Saturday, February 22, 2020

"I find it absolutely astonishing that Highland Council have closed down public toilets, forcing visitors to go behind a wall to have a pee or a shit."

Interesting call to embrace the campervan visitors to Scotland and create cheap and well-resourced, welcoming "aires" for them and boost local economies. Here's Cameron McNeish's video:

Nairn in Whiteness and Light

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Scottish Water close Merryton Bridge until tree can be safely removed

Update sorted around lunchtime today 20 02 20

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Is getting a flood protection scheme for Nairn more important that getting a bypass?

No shortage of folk in Nairn (including our polticians at various levels) who have been campaigning for a bypass for some  years now and all eyes will be on the Scottish Government Budget this year to see if funding for the bypass goes through and it becomes a reality. There is hardly a dissenter to be found, everyone wants a bypass for Nairn.

When it comes to flooding though the topic doesn't surface nearly as much as updates on the bypass and in comparison there is no fancy state of the art video of how flood defences might look. In 2016 SEPA published a document as part of it's responsibilities under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009. The document called for a study to be undertaken to (among other things): “Reduce risk in Nairn Central from coastal flooding and reduce flood risk in Nairn Central from the River Nairn. In Scottish terms the study had a priority of 49 out of 168 and in local authority terms 2 of 23.

SEPA further adds the following description: “A study is required to focus on direct defences to provide protection from river and coastal flooding. Other actions may also be considered in order to develop the most sustainable range of options.” An indicative delivery date is given as 2016-2021.

Under the title “Economic” SEPA state: “The study could benefit 344 residential and 24 non-residential properties at risk of flooding in this location, with potential damages avoided of up to £7.7 million.”  £7.7 million in 2016 terms readers, shall we say that that might be around £10 million in 2020 terms?

The Nairnshire Telegraph reported in its edition of February the 11th:
“The Flood Protection Study for the River Nairn and coastal flood risk had not started due to uncertainty in the Capital Programme, although Highland Council's objective was to complete the Studay by 2022.”

So perhaps a study by 2022 readers, and then how long for options to be discussed and then plans – let alone finance. All eyes on the Highland Council Capital Programme budget for this year too then!

It is accepted that sea levels are rising and there are predictions too of increasing rainfall. This work cannot wait any longer, Nairn needs a flood protection scheme urgently. Nairn needs a bypass too but perhaps the former is far more important than the latter.

The dangers that Nairn faces are self explanatory and outlined in the SEPA document, one could be forgiven for thinking that Highland Council acted recklessly in not undertaking this study immediately.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Nairn West & Suburban Community Council meeting for Monday 24th of February

Meeting Agenda
Nairn West & Suburban Community Council

Monday 24th February, at 7pm
in Nairn Community & Arts Centre

Chairperson: Sheena Baker


1. Chairperson - Welcome, attendees and apologies

a. Declaration of Interests

b. Meeting being recorded

2. Minutes of Previous meeting – correction and adoption

a. Matters Arising

3. Treasurer’s Report

4. Secretary - Correspondence

5. Items for discussion:

a. Web site

b. VE Day Nairn

c. Flooding/Flood Protection/River dredging

d. Request for meeting with HC ECO Kate Lackie update

e. Schools and library provision

f. Common Good Identifying tasks for proposed sub-group

g. Parking Consultation document

h. Report on IMFDLP meeting with Scott Dalgarno

i. Empty properties Town centre

j. Town centre regeneration – HC planning application for 12 flats and CAB office

6. HC Update from Elected Highland Councillors:

a. Grass cutting proposal

b. Links

c. Toilet strategy for Nairn

d. Other live matters

7. A O C B

8. Questions or Contributions from Members of the Public

9. Next NW&SCC meeting – Monday, 23rd March,2020, Nairn Community and Arts C

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Nairn West and Suburban draft minutes from Monday 27th January now online

They will of course be subject to amendment but anyone wishing to keep up to date on several important issues affected the town may wish to read them. 

Also on tonight is the first full meeting of the new Nairn River Community Council. This observer believes there may be some interesting dynamics surfacing in the Community and Arts Centre this evening. Agenda details of NRCC meeting here.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

12 flats and relocation of CAB to King Street site - plans now in the public domain

At the last meeting of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council on Monday 27th in the Community and Arts Centre Tom Heggie indicated that plans for the proposed CAB move and flats would soon be in the public domain if they were not already. It emerges that a new plan had to be drawn up as the public toilets are Common Good Property. 

That new plan and associated documents are now on the Highland Council e-planning pages here. The existing former social work buildings would be demolished and become a car park with the existing car park that has the dilapidated wooden fence and contains the electric car charging point would be the site of the building containing 12 flats and the CAB.  

Nairn River Community Council have written to the planners asking for an extension of the consultation period as they do not have an opportunity to discuss this application until Tuesday 11th of February.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

River Community Council Agenda for next week (11/02/20)

More details here.

Events this month for Gaelic speakers and learners in Nairn

Next event is another informal social gathering to practice your Gaelic in the Bandstand Bar on Tuesday next week 7-8.30 pm 11th Feb.

All learners and speakers welcome not just the folk on the Duolingo app (although there are 186,000 out there learning some Gaelic and the majority of them in Scotland according to press reports - probably a few more in Nairn we haven't seen yet so please pop down if you can on Tuesday night.  Here's where you can get the free online Duolingo course.

More details of events here.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Parking Charges - more consulation in the "next month or so"

Cllr Tom Heggie told the NWSCC meeting last week that there will be "extensive consultation" within the next month or so and community groups will be invited.

Gurn opinion:  Just how many times does this community have to say that parking charges anywhere in Nairn are a bad idea and unacceptable?

Artwork by Trish Hossack in the foyer at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre. Exhibition runs until 16th February.

Post office may carry out " further local public consultation on another location"

 One of our regular readers sends us a copy of a letter from the post office, it reads?

"Further to my previous communication in which I advised you of our decision to move the above Post Office to new premises located at McColls Retail Group at 39 High Street, Nairn, IV12 4AG, I’m now writing to let you know thatthe new operator has decided not to progress their application to operate the branch. 

The branch will therefore continue to operate from the current location for the time being. However we may carry out a further local public consultation on another location in the near future. In line with our Principles of Community Engagement, any new location proposal would be subject to a further 6-week period of local public consultation."

Could a move to the Co-op be back under consideration?

Monday, February 03, 2020

"Gàidhlig ann an Inbhir Narann ​​ a 'fàs - Gaelic in Nairn is growing" Display in the Library - Taisbeanadh anns an leabharlainn

"Gàidhlig ann an Inbhir Narann ​​ a 'fàs". Taisbeanadh anns an leabharlainn le fiosrachadh mu sgoiltean, clasaichean, buidhnean, Croileagan, tachartasan Duolingo agus tuilleadh "

"Gaelic in Nairn is growing " Display in the Library with information abut schools, classes, groups, playgroup, Duolingo events and more.

An excellent wee display folks. Well worth popping down for a look at all the information available on what's happening with Gaelic in Nairn.  Just started learning or fluent? Whatever your level here's some events coming up where you'll get a warm welcome.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Sandown Lands confirmed as inalienable from Burgh Charter of 1589 - Viewfield House and Gardens belong to Nairn Common Good Fund too - implications for past actions at Sandown?

At the NWSCC meeting last Monday night in the Community Centre Joan Noble gave an update on additions to the Register of Assets to Nairn Common Good Fund. These changes come about as the result of submissions by Nairn residents:

Falconers Lane CP. The Parking Area (including the toilets) from the back wall of the Old Social Work building, to the back of the High Street properties has been CG land for 45 years. 

Foreshore. All the beach between mean high and low water marks have been CG from 1589 – from Sandown right of way to line drawn out from Kingsteps. (the Royal Burgh boundary). Status of seabed queried.

Viewfield House and Gardens. Bought for community use in 1949. By definition inalienable.

Promenade. An adopted HC road but is on CG land purchased by the Burgh 1948.

Between Harbour St and river. Site of toilets and carwash is CG land from Charter. Harbour shelter is CG.

Kingsteps car park. Now clarified as being CG. Road belongs to Brodie Estate.

Prince of Wales Walk. The pathways and low land from Nairn Bridge to Auldearn Burn on the E bank of the river.

Monuments: Toorie, Grigor Statue, Poets Well, Merkat Cross, Infantry Stone, 4 Paintings in Courthouse.

Sandown confirmed as inalienable from Burgh Charter of 1589. 

The Sandown issue is very interesting as Joan said: "Sandown has now been confirmed as Inalienable CG land. This entails onerous legal conditions on its disposal."

Joan further explained that "inalienable" means that there there is a legal process and a consultation process to go through before there can be a change of use or disposal. The Sandown Lands had been looked on as having been brought as an investment but it hadn't been brought as an investment. She said "so in effect the Council did not have the right to sell that land yet it was put on the market." 

Bill Young went on to speak and maintained that Highland Council's consequent claim to title over a chunk of that land in lieu of the costs they incurred in the sale attempt is not valid. This was brought to the attention of Tom Heggie and Peter Saggers who were present (it was before their time on the Council but they will now be obliged to follow it up after the issue was pointed out to them by NWSCC members). No doubt there will be much more to be heard on the issue of the Sandown Lands and the past behaviour of Highland Council in the weeks and months to come. 

Joan outlined that there were still one or two other wee issues to be finalised concerning Common Good assets. She went on to say: 

"Our four Nairn Councillors face challenges in this respect. On the one hand, as Councillors they are obliged to pursue and promote the policies and objectives of the Council to deliver public services. On the other, as Trustees of our Common Good (with their 80 other colleagues) they are equally obliged to safeguard the assets of the CG and to ensure best use of them for the local community. As trustees they are ultimately personally responsible for the decisions made and the consequences. Reconciling these two potentially conflicting roles is not easy."

It's the old story - the interests of Nairn and the interests of Highland Council are not always going to dovetail - perhaps there will be discussions soon on how everyone moves on from where we are now. Joan Noble suggested and Sheena Baker asked and got CC consent, to set up a working (sub)group of NWSCC members hopefully with River CC representives too, to continue the research and scrutiny on Common Good matters.

Alton Burn flooding discussed at NWSCC meeting last Monday night (27/01/20) – leads to letter on wider flooding concerns for Nairn - measures "deferred, postponed or abandoned"?

Alton Burn flooding discussed at NWSCC meeting last Monday night (27/01/20) – leads to letter on wider flooding concerns for Nairn

Dick Youngson gave the meeting an update on the damage to some gardens close to the Alton Burn. He reported out ongoing investigations were ongoing with SEPA and Highland Council. Stewart Stansfield of NRCC was also at the meeting and outlined how Highland Council was a substantial landowner alongside the burn and had always taken some responsibility.

Brian Stewart raised wider concerns and reminded everyone how Cllr Liz MacDonald had raised concerns some months previously about the delay to the implement of flood prevention plans for the Nairn cactchment area (being either deferred, postponed or abandoned).

The Community Council agreed to write a letter to Highland Councillors to get things “pushed up the agenda somewhat".

Here is a Gurn article from three years ago that outlines the risks as perceived by the powers that be to Nairn from flooding and the actions that need to be taken: Flood risks in Nairn and surrounding area - what might happen and what needs to be done - A SEPA Flood Risk Management document.

Inverness certainly has had a fair bit of flood prevention work, Forres too - meanwhile what about Nairn?  

Nairn - long overdue some extra flood prevention measures?