Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Last night's online Nairn River Community Council meeting

This observer attended the online River Community Council meeting last night. The meeting was not an official one in the end and although the number of Community Councillors present enabled the session to be quorate they decided to take points raised to another online meeting next Tuesday when other Councillors who were not able to get online last night will be present.

One issue raised is how these online meetings can fill the criteria of Community Council to hold their meetings in public. There are ways of doing that (a challenging learning curve there perhaps) but one wonders if the rules designated by the Highland Council for the conduct of Community Councils cater for online working in a pandemic situation and whether those rules should be allowed to be relaxed a little during the current situation.

Anyone tuning in last night would have seen members entering a steep learning curve as they figured out how best to use their digital devices to best utilise the Webex meeting service. Similar situations will be going on all over Nairn as various clubs and organisations get together to discuss business, conduct community resilience operations, or simply catch up with friends they are unable to visit – it isn't always easy, there always seems to be one or two individuals that have trouble accessing whatever online meeting service is used and sound problems come and go too.

Those that were present discussed the FIT homes planning application off the Cawdor Road by the hospital. There has been another submission from the Environmental Health Department which includes the following:

“Even with the inclusion of the 5m acoustic barrier it should be noted that noise from the sawmill will still be audible on the development site. In particularly noise with acoustic features e.g. bangs, clattering, reversing alarms etc will still be audible. Furthermore, several of the main noise sources at the sawmill do not appear to emanate from immediately behind the proposed acoustic barrier. Any noise sources emanating from a S/SW direction to the site would not be mitigated by the proposed acoustic barrier to the same extent as those positioned directly behind it. “

The fear is then that the new residents will then immediately start complaining about noise levels which will impact on the nearby sawmill. Gordons have themselves submitted further details via an agent. You can read the latest on this planning file here on the Highland Council e-planning pages here.

Also discussed was the equally controversial King Street application which (now) includes demolition of the existing buildings. Just how the Highland Council will determine this application in the current situation was discussed and there was a feeling that this application should now be shelved until something approaching normality returns and the economic impact on the High Street can be considered alongside the application. This observer would contend too that it is hard for people to focus on the application and come to their own conclusion with so much of normal life turned upside down now.

There were contributions from West and Suburban Councillors too and more to come next week. NRCC are to explore ways of at least allowing the public to observe although interaction may present further challenges.

Looking forward to how our world emerges from Covid-19 there are things such as the planning applications and the parking charges issue that are still in the Highland Council system – a system that is under strain itself during this emergency but with elements of planning etc that are still functioning it is best for our elected Community Councillors to keep them under a degree of scrutiny.

1 comment:

@nairnkev said...

Not hard to set up a twitter or Facebook account to allow realtime comments to be fielded toward the council , again it is publicly available if you wish to sign up, easy to block unknowns and trolls,Facebook especially useful in confirming identity of actual people from the catchment area, should be easy enough to set up and it would also be a useful public record & a truly decomcratic one too.