Thursday, January 28, 2021

Local development plan consultation starts - where could development in Nairn go in the future?

The Inner Moray Firth 2 Main Issues Report has been put on the Highland Council website for consultation. 

You can visit that consultation page here and see a copy of the report. Nairn is on page 197. There is a map that shows the  preferred sites (green), alternative sites (yellow) and non preferred sites (pink) by Highland Council.

Sandown is preferred for development by Highland Council and also part of the Farmers Showfield. The Gurn imagines that both sites will attract considerable comment.


Anonymous said...

Nairn is already overcrowded enough with the current infrasctructure.

Anonymous said...

Of all the sites in Nairn for a large scale housing development, built over the next 10 years, Sandown (NA03) is the only natural site for this use. The land at Sundown has arrived at this status party because of the development of housing at Wyvis Road, Moss-side Road and Moss-side Drive. It is highly unlike that these house would be even allowed now as they are essentially ribbon development in hinterland setting which is considered very bad planning. Therefore, if these house had not been built these field would not be as open to development. However, the current layout of roads and development make the Sundown the ideal place to build many houses and round of the town to the West. This would help balance the distribution of people as all recent development has extended the town East. The fact the the High Street, all schools and the majority of services are West of the river makes active travel etc. much more achievable. The town centre lends itself to development of 1/2 bedroom flats but not family homes for both the social/private sector. The history of Nairn, especially since the Victorian period, is one of steady consistent growth and this trend must continue to ensure the long term sustainability of the town. The fact the house prices are above average and Lochloy is almost built out shows that demand is their. Nairn folk should be delighted that many people wish to base themselves here and join our vibrant community!

Anonymous said...

I believe that you are correct and that'll be why developers are keen to purchase the ground - even if it does have a long-blocked field drain.
If the price is right and if the planning process ensures a good standard of housing, then the Nairn Common Good fund would be well-placed to puchase and develop some of the less attractive buildings in the town centre.
The more economically active young people and families that are able to settle in Nairn the better the future will be for all of us.
Hundreds are on the waiting list for Council Housing. Sandown could help to rebalance Nairn's footprint.

Stop the sale of the Century said...

Well Anon, there is indeed a large housing waiting list but is in not the case that the largest number on that list are those wishing single person's accommodation? How much of that do you see developers and Councils building? How many on the waiting list live in Nairn too? Sandown is the only new large site that the Council wishes zoned for development - that would be a happy coincidence for anyone contemplating the sale of the land wouldn't it? I'm sure most people have no objection to a start on social housing being built on that land but don't wish to piss the asset away to a single developer in the "Sale of the Century" just now. How about letting some of the people that are living in this town in considerably less than "vibrant" conditions at the moment get some housing before we indulge the private developers again!

Anonymous said...

Is Sandown not the only site left because every other proposed site has been objected to? Maybe I missed the others that you are thinking of?
I like the look of Tornagrain and a development of that kind on Sandown and out to the Arderseir turn off makes sense.
Otherwise we'll not be the Brighton of the North, we'll be the elderly care capital of the North.

Anonymous said...

Well said "Stop the sale of the Century" There are any number of empty first floor properties in the centre of town that HC could buy, renovate and allocate to either single folks or couples to occupy. . They can do it in Inverness but strangely not in Nairn. Our Councillors say it is because folks either will not sell or want too much money for them. There is always compulsory purchase available to HC if all else failed but then they would need to be determined to make it happen!

Surely the Sandown question is - should the town hand over, in one fell stroke, permission for HC to sell off Sandown or heaven forbid - allow HC to buy it themselves and landbank it....! Our Councillors are also the Trustees of the Common Good and could easily say no to this consultation but are they independent of the Council enough to do so? Or are they conflicted?

Why plan to put housing in a known water prone area.Would you want to live on an land known to have serious drainage problems after all there is a natural spring in the field!

If there is a housing need and folks want more building there could be a sale or lease of a small proportion of the land on the field next to the allotments, makes perfect sense as it is sandy and well drained BUT if that is to be the final outcome please, please do ensure it is done in a way which maximises income for the Common Good long term. Please do think it through.

The Sandown Consultation is about very much more than housing and folks who think it isn't need to do some serious reading. The towns heritage could be up for sale once gone that would be it!

toon loon said...

Well, Anon of 10:27 pm makes some thoughtful observations. But many of the comments are misguided.

It is not axiomatic that "large scale development" is the priority requirement or the right way forward for the Sandown land. Much local evidence suggests that the demand for smaller-scale, smaller-size housing and flats closer to the town centre is far greater than the need for standard-design identikit developer-housing in suburban estates on the periphery. That developer-led pattern is lucrative (for the developer) but now discredited as a planning approach. The placemaking philosophy, changing lifestyles, and greater awareness of the need for modal shift towards more energy-efficient travel, all make uniform large-scale housing estates - as seen south and east of Inverness, and indeed at Lochloy/Kingsteps, obsolete.

Local evidence has underlined that adequate infrastructure is critical. It is not enough to say that Sandown is "ideal" for access into the town. There are major challenges over water supply and especially drainage and sewage (which will have to be piped to Ardersier). Lochloy is already suffering from access and infrastructure issues. We are all familiar with the traffic congestion on the A96 through town, and the Riverside/Fishertown flood risks. It will do Nairn no good to have that replicated on the west side of town.

The arguments of "balancing" East and West and "rounding off" the town are superficially attractive but totally spurious. There is no urban-planning logic in building an extensive housing estate on the west side of town simply because there is already a massive (near 1000 units) development at Lochloy/Kingsteps. Two bad planning decisions don't add up to one good one. There is a major urban-design debate still to be had about the future shape of the town, whose centre of gravity is already being shifted by the consent to retail activity at Balmakeith. The (eventual!) delivery of the A96 bypass will radically alter the way the town functions and have a significant effect on development-thinking.

These points underline how the Sandown-sale proposal is skewing the debate. The issue is not "large-scale housing or nothing". Nor is it a matter of being pro-or anti-development. The problem is that there has been no proper discussion. There has been no local, public, community debate about what the best use of the Common Good land might be, and how best to make use of this hugely valuable asset. There are very many ways in which Sandown could be "developed" for the benefit of the local community. But no menu of alternative options is on the table.

When so much is at stake (and not just in a financial sense, but in terms of the future character and viability of the town) simply selling Sandown off on the grounds that housing is needed and that is the most convenient site does the town a grave disservice. What happens to Sandown will determine how Nairn will evolve in the next 20-30 years. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly or without careful contemplation of all possible alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Three weeks to see a doctor. No availability of NHS Dentists. Traffic mayhem most nights to get through Nairn. Balancing West Nairn with more houses because East Nairn has already been overbuilt. No sign of a bypass in my lifetime. I am also stunned to find out how many of these “smaller” properties have been allocated to broken relationship problems rather than the offspring of Nairn.

Anonymous said...

Instead of selling off Sandown, might it be possible to solicit a donation of 1% from all the house owners who already have a home built upon our cherished Common Good Lands that were previously sold/gifted/stolen?
From some, that might mean a donation of £1000, for others perhaps £10,000 or perhaps more.
It would provide a great nest egg for Nairn's future and preserve the wetlands for future toon loons.
How many of Nairn's houses have already been built on Common Good Land? How much was contributed to the Common Good fund on each occasion?

Graisg said...

@anon 3.43 At some point we have to have a cut off anon, it is perhaps good to dwell on some of the events of the recent past concerning Highland Council which still linger but it is a bit much to ask those that own property today to account for events long before they were born perhaps. If you read Andy Wightman's "The poor had no lawyers" you will see that compared to what happened elsewhere then perhaps Nairn got off lightly when it came to the Common Good getting ripped off in days gone by.