Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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. 

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