn’s Lochloy development, which have been a matter of concern recently at local Community Council meetings.
We are told by Highland Council that their new Parking Policy is an example of ‘localisation’, giving local communities more local control to generate funds and target spending on local needs. It certainly is not. The whole scheme has been contrived by officers at Glenurquhart Road HQ without any input invited from Nairn, and appears designed expressly to disempower local communities, not to empower them.

Q7 - The Bigger Economic Picture

Has any prior scoping work been done at a Highland level to quantify and project how local parking charges will benefit and not be detrimental to local economies?

If not why not ?

We expect the economic impact of parking charges in Nairn to be negative from Day One due to the combination of significant upfront and running costs and long term damage to local businesses and the tourist economy.

Put simply, this is a bad policy. Doing nothing is always less damaging than spending public funds in order to lose money.

Undermining Our Community Services Budget

We have been told that if local parking revenue targets of £30,000 to be imposed by Highland Council in Year One are not met that any shortfall will be deducted from Nairn Community Services budget .

This is neither acceptable or reasonable for our community. Some have called it ‘blackmail’
We need reassurance as Nairn residents that any upfront investment by Highland Council in implementing parking charges will not be clawed back in cuts to Nairn’s public amenities

Community Services looks after roads, drains, grounds maintenance of green spaces,cleansing, waste management etc: all services essential to sustain local business and Nain’s vital tourist economy. We have already seen service cuts ( eg reduced frequency of drain clearing) result in additional one off costs for emergency repairs, clean ups and other infrastructure problems. More cuts mean more such costs, plus damage to the tourist economy through loss of local amenities and public health and safety hazards, eg overflowing drains, uncollected waste, blocked routes.

Q 8 Can we see the last 3 complete financial years history of disaggregated spend on Community Services for Nairn, for each heading, including any reductions in service and emergency repairs required?

Q9 To help us understand the wider context for Nairn and Nairnshire can you also supply the following disaggregated figures for the last 3 financial years total revenue generated for Highland Council budget by Nairn and Nairnshire total spend on Nairn and Nairnshire by Highland Council % share of Scottish Government block grant for Highland, which is spent on Nairn and Nairnshire

In summary
We feel that the impact of parking charges will be entirely detrimental to Nairn

1 It will give Nairn the wrong message as a tourist town (‘come to Nairn and be pursued by Traffic Wardens’)
2 It will give the wrong message to locals (‘pay if you want to shop close to home’ )
3 It will put people off choosing to shop in, live in and visit Nairn . Many will go elsewhere
4 Local shops and businesses with tight margins will go out of business or move away
5 We will see more public nuisance and additional traffic congestion in our residential streets (causing additional policing and public costs) as people park there to avoid chargeable parking
6 The revenue target is not realistic, so no spending of public funds to implement the scheme has yet been justified. We need to see a viable and transparent business case
7 Local amenities and the tourist economy will be undermined if Community Services budgets are compromised
8 The whole scheme is being imposed with no respect for local views, and experience
9 Nairn is being blackmailed to implement parking charges or lose community services
10 This approach has damaged local confidence in Highland Council and our Councillors
Dick Youngson - Chair Nairn West and Suburban Community Council
Tommy Hogg - Chair Nairn River Community Council

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Meanwhile protests against parking charges in Angus towns - should Nairn businesses and community councils pay attention and organise similar?

In Angus parking charges were introduced into the Council area's towns at the start of this month. Businesses and residents there haven't taken it lying down though and there has been massive protest including a mass drive to the Council Headquarters last Thursday. 

As a result of that protest the demonstrators have secured a meeting with the Council. They state on their page:

"We are happy to inform you we have secured a meeting with Angus Council on Monday 12th November 2018. We will be meeting to discuss the parking restrictions and requesting Angus Council to take the views of the community seriously and start a dialogue so we can move forward on this issue. There will be representatives from other Angus towns and also local media present at the meeting at our request. We will not stop until this policy is changed.

It would help if you could feed any information or comments you have that you wish us to put forward through this forum or on the Angus Parking Potest page before 1pm on Monday. We will endeavour to collate this information before the meeting. It would also be good if town centre businesses can log footfall and takings from 1st November and let us know if the parking restrictions have impacted on daily business. We don't need financial business information just general percentage of any losses or reduced income from the start of the charges."

Real immediate evidence of a downturn in takings and footfall is being posted on the group's pages such as the following:

"I manage a charity shop in forfar and since the start of the charges been implemented footfall has fallen by 50%. Sales are down by 40% donations from customers are down by 30% this is having a huge impact."  More information here. 

We're told it is a done deal and the parking meters are coming. Well they are not here yet and there is a window of opportunity to get Highland Council to see sense. Here at the Gurn we would urge the Nairn Businesses and their representatives to watch the developing situation in Angus and to demand that Highland Council doesn't make Nairn suffer in the same way. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Local Politician and road safety campaigner seeks answers to length of time car has been abandoned on A96

Many of our readers may have seen the damaged and abandoned car that David Stewart mentions in the press release below. There is actually another one, upturned in the ditch 50 or so yards further along in the Inverness direction. If you are not a regular traveller on this section of road you may be forgiven for thinking that an accident of some kind had just happened, especially when travelling at night. Anyway the press release from the Labour mannie is below:

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has contacted the trunk road operator, Bear Scotland, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abandoned collision damaged silver Vauxhall Corsa lying on the South verge of the A96 Inverness Road near Gollanfield.

David said " I am told that this silver Vauxhall Corsa which has been involved in a collision, has been abandoned on the verge of the A96 Inverness - Nairn Road near Gollanfield for in excess of 10 weeks. All road users travelling this route are well aware of the vehicle. My understanding is that such vehicles could be moved at the time of the collision or shortly thereafter by the emergency services at the owners request. In these circumstances the Police for example would initiate the vehicle recovery scheme and the owner/driver would pay for the recovery. However, at the end of the day it is the owners responsibility to arrange removal of the damaged vehicle and not that of the Police.

" I am aware that this vehicle has been in situ for in excess of 10 weeks and I would have thought that in that time it would be classed as abandoned and it would have been removed by the Operating Company as per guidelines.

"I have today made contact with Bear Scotland to ascertain the reason that this vehicle is being left in situ and at the end of the day I would like them to expedite it's removal from the verge of the A96, as clearly it is unsightly, succumbing to vandalism and giving those resident or visiting the area a bad impression. I understood that bear Scotland could remove the vehicle and claim expenses back from the owner.

Lossie v Nairn 10.11.18 a few bits from the game on video

Nairn certainly came back into scoring form on Saturday. Match report here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

6 am Nairn 11.11.2018 and the pipers play

This morning at 6 am pipers played " The Battle's o'er "at four Nairn Churches as the Armistice 100th year day of remembrance began (St Ninian's, URC, Parish Church and St Columba's)

Picture Donald Matheson

Friday, November 09, 2018

A tale of parking charges recently introduced to small towns elsewhere in Scotland

People react to avoid parking charges and behaviour changes. This social media post from an Angus store explains the situation, parking charges were introduced in Angus towns on the 1st of November.


Here you can see further details of empty car parks and claims of business takings being 50% down. The folk in Angus are not taking it lying down though, they have started regular weekly protests at the local Council HQ.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

How Nairn's Highland Councillors could stop parking charges on the Links, the Maggot and the Harbour

Cllr Peter Saggers has said recently that we have to accept that parking charges are coming to Nairn. Parking charges are coming to Nairn because Peter, Laurie and Tom voted for them when it came to the the minutiae of the last Highland Council Budget.

It would seem that parking charges will come to the Highland Council owned spaces behind the High Street but what about the Library car park which they lease and also the spaces owned by the Co-op? Then there is the land in Nairn presently used for parking which is owned by the Common Good Fund such as the Links, Maggot and Harbour areas.

We believe that Highland Council have a tradition of accepting the will of the four Nairn Councillors when it comes to Nairn Common Good issues: even though the entire 80 Highland Councillors are trustees of the fund.

So we believe that Nairn Councillors should simply say that it is not the will of the people of Nairn for parking charges to be levied on Common Good Lands and as representitives of the community they cannot support the introduction of these charges. Then it is up to Highland Council to accept that or decide if they wish to act like a colonial government and seize complete control of Nairn's Common Good assets. 

Here at the Gurn we consider free parking to be one ot the town's greatest assets, is it soon to be simply cast aside? Will Nairn's Highland Councillors find the courage to resist or will they simply implement the wishes of the Inverness based Highland Council?

Nairn Library Car Park, not the propterty of Highland Council but could they still  install meters?

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Monday, November 05, 2018

Nairn BID Board appointments announced

Chair - Michael Boylan, Co-op
Vice Chair - Peter Gibson, West End Concepts Finance Director - Mike Mitchell, Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Secretary - Peter Saggers, Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau

Board Directors:

John Bochel, Sunny Brae Bed and Breakfast 
Bob Ferenth, Nairn Bowling Club 
Michael Green, Seaview Lodge 
Iain Bruce, Nairn Drama Club (The Little Theatre) 
Anika Schulz, Cawdor House Bed and Breakfast 
Gordon Mair, Sainsburys

Friday, November 02, 2018

“What you have to appreciate is that car parking charges are coming” and then what? Gurn opinion

At the meeting of the Nairn West and Suburban Community Council in the Community Centre on Monday night there was an update on the situation on parking charges. There was mention of a meeting between councillors and officials and BID members and Cllrs are waiting for clarification on points from officials. The implementation of parking charges was delayed until after the BID vote but now it seems things are getting back on track.

Interestingly Tom Heggie mentioned that there was: “a clear differentiation between what belongs to Highland Council and what is Common Good land, so there is a clear distinction and there will have to be different considerations given to each.”

Tom certainly seems to be picking up Council-speak quite well, this observer was left wondering if that meant meters would go on Common Good land too with a cut going to Nairn somehow or would our four Highland Councillors find the courage to say no to that and leave as much of the town free of meters as possible?

In response to details concerning recent correspondence on parking Peter Saggers said: “I'm sorry my request for suggestions was misunderstood, I was looking for what charging structure would meet with approval. What you have to appreciate is that car parking charges are coming. I was looking for suggestions as to what might be acceptable and what might not.”

That's it folks, parking charges are coming. Here at the Gurn we think it is a way of playing Russian Roulette with the town centre economy but with perhaps four or five bullets in the chamber rather than one. We hope we are wrong but we believe parking charges will have a very bad impact. The three councillors who voted for parking charges to come to Nairn in the Highland Council budget earlier this year can dress it up any way they like but these charges are being imposed against the will of the community by an Inverness based Council.

There was mention too that it is all meant to raise £30k in the first year. Well that will be a figure that we doubt will ever decrease but come on – all that risk for just £30k? All that displacement of vehicles looking for free parking in presently trouble free side streets and other areas in the town centre? More yellow lines, more restrictions and residents permits will undoubtedly have to follow as we reach a truly false dawn of localism with the Highland Council's lowest common denominator, parking charges ideology imposed upon us.

A cash-strapped Council will do it's best to milk Nairn for every penny in an effort to make ends meet. Another £69 million in cuts are predicted and no doubt we will get our fair share of that pain. We find the suggestion that there should be discussion on what scale of parking charges should be implemented quite remarkable, the Cllrs who voted for this should have the courage of their convictions and implement it without all this waffle. It's probably all on a piece of paper in Glenurquhart Road anyway.

Happy days! It is tragic, no matter who you vote for, they always seem to let you down.