Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Concept design consultation for Lochloy bridge extended

Sheena Baker of NWSCC tells the Gurn:

"The concept consultation on the proposed railway footbridge has been extended. I received this today from Steven Grant at Highland Council:

“Having discussed the Community Council consultation process with my colleagues we accept that given the time of year and the complexity of this project and therefore have extended the Consultation Period for Community Councils until Friday 27th August 2021 with a view to attending your Community Council Meeting in September.”

Monday, July 19, 2021

Is getting a flood protection scheme for Nairn more important that getting a bypass? - repost of an article from February 2020 - bearing in mind the tragic flooding in Germany just when will flood prevention work commence in Nairn?

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 Study 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, July 16, 2021

Freestyle parking on the Links now incorporating the cricket pitch - video

Demand for parking spots close to Nairn beach still increasing this summer. 

Could getting across the railway at Lochloy to the Industrial estate and retail park look like this for pedestrians and cyclists in the future?

The Gurn has been forwarded a copy of an e-mail from Highand council that has been sent to the town's Community Councils - concerning crossing the railway at Lochloy - presently at concept stage. The e-mail reads:

"We have been asked to produce concept designs for a pedestrian and cycle route to link the communities of Lochloy in Nairn and the A96 retail park via the Balmakeith Industrial Estate. The route was identified in the Inner Moray Firth Local plan and recognised the need for a practical link for active travel to the retail park. There are a number of significant design issues to be overcome in providing such a facility however the main obstacles re the bridging of the Main Line Railway from Inverness to Aberdeen and the provision of compliant ramp facilities for cyclists, wheelchair users and people pushing prams etc…

The Project is funded by the Highland Council via developer contributions and Transport Scotland via SUSTRANS and their Places for Everyone funding stream.

A number of design considerations including an underpass and lifts were also considered however ruled out in terms of ground conditions, utility clashes, maintenance and public safety/security.

This consultation exercise is to consider three concept designs and the views of the public. The designs are presently at concept stage which means that they have been produced and meet the Design Criteria however are at a stage by where only Design Principles are set. The design appearance, finishes and exact dimensions/location may change to suit future comments, concerns and design issues. It is basically a framework to establish the design as it progresses.

As with most projects of this type it will require Planning Consent and at that stage we will seek further consultation/comments on a more refined design.

Please find attached the current plans and visualisations for the Nairn Cross Rail Link project concept designs for your consideration and comment.  I would be grateful if you could forward the dwgs to the other members of your organisations and discuss amongst yourself. If you could then forward me, Steven Grant (THC- engineer), any comments or questions in advance,  then we can arrange an online meeting sometime during the week beginning the 26th July. If there is something site specific then we could arrange a small site meeting."

Images of options below - click to enlarge each image.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Relaunch of the Nairnshire Dial a bus

 John Wartnaby, manager of Wheels in Nairnshire, told the Gurn:

"I just wanted to let you know that Wheels in Nairnshire have re-launched the Nairnshire Dial a Bus service as well as operating a volunteer car share scheme in the Nairnshire area.

Wheels in Nairnshire are local charity committed to helping people get about their daily lives and make transport in rural areas easier for those without good transport links. We run two schemes to help make this happen.

The Dial a Bus operates in roughly the Nairnshire county boundaries with a few addition such as Ardersier and Croy. At the moment we are operating it using small cars and this combined with the current Covid regulations means that we can only take one passenger at a time. Unfortunately we cannot operate on route currently covered by public transport with the Dial a Bus. The Bus runs Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm, and it needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

The car scheme is a bit more flexible, it runs at the same time as the dial a Bus, but we can take people to places like Inverness, Dingwall and Elgin for medical appointments etc. The car scheme is staffed entirely by volunteers using their own cars.

Both scheme are run on a Pay What You Can Afford basis, as a guide it costs us about 35p/mile to run either scheme."

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Nairn High Street re-wilding policy nearing success?


click to enlarge image

The High Street is looking very green these days. Good to see ecological policies working well.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Parking charges on Common Good land in Nairn - 20 Questions for Nairn Councillors, Shane Manning Parking Manager, and Sara Murdoch Common Good Manager Highland Council from NRCC

The Gurn has received a copy of an e-mail that Hamish Bain, Chair of Nairn River Community Council, has written to local Highland Councillors and officials concerning parking charges issues on Common Good Land. The e-mail reads: 

"Good Morning 

Please find attached several questions, as requested by Councillor Heggie at a recent Nairn River Community Council meeting, for your attention. We, Nairn River Community Council, would appreciate a reply as soon as possible.

I have included the Nairnshire Committee special meeting minutes of 20th April 2021 for convenience and the Nairnshire Area Committee - Special Meeting 20th April 2021 agenda where you will also find our questions.

Thank you for your time on this matter."

The text of the attached document to the Council below, you will have to scroll down quite a bit to reach the questions:

"Nairnshire Area Committee -Special Meeting 20th April 2021

Decision by Nairn Councillors to approve installation of ‘ parking charge machines’ on 3 Common Good car parks for initial ‘voluntary’ pilot

The following was tabled on a Supplementary Agenda at a Special Meeting of NAC on 20th April 2021 for approval of Nairn’s 4 Highland Councillors. .

Agenda Item 4 (Nairnshire Area Committee 20th April 2021) ‘Supplementary Agenda’ (Single Item)

Nairn Visitor Management Car Parking ( Proposal for Agreement)

In October 2019, the Council agreed a new approach to considering the introduction of car parking across the area. The approach was paused at the start of the pandemic and it has not yet been possible to re-start.

However, over the summer season 2020, many communities including Nairn experienced significant traffic management challenges as a result of an influx of visitors. It is predicted that the increase in car parking pressures in Nairn with the lifting of lock down measures and increase in staycations will continue for the 2021 season.

To support traffic management during the 2021 season, it is proposed to install charging machines at three sites in Nairn on a voluntary basis. Charges would not be enforced, and signs would be erected to confirm payment was being sought on a voluntary basis to support infrastructure.

The three sites proposed are:

• The Harbour

• Cumming Street

• The Maggot

Officers would implement a tariff structure consistent with the rest of the Local Authority area.

All three sites are Common Good properties therefore the Common Good would be the beneficiary of income as a result of this proposal and this could mirror the arrangements already in place elsewhere in Highland.

It is proposed that this approach is adopted for the summer season 2021 and a consultation would take place later in 2021 to determine the approach going forward. This could consider whether a voluntary scheme of charging is introduced, charging with enforcement is introduced or whether no charging is introduced. Learning from the 2021 season could inform this consultation.

Members are asked to agree to the installation of parking charge machines at Cumming Street, the Harbour and The Maggot in Nairn for voluntary payment only for the 2021 season to support more effective traffic management in the area.

Yours faithfully

Stewart Fraser

Head of Corporate Governance

We understand that no other supporting papers were presented at this meeting apart from the proposal above.

It is unclear whether Highland Councillors were being asked to approve this in their capacity as Nairn Common Good Trustees which is a role which carries additional and spotentially conflicting responsibilities to the role of elected Highland Councillors.

The proposal was passed and an extract from the Minutes( attached) of discussion points at the meeting is copied below. After this decision, work began immediately for Transport officers to instal ‘charging infrastructure’ on Links, Maggot and Harbour Car Parks which was operational by early June 2021.

At no point prior to the 20th April meeting or before voluntary parking charges were implemented in these 3 Nairn Common Good car parks in June, have Highland Councillors or the Highland Council Common Good Officer provided any briefing information about this decision or its implications to either of Nairn’s Community Councils. The 3 car parks in question are in ‘Nairn River’ community council territory.

This represents a serious breach of the terms of the Community Empowerment Act which requires prior (not subsequent) public consultation on all changes of use or disposal of Common Good Assets.

It seems that Highland Council would have us believe that installing tens of thousands of pounds worth of charging infrastructure is not a ‘change of use’ for Common Good land by citing the ‘loophole’ that charging is not (yet) compulsory.

We understand that Highland Council has also used Scottish Government ‘Visitor Management’ funds to pay for charging infrastructure to be installed on Nairn on Common Good Land. This could have paid for other urgently needed visitor resources but spending has been decided without any local community consultation.

An extract from the minute of the 20 April NAC meeting follows, with a number of focussed ‘public interest’ questions for Councillors and Highland Officers, as requested by Cllr Heggie at our last NRCC meeting on 16th June.

Extract from Minute of Special Nairnshire Area Committee meeting 20 April 21

( full minute also attached)

Bullet point 1

It was indicated that the Council could not legally profit from the Common Good Fund and further information was requested on the legality of Council and the Nairn Common Good Fund equally sharing the income generated from car parking.

Bullet point 2

Confirmation was provided that the purchase and installation costs for the charging machines would be paid by the Council and an indication was provided of the sort of investment costs involved’ It was requested that more detailed information be provided on the costs that would be incurred by the Council.

Bullet point 3

With regard to the tariff structure it was explained that signage would indicate that this is an invite to pay to support local investment. It was indicated that similar systems are operated in other local authority areas and the guide on suggested level of tariff/donation was helpful to visitors.

Bullet point 4

It was suggested that a proactive approach should be adopted to informing community councils of the rationale for implementing the voluntary payment system and the benefits that could be achieved for the local area ie higher income levels for the Common Good Fund and investment in local infrastructure ( eg CCTV)

Bullet point 5

Confirmation was provided that the machines were adaptable in terms of amending tariffs and key data on usage and compliance could be extracted.

Bullet point 6

Confirmation was also provided that Rates were payable on the car parks and these costs were paid for by the Council.

Bullet point 7

In terms of the grassed area of the Links, mixed views were expressed. There was a view that parking on the grassed area was better as it stopped visitors from parking in residential streets. However if the voluntary charging progressed to a compulsory system there was a need to ensure that the traffic order was either extended to include the grassed area, or access to this area was blocked.
Bullet point 8

With regard to motor homes it was reported that early investigations were being undertaken on installing campervan facilities at the Maggot, but it was very unlikely that these would be completed for the current season.

In regard to Cumming Street although it was recognised that no specific problems have been encountered, Members welcomed continuation of the Council’s policy of prohibiting overnight parking for motorhomes and their proactive approach to visitor management. It was highlighted that Nairn was supported by a number of campsites and motorhomes should be directed to these dedicated areas. It was also highlighted that income could be reduced if carparking bays were being used for longer periods by motorhomes
Bullet point 9

It was important that Members received regular updates on the ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of the traffic management measures and if necessary the arrangements could be reconsidered. It was indicated that this should comprise of factual data/evidence of usage which could then be used to inform future policy

20 Questions for Nairn Councillors, Shane Manning Parking Manager, and Sara Murdoch Common Good Manager Highland Council

From Nairn River Community Council on behalf of the local community 


Councillor Heggie requested some ‘focussed questions’ on this matter at NRCC meeting on 16th June when Common Good parking charges were discussed and diverse concerns raised by members and public present.

There are 20 questions here.

We expect that once this is in the public domain the people of Nairn will have more questions of their own about why they have been ‘bypassed’ in this manner.

The legality of this decision by Councillors at NAC on 20th April.

Q1 Why have Nairn Councillors made a decision with such significant implications for Nairn Common Good assets without first verifying the legality of what is proposed?

Q2 Why have Nairn Councillors ignored their ‘Common Good Trustee’ legal responsibilities by taking a decision affecting Common Good Assets without any prior public consultation?

Q3 Can you provide details of any other parking scheme on Common Good Land where less than 100% of net revenue is returned to the local Common Good Fund

Q4 Will Nairn(shire) residents (who already pay Council Tax to Highland Council) be exempt from paying parking charges on Common Good Land which was gifted to the town for their sole benefit?

The use of Common Good Land is of concern to all the people of Nairn.

To ‘suggest’ that Community Councils are informed after the charging scheme is operational, and infrastructure has been installed on the site, as this minute notes, is in clear breach of Community Empowerment legislation.

Engaging with community councils is not a ‘suggestion’. It is a legal requirement.

Transparency and the requirement for public consultation

Q5 Who decided to adopt a ‘policy’ of non engagement with the local community until after this parking scheme was operational?

Q6 Who decided to ‘delegate’ public engagement on this matter to Shane Manning the Parking Manager, rather than Councillors or the Common Good Officer communicating directly with Community Councils.

Q7 Please confirm what arrangements are in place to give the community a full say in all future decisions on how this charging scheme operates and how income is used if it goes forward

Q8 Why has there also been no prior public consultation on how Scottish Government ‘visitor management’ funds were to be invested in Nairn? ‘Charging infrastructure’ was certainly not the only option with local public toilets in disrepair.

Q9 If the Nairn Community vote to remove parking charges in future, who will remove the equipment and who will pay for this?

Q10 Why are HC already proposing ways to spend revenue from parking charges on CG land not yet consulted upon by the local community, never mind agreed?

If the community agree to parking charges on their land, it is for them to decide how the money is used. CCTV may benefit THC but may not be what local people want.

Q11 Will Nairn Community Councils from now on receive regular written reports on income and usage data along with comparative data from other Highland sites?

We are particularly keen to see detail of the ‘£1Million raised for Portree’ mentioned by Shane Manning at a recent NWSCC meeting.

Q12 Please provide full detail of how this ‘pilot scheme’ is being monitored, what defines ‘effectiveness’ and what data will be shared routinely as part of proactive information sharing with Community Councils (as mentioned in the minute above)

We note inconsistencies in income figures quoted so far in public (on social media and at recent CC meeting). Shane Manning has stated that a single day’s income of £1252 represented a 40% uptake of paid parking. Then he reported that the total income for the first 5 weeks was £5300 for all 3 car parks which is closer to 7%.

That represents £25 income per car park per day for Nairn Common Good as a 50% share of total revenue, and will likely drop once summer is over. This does not sound like ‘best value’ for either HC or Nairn CG if initial outlay on infrastructure to implement charging has already cost around £75000. (according to Cllr Saggers)

The ‘business case’ and financial arrangements for this ‘pilot’

Q13 Please confirm actual costs of charging set up and implementation to date.

Q 14 Please provide full detail to Community Councils and the public of the 50/50 ‘split’ of revenue between THC and Nairn Common Good which was agreed to by Nairn’s Councillors on 20 April for these 3 car parks.

Q15 As previously requested in 2018, for public transparency, please supply a full ‘business case’ for proposed parking charges with cash flow projections to show that net income would provide a surplus for Nairn Common Good once all set up and running costs are factored in. Please also specify which running costs are to be paid for by THC and which by Nairn Common Good going forward.

Q16 Please provide evidence of other car parks in Highland where Rates are being paid for routinely by the Council, as suggested here.

Q17 Please provide detail of how revenue and usage projections for Nairn prepared for this current pilot compare with actual spend and car park income so far.

Q18 If grassed areas of Common Good land at the Links are to be fenced off with barriers to limit parking, and may need to be removed and replaced for Games Day and the Showies, can you confirm whether these extra costs will fall to the Nairn Common Good Fund or the Council

Motorhome facilities

Q19 What plans are in place for signage to direct visitors with motorhomes from the seafront and Nairn Town Centre to appropriate private facilities at Parkdean and out of town

Q20 Will Highland Council have to compensate Parkdean who already pay rent for Nairn Common Good Land, for loss of motorhome income if HC is proposing to provide a rival facility at the Maggot?"

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

A whole lot of funding information - thanks to Sheena Baker of Nairn West and Suburban CC for sending this on


Latest news


Funding for activities that connect and support people within their local community

The Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund, administered by Corra Foundation, has reopened for applications with refreshed criteria. The Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund is a £1 million Scottish Government fund administered by Corra Foundation. Over £600,000 has been distributed in phase one (February – May 2021). The next phase, which opened on 1 July, will support …Continue reading“Funding for activities that connect and support people within their local…

Adapt & Thrive Programme closing soon

The Adapt & Thrive strand of the Community and Third Sector Resilience Programme (CTSRP) will close to applications at 9am Monday 19 July. Adapt & Thrive has played an important role in helping the third sector to transition to recovery during these uncertain times. From 1 September 2020 to 30 June 2021, it has made …Continue reading“Adapt & Thrive Programme closing soon”

Places Called Home Fund – short deadline

IKEA Limited and The National Lottery Community Fund have come together to grow thriving, resilient and sustainable communities across the UK. Places Called Home is a new £1.5 million fund that aims to inspire and help people get more involved in their local community as a positive, homely place to be and meet other people. The aim is to build on …Continue reading“Places Called Home Fund – short deadline”

Plugged-in Communities Pilot grant fund – Registration of Interest

Energy Saving Trust are currently looking for community transport services in Scotland interested in adopting electric or hydrogen vehicles. Energy Saving Trust can offer funding to a limited number of organisations for the procurement of a zero-emission vehicle as part of a pilot grant fund. This funding is available through the Plugged-in Communities fund managed by Energy …Continue reading“Plugged-in Communities Pilot grant fund – Registration of Interest”

Funding to tackle the digital divide and help adults furthest away from learning

The VocTech Challenge Grant Fund is now open for applications and they are especially keen to hear from organisations in Scotland. This call is for projects that address the VocTech Challenge: How can VocTech address barriers and build bridges to create a step-change in learner confidence and motivation, leading to better outcomes for the learner, for the …Continue reading“Funding to tackle the digital divide and help adults furthest away from learning”

Defibrillators for grassroots football clubs

The Grassroots Defibrillator Programme supported by Mastercard UK aims to provide 100 grassroots football locations across the UK with a free Defibrillator. They are looking to support clubs and venues which regularly host football for multiple teams and age groups. The programme is open to grassroots/non-professional football clubs and venues. Venues will be chosen based on …Continue reading“Defibrillators for grassroots football clubs”


New and recently opened funds

Corra Foundation - Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund

Organisation: Corra Foundation

Status: Open

Summary: The purpose of the Enabling Neighbourhoods and Communities Fund is to provide small grants to community and voluntary groups across Scotland who are connecting and supporting people within their local community. The Fund aims to reach groups who: - Have strong local relationships with people in the community. - Are already supporting people in their communities to reconnect and improve wellbeing. - Have an annual income of less than £50,000. It is only available to groups that are rooted in their community, require a small amount of money, and have received little/or no emergency funding during the pandemic. This funding could help your group to continue to deliver support or activities in your local area over the next 12 months. Examples of what funds could cover: - Travel or volunteer expenses. - Covering hall hire for community spaces(when Scottish Government Coronavirus restrictions allow and it is safe to do so). - Sessional or project staff costs. - Helping people to stay safe (PPE for small gatherings/group activity).

Date re-opened: 1st July 2021

Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme: Adapt & Thrive

Organisation: Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Status: Open

News: The Adapt & Thrive strand of the Community and Third Sector Resilience Programme (CTSRP) will close to applications at 9 am Monday 19 July.

Summary: The Scottish Government's Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme aims to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery. The Adapt and Thrive Programme aims to support organisations across the third sector to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and build back better to thrive in the future. It supports organisations to reflect on their current services and determine which areas need to change, flex, innovate, or grow in order to be resilient and successful during and post COVID-19.

Next deadline: 19th July 2021

Foundation Scotland - Volant Charitable Trust Open Grants

Organisation: Foundation Scotland

Status: Open

Summary: The Volant Trust’s aim is to support women, children and young people who are at risk and facing social deprivation. It supports Scottish charities and projects, whether national or community-based, which help alleviate social deprivation, particularly supporting women, children and young people at risk. Projects must demonstrate a strong focus on supporting women and children affected by hardship or disadvantage and on tackling the issues they face in order to make a lasting difference to their lives and life chances.

Date re-opened: 1st July 2021

Next deadline: 31st October 2021

The Rayne Foundation

Organisation: The Rayne Foundation

Status: Open

Summary: The Rayne Foundation makes grants to charitable and not-for-profit organisations across the UK tackling a variety of issues. They favour work which could change the way issues are tackled in our society and which could have lessons for others beyond the funded organisation. They consider applications in the fields of arts, health and wellbeing, education in its widest sense, and those that cover social issues. The focus is to connect communities, building bridges between marginalised groups and mainstream society, and to enable individuals to reach their full potential. In addition, areas of special interest are: - Young people’s improved mental health; - Arts as a tool to achieve social change; - Improved quality of life for carers and for older people.

Date re-opened: 1st July 2021

Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust

Organisation: Austin And Hope Pilkington Trust

Status: Open

Summary: The Trust gives grants to registered charities that work in the UK. They focus on specific priorities every year. Check the website for full details on eligibility. 2021 categories are: - Grant rounds 1 and 2: Homelessness - Grant rounds 3 and 4: Refugees and Asylum Seekers. All grant rounds in 2022 will focus on the arts. Grant Round 3 and Grant Round 4 will focus on projects and initiatives that will help address the under-representation of BAME people in all sections of the arts.

Date re-opened: 1st July 2021

Next deadline: 31st July 2021

UnLtd Awards

Organisation: UnLtd Scotland

Status: Open

Summary: The programme provides specialist support for social entrepreneurs to help them grow as social leaders. They combine cash and coaching to help nurture ideas and grow impact. It doesn't matter what stage of development your social venture is at. It can be an idea on paper, or a social venture in practice already. They are committed to 50% of our awards going to Black, Asian and minority ethnic social entrepreneurs, and/or disabled social entrepreneurs across our funding programmes.

Date re-opened: 1st July 2021

Next deadline: 30th September 2021

Scops Arts Trust

Organisation: Scops Arts Trust

Status: Open

Summary: The goal of Scops Arts Trust is to give people of all ages a better quality of life by enabling them to understand, participate in and simply enjoy the arts, particularly music, drama, opera and dance. Their current interests lie in supporting organisations run by committed and passionate individuals to deliver projects that: - Widen access to the performing arts and have a lasting cultural impact on the community - Enhance the provision and quality of music education in schools and / or engage children and young people in music outside of school

Date re-opened: 1st July 2021

Next deadline: 14th July 2021


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