Friday, December 28, 2018

Cromarty Rising says a big thank you!

Cromarty Rising have issued the following statement:

Cromarty Rising wishes to say a BIG thank you to all who gave their support, attended public meetings, stood side-by-side, held banners, shared knowledge and correspondence, all of which contributed to the success of the recent campaign to prevent ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.

Supporters grew to include master mariners, an under-water acoustics specialist and an astonishing number of PhDs, Professors of Law and academics. Thank you to everyone who gave donations and thanks to Cromarty & District Community Council for holding those funds and providing fund management. We must also record our thanks to major financial backers, their presence in the background brought confidence and strength (and still does).

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 as a significant factor in the success of the campaign. The knowledge gained provided invaluable insight, allowed analysis and went on to shape both legal and campaign strategies.

Cromarty Rising demonstrating at the Scottish Parliament in January 2017
Thank you to Bindmans LLP, our London based solicitors renowned for being at the cutting edge of legal developments and challenges. With Bindmans expertise Cromarty Rising was able to mount a serious challenge in opposing the award of an STS licence inside the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation.

We owe an enormous debt to Mr Ian Cowan of Highland Environmental Law. His contribution in our challenges to the Scottish Government, the Public Petitions Committee and our formal complaint to the EU Commission has been invaluable. His personal commitment and generosity to community representation has been exemplary in protecting our natural environment.

Thanks also to Scotland’s major wildlife protectors RSPB, WDC, Scottish Wildlife Trust, National Trust for Scotland etc. and a special mention for Marine Connection in Moray.

A big thank you too for the support of 38 Degrees Scotland which has become such an important part of expressing the democratic voice of communities in today’s vast political landscape. 

We must thank members of the press from many different newspapers, who stuck with us and followed developments with genuine interest.

Our campaign against ship-to-ship crude oil transfers taking place inside a Special Area of Conservation has succeeded, we have no doubt that this was:

The Wrong Plan, In The Wrong Place.

With regards from Cromarty Rising

Thursday, December 27, 2018

“Brògan-fiodha dealanach”, fiolm mu dheidhinn an “Ginealachd Diwan”

Beagan Gàidhlig an-diugh - a bit of Gaelic today.

“Brògan-fiodha dealanach”, fiolm mu dheidhinn an “ Ginealachd Diwan” le Soazig Daniellou, ag innse sgeulachd de bhuidheann òigridh o Phenn-ar-Bed a tuath sa Bhreatainn Bhig. Nuair a bha roc agus pop a' spaghadh air feadh an t-saoghal, le Beurla na chois, aig deireadh na seasgadan agus toisich na seachdadan chuir iad romhpa sùil a thoirt air a' chultair aca-fhein. Chuir iad buidheann thèatair radaigeachd air dòigh, agus thug sinn cothrom dhaibh a bith beò ann an àrainneachd Bhreatnais.

A bharrachd air sin bha gaoth a 'Chèitein 68 a' seideadh tro iomadh dachaigh, ag adhbhrachadh sgaradh eadar na ginealaichean

Ma tha beagan Frangais no Breatnais agad saoilidh mi gum bi am fiolm seo uabhasach fhèin inntinneachd. Faodaidh tu a' coimhead air an seo.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nairn Community Fire Brigade complete a fortnight's fund-raising for charity in the High Street today

Individual images here.  The firefighters have raised an amazing £11,668.98 - more details here.

Real spirit of Christmas hits Nairn High Street

This morning a number of children's coats have appeared tied to lampposts in the High Street. They were placed there by someone who wishes to see them go to children who need them this Christmas. The notes on each of them are self-explanatory and one is pictured below.

The reaction on Nairn's social media has been instant and extremely supportive of this initiative.  There has been some suggestions that, if you badly need clothing for your family, then going to charity shops can be as expensive as going to a shop such as Primark.  This observer is glad to see charity shops filling spaces in the High Street, they provide employment and training but they have become more and more expensive as the years have gone by. And if you have little or no money to feed or clothe your bairns then there is no point in going into any sort of shop is there?  

As a community can we find new or resurrect old ways of getting clothes and other items to people that need them?  

Friday, December 21, 2018

Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ùr (gun cìs-parcaidh) nuair a thig i!

Merry Christmas and a parking charges free New Year when it comes! Have a good one Gurnshire!

Grian-stad a' Gheamhraidh sona duibh uile!

Happy Solstice everyone

"Nairn yellow jackets unravel" There's Nairn News and then there's "The Spin"

More here.

Developers being allowed to build too many larger size up-market homes in Nairn? Young, single folk being ignored?

Readers may be interested in a couple of slides show at a presentation in the Community Centre last Friday by the Community Councils and other groups to the new Highland Council Chief Executive Donna Manson. Readers can view the complete presentation here. 

So there is the assertion that the Highland Council Development plan housing projections are heavily overestimated. However, let us concern ourselves here with the figures on the Housing waiting list. A remarkable 64% of the folk on that list want one-bedroom accommodation.  We would suspect that the majority of them are young people wanting to get their first home perhaps? It shows that we are not catering adequately for a large section of the population. Just look at the homes being built up at Lochloy - it doesn't look like there's 64% of single accommodation being built up there does it? 

Nairn obviously needs more of this type of housing. Should planners be doing more to ensure private developers reflect this or does it have to be left almost entirely to the public sector and if so how can we get going on that quickly in Nairn? 

Recently the Highland Housing Alliance showed an interest in Sandown.  The problem here is that, although part of the Sandown field is zoned for housing as a result of a charrette plan gathering dust on a shelf in the Courthouse somewhere (a quicker start to housing on Sandown had been envisaged back in 2012), the Highland Council has a toxic history with the community over its administration of the Common Good Land that is Sandown. The Council also has an interest in the HHA and is also the planning authority - the overlapping interests there have the potential once again to raise public concern. Another argument for putting the Common Good Fund back where it belongs under the control of the people of Nairn, rather than Highland Council? 

Anyway, Drew Hendry praised the HHA the other day, here's a short video he put on twitter. 

More about the Highland Housing Alliance here. Looking towards 2019 however, would the  most effective answer be for Nairn to have its own Housing Association and get building on Sandown for those in our community most in need of housing, 64% of whom need single-person's accommodation? We wouldn't be at the mercy of what Highland Council and developers want that way - the community could decide what is best. An impossible dream or something that should be possible in this new era of community empowerment and localism (let's hope too that 2019 is the year that these concepts finally hit town)? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Parking charges: £30,000 “goes into the ether” and comes back as £150,000

We would urge our readers to get hold of this week's copy of the Leopold Street Thunderer which has obtained the nitty gritty of what Highland Council think they can make out of Nairn's car parks. Some interesting figures there about what they want to charge.
Details of proposed parking charges in this weeks Nairnshire

There had been for some time a figure of thirty thousand pounds bandied about in relation to what Highland Council thought they would make out of meters in Nairn. Regular readers may remember our report of what Cllr Tom Heggie had to say at a River Community Council meeting in November: 

“ 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.” Further details of what Tom had to say here. 

Well it looks like that figure has landed back down out of the ether having been multiplied by five. Here at the Gurn we would once again suggest that readers look through the looking glass to the parallel universe of the Angus Towns where local folk have voted with their accelerators, avoiding the parking charges and heading elsewhere, changing their shopping habits overnight. In these exponentially changing times for retail businesses, Angus provides real time evidence of how local authority money-making projections from parking charges turn to mush as local people decide en masse to stop using car parks. 

In terms of figures that Councillors have to go on in making decisions we would refer our readers to a recent report in the Inverness Courier which highlights criticisms of budgetary matters that are presented to Councillors. Here is a quote from the article: 

"...not providing councillors with the full range of budget detail seen by council managers means a true financial picture is not available to elected members in time for any issues to be properly addressed." 

We would invite our readers to view this disturbing piece of news here: “Council's budget approach slammed in new audit.” 

But back to the topic in hand - don't let it happen here folks, get organised and resist, the Nairn BID have taken a lead in this, please support them in their efforts.

So we conclude again tonight with more news from the Angus parallel universe and a letter that a woman feels compelled to write to her local Conservative Councillor after 6 weeks of parking charges in Kirriemuir. 

“I just sent this email to Mr Ronnie Proctor, i felt the need to do something. 

Dear Ronnie, 

Peter and I have just come back from town. We saw not many people in the streets, but the cars were going round and round looking for a 30 minutes slot. The shops were empty. Several owners told us that their business is suffering badly as regular clients are staying away. 

We had a coffee in Annie Mays just after 2.30, the place was empty. It is so sad to see that the bustling town is devoid of people since the parking meters came in use. She decided to close at 3 o'clock.

Most coffee places in Kirrie are second homes for the elderly folk. People used to come out, in the knowledge their friends would be there to meet them for a coffee and a chat. For many the only human contact of the day. 

I also noticed that people who would love to come to a funeral to say goodbye to a friend or acquaintance, reluctantly stay at home as the parking is too troublesome. 

I don't know about you, but walking through our lovely little town, I feel the heart has been taken out. 
I do urge you, as our senior councilor, to discuss this with the other democratically elected members of the council. I don't think it is too late to save the special character of Kirrie but urgent action is required. It is not my place nor my intention to tell you how to do your important job. Also, in this case, I don't presume to tell you what has to be done. I do know however that a compromise must be possible. 

Kind regards,” 

2019 will be a tough year anyway folks, don't let Highland Council make it even worse by playing Russian Roulette with the town centre economy. 

"A Taste of Nairn" - a food and drink festival for Spring 2019

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Car parking charges - another glimmer of hope as Tom Heggie agrees to meeting with Nairn BID

Readers may wish to read about the remarkable meeting that took place in the Community Centre in Friday. There's hope that the poisoned relationship between Nairn and Highland Council can be repaired and given a new start. Obviously the situation with parking charges features hugely as an obstacle to any new path that can be forged. But, anyway, another chink of light perhaps? 

Donna Manson, new Highland Council Chief Executive visits Nairn, wants to repair the the relationship between us and Highland Council, brings hope, raises expectations – but the 'P' word still hovers over everything

A remarkable meeting in the Community Centre on Friday afternoon as the new Chief Executive of Highland Council, Donna Manson, made good her promise to return to Nairn to find out more about issues raised with her in advance of one of her budget consultations in the town. She had received a paper from the town's community councils listing both ten good things about Nairn and ten issues that have to be addressed – details of that document here. Having made the effort to come, listen, and commit to changing the Council's approach and to collaborate to address local concerns and aspirations, Donna Manson has raised expectations and revived a sense of optimism. This makes it all the more important to see some real results in terms of decisions and action 

She listened to a generally positive presentation, led by Alastair Noble and Mandy Lawson from the
Donna Manson, Chief Executive, Highland Council
CCs, they didn't shy away from outlining some of the problems that have poisoned the relationship between Nairn and Highland Council in recent years though. There were numerous speakers that briefly expanded on a number of topics. NICE, the BID, Team Hamish, Nairn Health Care, the Harbour Working Group and others gave a detailed explanation of their worries and their hopes for a positive future for Nairn. A feeling that Nairn is ready to go and get working on so many projects was pervasive and a culture change towards the Council being more inclined to listen to Nairn and to offer more help was needed. There was a wish expressed for the many consultations to have meaningful outcomes with contributions genuinely taken into account. Readers can view a copy of the slideshow here - a remarkable account of how so many volunteers in the town wish to find new ways to work together productively as a local community to get things right for Nairn and Nairnshire.

It was refreshing to see her recognition that there were problems and her determination to repair the badly damaged relationship, she even went so far as to say that external help may be needed to achieve change. She wants everyone to work together. She mentioned the challenging climate that her organisation faced as a background to all it tries to do but she genuinely wants things to improve and wishes to act as a catalyst for that. It was remarkably refreshing and folk went away impressed and hopeful. Donna promises to come back with responses to the questions asked at the meeting and also is going to make another visit soon to discuss things further with Team Hamish. 

The elephant in the room though is parking charges. And the Councillor with her, Alastair MacKinnon, the budget convener, made his apologies over the way the parking issue had been handled so far and seemed to offer the slightest glimmer of hope that an alternative way may be found (without parking charges) in budgetary terms but with something else locally having to suffer. 

We really are at a tipping point. A new relationship and all the positivity that entails or a new irreparable level of toxicity injected by parking charges, souring the atmosphere in terms of Council v Nairn much more severely than anything we've seen in the past. Just look at what the immediate economic impact of charges has done to the Angus towns, with businesses being damaged and employees being paid off and all the misery that entails. 

To be specific: first, if a parking regime does come in it will create a problem where none exists at the moment, it will stuff up access not only to the town centre but it will have knock on effects for Viewfield, the Links, the Community Centre, the harbour and elsewhere which will make nice new Team Hamish-style schemes much less accessible. It will wreck the viability of what remains of the High Street. It will deter tourist visitors and passing trade. The imposition of a parking regime, with or without modifications, will send a disturbing signal that the Council is not listening, or does not care. The town, like the BID, will be looking to our elected Councillors to take effective action to prevent serious damage being done to the town's economy 

In the frightening parallel universe that is being played out in the Angus towns, after only six weeks of parking charges, witness this video detailing economic impact in Montrose and a friend in Kirriemuir tells this observer : "two cafes are 50% down in trade and another cafe down 40%. two staff let go. one of the cafes has decided to shut for the whole of January and will see what happens in February." Real time victims of parking charges foisted on a small town 

Here at the Gurn we wish Donna Manson all the best and we hope that Highland Council finds a way to back off from implementing parking charges in Nairn. Fingers crossed for positive outcomes.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sheena Baker asks anyone receiving an e-mail from her re iTunes not to respond - it's a scam after her e-mail was accessed

Sheena urges anyone who receives a e-mail from her account not to respond to it as it will have a link taking you to a page where you will be at the mercy of scammers. Stay safe out there folks, some of the scamming shite looks pretty good these days. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Green Hive awarded Big Lottery Funding

Nairn’s environment charity has been successful in attracting a substantial two year grant from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) to start in January 2019.

This grant will enable Green Hive to expand the volunteer projects and activities it runs and through piloting social enterprise introduce regular volunteering and work experience opportunities in Nairn.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Nairn River Enterprise’s Green Hive project has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Green Hive every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”

Green Hive Chair Simon Noble said “This grant gives us a fantastic opportunity to consolidate the achievements of the past 2 years. We’ll be able to build on the partnerships we’ve forged with the schools, local organisations like the Allotments Society, Men’s Shed and WASPs Studios, and we’ll be able to organise so many more opportunities for people to volunteer and later on offer work placements and skills training.”

Green Hive’s success will make a difference in Nairn with public events being held in Viewfield and Riverside Park, opportunities for local residents to learn skills in food growing, sewing and up-cycling, and employment being created in the area.

This new funding from the BLF will enable Green Hive to expand its development officer’s role to support, coordinate and build our projects with two new staff roles being created later this year. It will go towards the cost of renting Green Hive’s hub space in the Old Links School; public events, maintenance and resources for the Viewfield community orchard; food, refreshments and training for volunteers; as well as the set up of our Green Enterprise.

Green Enterprise will take waste materials and create usable useful products to sell in our community, such as growing mushrooms from used coffee grounds. Our enterprise project will adopt a social enterprise model meaning that any profit generated will be used to fund charitable projects in Nairn.

Including this grant from the BLF, over the last two years Green Hive has enjoyed support from Scottish Government’s Voluntary Action Fund, The Davidson Trust, The Highland Council, The Pebble Trust, Foundation Scotland, Tescos Bags of Help and The Robertson Trust. This grant from the lottery will cement the progress they have assisted.

Green Hive is an organisation owned and managed by community volunteers. Our mission is to create more opportunities for the people of Nairn through action to protect and conserve our environment. We want to celebrate Nairn’s wonderful natural landscape and make Nairn a place where we are all proud to live. Green Hive coordinates the Viewfield Community Orchard and composting project, Bumblebags sewing group, community litter picks and ‘Art is Rubbish’ competition.

Find out more about Green Hive: follow us on facebook @NairnsGreenHive,,, 07453912697

Group photo taken at the Apple Day event 21st Oct 2018

Gill Hay picking litter at the beach and riverside clean up 30th September 2018

Volunteer sewing a Bumblebag

Alastair Simmons digging beds at the Viewfield Community Orchard

Nairn BID board confirm that they are fundamently opposed to the introduction of parking charges in Nairn

Press release from the BID:

Following a meeting of the Nairn BID Board of Directors in relation to the proposed car parking charges to be introduced to Nairn during 2019, the Board can confirm that they are fundamentally opposed to the introduction of parking charges in Nairn. We have requested that our Ward Councillors enter into a joint review of the proposal in order to review all options and to propose alternatives to car parking charges in the town.

The Board are seriously concerned about the impact that parking charges will have on the town, its local businesses and residents. A request has been put to the town’s ward councillors and we await their formal response. 

Nairn BID chair Michael Boylan said "We've recently had an admission and apology from Highland Council budget leader Councillor Mackinnon for the way in which the 2018/19 budget was led by the administration given that there was no real consultation and, in my opinion, no thought through consideration of the impact that parking charges would have locally. Fewer people coming into town means fewer jobs and higher welfare costs at a time when Nairn is coming together to ensure a prosperous future. At a recent public meeting, the newly appointed Highland Council Chief Executive stated that it is for local members to come up with solutions. We will engage with local members to ensure they find an alternative solution and hope they are open to this.”

Highland Council town health check - Nairn looking mid-table?

The Press and Journal reports: "A “health check” on the vibrancy of Highland towns and Inverness city centre has discovered stark contrasts in fortunes across the region.

The top locations were found to be Fort William, given 44 marks out of 50, and Alness, with 41 points.
Bottom of the “report card” were Portree on Skye, with 26, and Wick in Caithness, with 27."

Nairn comes in at 37 so we sort of look to be mid-table.  The Highland Council say in a press release: 

"The Highland Council has today announced significant progress in the quality of collection and reporting on the performance of it’s town centres through the release of new Town Centre Health Check “Story Maps”. 

Town Centre Health Checks are a means of assessing the strength, vitality and performance of town centres over time. The results of health check exercises are used to formulate strategies for improvements and inform policy documents.

Data was gathered in summer 2018 with fifteen town centres being assessed. Each town centre was scored against ten indicators of health including ease of movement and night time economy. Unit vacancies were recorded along with classifications of premises to allow analysis of long term trends and identify availability of services across different locations."

The Council produced story maps which you can read here.  There is information across the categories that the Council use and pie charts etc.   Here's some of the info:

"Nairn presented a very mixed picture when assessed. Its vacancy rate was higher than the Highland town centre average, yet it also provided a substantial retail offering and a number of key services. Several negative issues presented themselves. Cycling facilities were lacking, its built environment was poorly maintained in places and it had a large and prominent vacant site. It lacked much in the way of greenery, had little in terms of public art and appeared to have no real night time economy. "
In these troubled times for High Streets, it is perhaps interesting to read their assessment of our retail facilities:

"Nairn - Retail Audit
Send keyboard focus to media

Base Retail Audit

The Highland-wide retail audit was undertaken in order to establish the numbers and typology of retail units and uses within the chosen town centres. 

The survey identified 104 retail/business units in Nairn, of which:
24 were Comparison Retail 
22 were Leisure Services
17 were Retail Services
15 were Vacant
13 were Financial, Business & Property
7 were Convenience Retail
4 were Other Non-Retail Uses
1 was Accommodation
1 was Unknown"

"Independent/Local & National Retailer Mix

The presence of independent and local retailers in a town centre area is considered to be a sign of retail strength. Profits from independents usually stay within the local area and the shops often offer a unique and varied retail experience. A significant number of national retailers can, on the other hand, suggest that a town centre is a market success and worthy of attracting businesses based further afield. The percentage of local/independent retailers in Nairn was 70.96%, slightly below the Highland town centre average of 73.64% recorded in the retail audit."

They also say "The percentage of vacant units in Nairn was 14.42%, slightly above the Highland town centre average of 9.7%."

Well worth making a cuppa and heading for the story map created by Highland Council. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Nairn next year when the parking charges kick in?

How parking charges are influencing the local economy in the small towns of Angus after one month of the charges imposed by the local council. 

Highland Council parking charges 410K pain for 27K gain?

Here at the Gurn we were very interested to see that the Angus Businesses folk who are at their wits' end with the parking charges imposed upon them by the local Council since the 1st of November (see previous Gurn article here) had published information containg a list of how Councils that have Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in place were getting on.

The table below is available in a Transport Scotland PDF documenet here.  A-reir Comhdhail na h-Alba:

"A local authority operating a DPE regime must keep an account of their income and expenditure in respect of designated parking places and additional parking charges, in the permitted and special parking areas."

And so here's the table 

So fellow Gurnites, Highland Council had 648K of expenditure after 675K coming in from fines and pay and display etc. That left 27K in the pot to go to pay for repair of potholes and other transport related things? 

Do you work for Highland Council? Are you a councillor? It would be great to know an exact breakdown of how the 648K was spent. Please drop us a line here at the Gurn.

Update: We would wish to draw readers attention to the following twitter conversation with Cllr Ben Thomson (Lochaber). He tells us that that total Highland Council parking income is around £1.5m and not everything is in that table. To see the entire conversation click on the tweets to go to the relevant twitter thread.

How parking charges damage small town High Streets - real time evidence emerging from Angus after one month of parking charges.

On the 1st of November Angus Council started parking charges in Arbroath, Montrose, Brechin, Forfar and Kerriemuir. The real time evidence that ABRA (Angus Business and Reatail Association) is amassing is a stark warning for Nairn if Highland Council go ahead and implement parking charges here.

In 2019 Nairn town centre businesses will be hit with a double whammy too as Sainsbury's will effectively become a retail park, with another store next door and  a McDonalds too complete with free parking for all. Nothing against other businesses up there  folks but hey let's have a parking level playing field for the folks in the High Street please! Remember that the organisation that gave planning permission for that development will also be the one that puts in parking charges to the town centre - more joined up thinking from Highland Council?

There is evidence of a drop in takings (83% of respondents to the survey report a drop in trade and nine businesses had paid stoff off already), reduced hours of business opening and staff lay-offs. See more details in the image below. The businesses affected are fighting a spirited campaign to get the parking meters taken away but, so far, it looks like Angus Council are not shifting from their strategy. More indications that Nairn business have to become more proactive and come out fighting now as it is a lot harder to stop the meters once they are in. More details of the ABRA campaign against parking charges on their Facebook page here. 

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Common Good Fund notes from the Borders that may be of interest to the many serious students of these matters in Nairn

We've got a link for you folks, it isn't a long read when you get there but it centres on what sort of things go in a register of assets from the historical standpoint. Here it is. 

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Team Hamish "saddened that precious common good funds have been spent undertaking yet further consultations..."

Readers may have seen the previous article this week, available here: "Explosion of support for Team Hamish on popular Nairn social media pages as public anger grows towards Highland Council over their attitude to the award winning organisation."  The Gurn had understood that Team Hamish had been concerned for some time about the attitude of Highland Council towards their project and finally went public with their frustrations. 

Today the Highland Council published a press release in connection with their own Links consultation which they have budgeted 15K of Nairn Common Good Fund cash for. In the light of recent developments the Gurn asked Team Hamish for comment on today's press release from Highland Council. They told us:

"We are saddened that precious common good funds have been spent undertaking yet further consultations when the community has made their preferences clear on a number of previous occasions.

Additionally we believe the community would have welcomed transparency and open dialogue regarding the formal procedures to be followed in making such critical decisions when enhancing the town."

Here is the Highland Council press release from earlier today:

Another successful consultation event was held at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre on Saturday 3rd December where it was confirmed that the draft outline plan put forward at the first event held at the Community Centre in November met with broad approval, as did the proposed projects to deliver the plan. 

Nick Wright, consultant, said: “Throughout, this has been a positive process with very good levels of community engagement and lots of consensus about future priorities for the Links, keeping the natural character whilst updating what the Links has to offer, with an emphasis on local organisations working collaboratively with the Council. Almost everyone who came to the event was comfortable with the projects put forward, and with the suggestions of who would be involved from the community and the proposed next steps to start delivering the projects."

What has emerged, as well as strong support for improving the area around the Paddling Pool and James Cafe in collaboration with all interested parties, is a widespread desire for new facilities to blend in with the natural setting of the Links. Another main priority is improving accessibility across the Links and particularly to the beach.

The consultation is moving into the concluding phase and the final report is now being prepared. The Council intends to set up a meeting in January with key potential delivery partners who have emerged from the consultation process to enable early action to agree delivery on the ground on a project by project basis. The clear message from the local community is to ‘make things happen’.

Area Chair Councillor Tom Heggie said: “On behalf of the Nairnshire Councillors I would like to thank the people of Nairn for their enthusiasm and input to the consultation process. I have received several very positive reports from groups who were consulted and they have remarked on how carefully the consultant listened to them. We are now awaiting his draft set of proposals which will be discussed with a range of stakeholders. This will allow the final proposals to be ratified at the March meeting of the Nairnshire Committee.”

Contact the Elderly - Nairn tea parties to combat lonliness

Guests and volunteers from a group aimed at overcoming loneliness marked a new beginning with a special event at Nairn’s Golf View Hotel.

Contact the Elderly, which combats social isolation among older people through tea parties, usually meets at a local volunteer’s home. But last weekend the charity celebrated the re-launch of the Nairn group with a luxury afternoon tea at the hotel – and issued an invitation to others in need of company to join them.

The charity organises monthly, free tea parties all over Scotland for older people who live alone and don’t have the chance to get out and about much and socialise. Transport is provided by volunteer drivers who chauffeur guests door-to-door.

The Nairn group had been temporarily in abeyance but is now fully up and running again and looking for more guests and volunteers to join the party.

Caroline Peter, Contact the Elderly Support Officer, said:

“We’re thrilled to have the Nairn group running again as it’s such a great opportunity for an older person in need of a bit of company to meet like-minded folk in a friendly and relaxed setting.

“It might just be a chat over a cup of tea and some cake but for some people who are socially isolated from the community it can be a real lifeline of friendship. The difference it can make to someone living alone is immense. 
“We know that the thought of meeting new people can be quite daunting but the atmosphere is always really friendly and welcoming.

“Our drivers get to know the guests and can strike up real friendships. It’s just a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the hosts and drivers get as much enjoyment out of it as the guests.

“We’d be delighted to hear from anyone interested in joining our parties as a guest or volunteer driver or host in Nairn.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer or guest with Contact the Elderly in Scotland, please contact Caroline Peter on 01561 405011 or

Christmas Concert - proceeds to Team Hamish - Drumossie Hotel Tues 11th December 2018 7.30pm

It's that time of the year again! The Terribles are dusting off their jingle bells and getting ready to shock & delight the good people of Inverness and area at their annual charity Christmas concert.
The event of the year is on Tues 11th Dec at 7.30pm in the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness. A cheery mix of show music, light classics and Christmas singalong.
Tickets £8 at the door or book on 01667 453507.
All proceeds to Team Hamish.

Swan and Duck update, six years on from the formation of a Trust

More on the Simply Superb Swans site. 

Could Jumble Sales make a comeback in Nairn? A vist to the Nairn CAB fund-raiser last Saturday

It was great fun to have a rummage around the varioius bits and pieces laid out in the Nairn CAB office on Saturday. This observer managed to find an unused flask to take the place of his  metal one that has mysteriously given up retaining heat after several years. Such is the serendipity of jumble sales. It was fabulous  to get back into a retro jumble haggling situation for once. Many folk will remember jumble sales, will we see more? The only downside is that someone has to take away what is left over and store it somewhere etc. 

Anyway, good to visit the CAB fundraiser and have a blether with some of the volunteers who give their time free to help anyone with a problem. Sadly, they are needed more than ever as there are an increasing number of people with problems, financial and otherwise and it doesn't look like that situation may diminish in the near future. Universal Credit and other factors such as the cost of living are continuing to have a major effect. Well down the volunteers for doing all they can to help those in difficulties. 

The CAB are still in the process of sorting out multi-agency funding to move to a more suitable  bespoke premises with facilities to receive clients in a much better way and space for those who have no choice  but to bring their bairns downtown with them when they seek help with problems. The Gurn understands that the CAB may soon launch a crowd-funding initiative - every penny given to this essential facility will be money well-spent. Merry Christmas to all the folks at the CAB and thank you for all your hard work for our community!

Slideshow in pictures below and individual images here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Explosion of support for Team Hamish on popular Nairn social media pages as public anger grows towards Highland Council over their attitude to the award winning organisation

Lots of comments coming in on the article below which has been posted on the Team Hamish facebook page and also on the popular Nairn pages "Nairn our town, our views" and "Nairn Rocks".  It looks like Highland Council have succeeded in upsetting an entire community. Why do they always have to be like this towards Nairn? 

Nairn BID make first appointment

The board of Nairn BID have made their first appointment. Janis MacLean has taken up her role as the new Nairn BID Manager. Janis works on a part-time basis and will work from the BID office which is located upstairs in Nairn Community & Arts Centre.

Following a recruitment process led by Chair Michael Boylan and Vice Chair Peter Gibson, Janis has now started her new role. Janis brings a range of skills to her role as manager and looks forward to working together with the local community and Nairn's businesses, to rebuild Nairn’s reputation as a vibrant town for all.

Previously, Janis has worked for the Highland Military Tattoo at Fort George, as sales & marketing manager, working with the team to promote the Tattoo throughout the Highlands. Janis would collaborate with tourism operators, local businesses, schools, event organisers and the hospitality industry, to forge relationships which would inevitably benefit all concerned, building on marketing, sales and sponsorship opportunities.

Janis also has experience of working in a similar role to that of a BID Manager, having worked for a community owned and managed charitable development company. Its key aim was to develop and improve the way of life and standard of living in the local area, working with a range of community groups and volunteers to implement a regeneration strategy, which would develop sustainable projects that tackle important issues within the community.

Janis also supported the initial project team for Nairn BID and has also owned her own business so therefore understands the challenges that can be faced by many small business owners. She hopes that by working together, Nairn can build upon its existing strengths and make our town a must-visit destination to shop, live and visit.

Chair of Nairn BID Micheal Boylan said “this is an important appointment for Nairn, one of the biggest benefits of having a BID is the resource it brings to support local businesses and groups. The role is part time and is supported by the commitment given from the board of directors and other partners on the local community”

You can contact Janis by e-mail on or drop into the office. As her hours can be varied, please either call, message or text first. Her contact number will be available later this week, which will be publicised on here and on our website.

Islamaphobia incident - thougthful editorial in the Nairnshire Telegraph this week

Nip out and buy the Leopold Street Thunderer this week folks there is a very well thought out editorial about a recent episode described on a scottish radio station. Iain Bain reflects on that and the treatment that Hardhip Singh received from a heckler at the Nairn Festival in 2017. That incident was met with a wave of support for Hardhip, I hope there is a similar reaction from some of our civic leaders perhaps to the lady who received this appaling treatment and was, after all, simply a visitor to our town - and we want as many of those as we can get. 

Here's a description of the incident in question, someone has put an extract from the programe on a soundcloud file.

County Youth policy in action - Nairn U20s 1 Lossie U20s 0

A couple of short videos from the second half at Station Park last night.

Monday, December 03, 2018

S2S plans no more

Meanwhile in Angus worried retailers getting desperate after a month of parking charges in small town communities

Here at the Gurn we believe the current situation with parking charges in the Angus towns (introduced at the start of November) is a good indication of how things will pan out in Nairn if Highland Council go ahead and impose parking charges on us. It's a parallel universe that awaits us next year. 

Here's a close up of what the posters say.

Links Development Consultation - a flying visit on Saturday on the way to the football

This observer attended the Links consultation held by Highland Council in the Community and Arts centre at 14.30 on Saturday afternoon. It looked pretty good, with a huge map on the floor, pictures on the wall and information posters for you to look at and some buttons to put in a plastic jar for whatever really tickled your Christmas fancy. Pictures below.

Individual images here

We had a bit of a blether with one or two folk, including some of Santa's little helpers who had just finished another busy shift downstairs at the Nairn Play Christmas fair. Here it all was before us, the ultimate Nairn Links Christmas wish list. This observer bottled it however (the lure of Station Park and Nairn County versus Deveronvale at 15.00 was beckoning), handing my button tokens (invest in your Links dreams currency?) over to Tom Heggie who was in situ with his three colleagues.

We understand from what Tom Heggie had to say at a recent Nairn River Community Council meeting that this consultation is wide ranging, has included Team Hamish, schools, etc, etc. 15K of Common Good cash has been set aside for consultation. It all looks top of the range and will be online too we were told. Here's hoping whatever people want doesn't get left on the shelf with all the other reports and plans that have come and gone over the years. It was evident from the River CC meeting that there are different ideas about where the money will come from with a school of thought that Team Hamish cash is the only game in town while Peter Saggers believes that the Common Good could possibly make contributions and Tom Heggie speaking about the eventual resulting framework accessing other funds.

Meanwhile the award winning Team Hamish plan certainly seems to be raising Nairn's profile out there in town planning world.

Meanwhile in Angus a month after the introduction of parking charges - more evidence of how parking charges damage small communities

A local store in Brechin  has posted a picture of a town centre car park at 10am on a Saturday morning. Brechin has a population of 7,199 Nairn has 9,773 - live, up to date evidence that parking charges damage small towns. 

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Nairn Play Christmas Fayre - Pictures

Good once again to see all the fun and activity at the Christmas Fayre in the Community and Arts Centre on Saturday.

Individual images here

And when Highland Council get parking meters into a town it seems that they show no mercy – Fort William told they can't have two hours free parking for Christmas.

A previous link on the Gurn demonstrates how Elgin (under Moray Council) have an initiative for free parking for Christmas. Obviously the corollary from that is that parking charges are a big factor in the decisions people make on where to do their shopping, especially at Christmas. That article here. 

There was a similar initiative proposed in Fort William recently for two hours of free parking but it didn't have a happy ending, the Area Committee Chairman, Cllr Ben Thompson, is quoted in the P&J:

“We would like to support our own High Street retailers over this Christmas period. Even with six weeks of two hours free parking, Fort William would still be contributing about one third of all the money raised in the Highlands through parking.” 

Another paragraph from the article states “Mr Baxter announced his resignation from Care, Learning and Housing (CLH) committee after council bosses told him the local committee he also chairs had no right to offer two hours free parking in Fort William in the run-up to Christmas.” 

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Local MP Drew Hendry's and other spearkers views on "Brexit , Independence and Workers Rights"

Drew Hendry MP and other speakers gave their thoughts on the topic of "Brexit , Independence and Workers Rights" last night in Inverness at the Thistle Inn's Mayflower lounge. The meeting was organised by the Amal Highland Branch of the Communication Workers Union. Here's what Drew had to say and below the video links to other speeches made last night that are now available on the Gurn's Youtube pages. 


Gurn opinion - So free parking is needed to attract Christmas shoppers in Elgin - says it all about parking charges really - Nairn parking is free this Christmas, let's keep it that way and at every other time of the year too

Community spirit shines in successful search for missing boy