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.