Thursday, June 18, 2020

Nairn High Street getting spaced out - to the dismay of Community Council

A recent press article indicated that £752K of the Scottish Government's Covid emergency funding entitled "Spaces for People" award to Highland Council was to be spent solely in Inverness. However it emerges that 17.5K is to be spent in Nairn. 

A source close to Nairn West and Suburban Community Council told the Gurn: "Highland Council was asked to send NWSCC a copy of how they had decided to spend the safe streets money in Nairn, and they got back their original proposal which they had rejected as unnecessary and bad for people and businesses." NWSCC had made their own contribution to the Spaces for People Consultation which they say was ignored. Below is what Highland Council intends for the High Street. 

Click to enlgare image

And more in from a West and Suburban direction, one of our regular readers tells us: “This whole situation once again confirms there has been no change of approach, no lessons learned, no local awareness. So much for all the talk of community empowerment and local decision-making. Here yet again we have dumb and inappropriate measures being imposed on the town. This time it is not without consultation, but despite consultation. They have directly ignored the input we have taken time and trouble to offer.”

So there it is folks, NWSCC had stated in their contribution to the Spaces for People consultation:
“Nearly 50% of Nairn on street parking is for loading or disabled, so these spaces are required and will continue to be used. The other spaces are at present at a premium for our large elderly population who may not have blue badges but need to shop by car with least risk of contact. It would make absolutely no sense to have those who are at least risk of Covid (the younger /fitter /more active) to have street space preference to those at higher risk. On-street parking in the one-way High Street is already in ‘recessed’ or inset bays in the wider pavements, so suspending these spaces would not assist the safer movement of either cyclists and pedestrians.”

"Also our businesses need to make High Street shopping as easy as possible to survive this desperate trading period, and the BID is firmly against any restriction on normal parking."

 You can read the full submission here.

The Gurn also understands that a further Highland Council funding bid will be submitted later this week in an attempt to get cash to progress a Nairn wide, including the A96, 20mph scheme.

We have also obtained a copy of a letter that NWSCC member Joan Noble had published today in the Glasgow Herald on the subject of the risk of contracting Covid at either 1 metre or 2 metres in Scotland

"Dear Sir,

It seems as if there is a widespread lack of understanding among politicians, advisers and the general public, of relative as opposed to absolute risk as far as the two metre distancing rule is concerned.
(‘Expert calls for social distancing rules to be relaxed to one metre’ Herald June 16th)

We are repeatedly told that going from two to one metres is thought to double the risk of infection from contact with an infected person. In relative risk terms this doubles it from 1.5% at two metres to 3% at one metre.
However this would mean that everyone you met would have to be infected.
As it is now thought that one in around 1500 (or less) of the population is infected, then the combined risk of catching Covid is either: (3 / 1500) % at 1 metre or (1.5 /1500)% at 2 metres.
This translates to an absolute risk of a 1 in 50,000 chance of infection at one metre as opposed to a 1 in 100,000 chance at 2 metres.

It is a matter of great regret that we are not adequately appraising the public of these odds and letting them make a reasoned adult choice of whether the damage to the economy, tourism, the arts, children’s futures and education, and the looming crisis of deprivation and poverty warrants continuation of the two metre rule, when the ‘worst’ scenario is a 1 in 50,000 chance of infection.

Yours faithfully,

Joan Noble"

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