Thursday, May 19, 2022

Scottish Governement's Transport Minister visits Nairn today - meets with community representatives and visits Rosebank pupils

Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has met with representatives from the Nairn community to discuss the A96 by-pass.

The visit which took place today (Thursday 19 May), was organised by Nairn Connects BID, a membership organisation which works with local businesses and the community with the principle aim of making Nairn a better place to visit and shop and make it a more attractive place to do business.

Ms Gilruth spent time with Nairn BID manager Lucy Harding, and representatives from the town’s businesses and community groups including Nairn River Community Council, Nairn West Suburban Community Council, Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise (NICE) and Drew Hendry Westminster MP and Fergus Ewing MSP.

The main purpose of the visit was to show the Transport Minister the reality of living with the trunk road cutting through the heart of the town and to give a voice to the businesses and community groups.

Concerns have recently been raised that a newly announced review of the plan to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen could see the project scaled back. However, the minister made assurances that this was not the case.

6 pupil Amelie Ogston and P5 pupil Max Murchison show the transport minister their posters regarding the A96.



Lucy Harding said the Nairn community welcomed the opportunity to speak to Ms Gilruth face-to-face.

“We are very pleased the Transport Minister has taken time to come and see for herself our town and the road that cuts through it.

“Nairn is growing year on year and the by-pass is urgently needed. What we have now is not fit for purpose and is dangerous to everyone’s health and safety. It is also stunting potential growth for the town and hinders external and internal investment. Nairn has the potential to be a real destination once the bypass is built, and we are all working hard to achieve this goal.”

She added: “Ms Gilruth reassured us that she would be taking our concerns back to the Government and she is keen to expedite the process. She reassured us that she and Transport Scotland would be back in touch once the capital spending review is completed at the end of this month and was keen to emphasise the need for pace.”

Drew Hendy, MP who attended the meeting said: “The Minister has been very clear that it is her ambition to see the project move forward. It does feel to me from what I have seen and heard that we are much closer than we have ever been in the past.”

Ms Gilruth also visited Rosebank Primary School which is located adjacent to the busy trunk road.

There she met with the school’s headteacher, Lisa Campbell, and pupils who showed the Minister the difficulties they face on a day-to-day basis and presented her with posters about the road.

 

The Transport Minister met with representatives from the community

Ms Campbell said: “We were very pleased to have the Transport Minister visit Rosebank Primary School. The pupils were delighted to discuss their concerns with Ms Gilruth on behalf of our school community. The pupils and staff would welcome a by-pass to prevent the volume of traffic passing our school every day. Not only does the volume of traffic present a safety risk for pupils and families but it also impacts on our overall health and well-being due to the traffic noise and pollution.”

Amelie Ogston, a primary six pupil, told the minister: “The road is noisy and even when we are in the classroom it can be so loud that it is distracting. Sometimes we can’t hear the teacher.”

 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ariane Burgess MSP encourages Inverness and Nairn folk to share their vision for a ‘green transport corridor’ between Inverness and Aberdeen

"Today the Scottish Government have launched a consultation about the future of the A96 Corridor [1] 

 

Scottish Greens MSP Ariane Burgess is encouraging organisations and individuals to fill in the consultation to ensure that the voices of those who walk, wheel and cycle are represented.  

 

Greens believe that this consultation is an opportunity to present and support a ‘green transport corridor’ between the two northern cities. 

 

Ariane Burgess MSP has said,  

 

“For many years, dualling the A96 has been seen as a magic bullet to traffic problems in the North East but we cannot road-build our way to net zero. 

 

Cheap, reliable public transport which can facilitate commuting, safe active travel infrastructure, dualling the Inverness-Aberdeen train line to encourage freight as an alternative to haulage and world class EV charging infrastructure as well as safety upgrades and bypasses which improve the quality of life in towns bisected by the A96 should be part of the discussion. 

 

I want to ensure that there is maximum engagement and that our Region leads the way in Scotland for inter-city connections that work for people and the planet.” 

 

Ends 

 

Notes

 

1 Survey A96 Corridor Review Feedback Survey (office.com) 

 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

We're taking a break but in the meantime congratulations to the four winning candidates yesterday.

We have been pretty low key for the past couple of years actually with the odd flurry of activity. Time for a break now to see how it goes in Nairn after the election. Here's hoping for a lot more positive vibes for Nairn - if our civic life becomes Stushieville to the power of 2 then that would be very sad. Hopefully everyone will work together with our four councillors to get the best for Nairn, if it doesn't go that way then things could be very depressing indeed and what is the point of reporting on any of that? Worth bearing in mind that only 48% voted too - down 4% from last time, sobering stuff.

Gurn twitter may still be active some of the time however. Cheers - and remember, very important:

Ubhal-ghortan dha na daoine!

Orchards for the people!

Sandown - 12 years on from a bare field

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Highland Council election for Nairn and Cawdor - It's on Thursday May 5th - Vote early and vote often folks...

 ...in fact, up to 8 times in order of preference. There will be at least 3 new faces when the electoral dust settles and here's wishing them well (and also urging them to go flat out in getting the best for Nairn). 

 So make your minds up folks, ask the candidates about anything that is bothering you and don't forget to go to the ballot box and to all those who have already sent in a postal vote - well done!

We're going to take a break until we see how things pan out and come back a bit afterwards if things turn out on the brighter side for Nairn.

The Gurn twitter account will probably still continue and if you are looking for things going on in town and a little bit of debate then we recommend the Nairn Our Town our views facebook page. Let's make the most of our local democracy folks - we need to work together to get the best for our community.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

"Can I start by addressing the question raised again in the GURN about diverse groups in Nairnshire and the excuse rolled out by HC and HIE that they cannot work with Nairnshire because of this"

 Last night at the Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting, Alastair Noble, the interim chair of the CC spoke of the content of a recent Gurn article in which we asked: " In the depths of one Highland Council candidate's latest blog post is their something we should all pay serious attention to?" That article is available here

Here is Alastairs opening address to the meeting: "Welcome to this NW&SCC meeting

We are getting ever closer to normal meetings- so a warm welcome to all and many thanks for attending

Can anybody declare any conflict of interests before we start

Welcome to members of the public and in particular to some of the candidates for the HC elections. As Chair I will try and be as fair and impartial as possible

Can I therefore ask the candidates not to use this meeting as a husting and mainly just listen

Can I also ask members of the public to keep their questions to the space at the end of the meeting.

Can I ask everybody just to introduce themselves?

Also, we welcome Phil Stewart who is interested in becoming a co-opted member. The start of many more I hope.

Can I start by addressing the question raised again in the GURN about diverse groups in Nairnshire and the excuse rolled out by HC and HIE that they cannot work with Nairnshire because of this.

In my extensive experience, Nairnshire has some of the best joined up working anywhere in the UK.

We have as examples

the Community Centre an amazing example of local management and control

the Sports Club again locally exceptionally well run and used

The Integrated Hospital site rated as the best model in the UK for health and social care

Cantraybridge College a unique college for students with disability

Keep Nairn Colourful quietly working away to keep the town looking attractive

Hydrotherapy pool

NICE /Team Hamish with massive popular support/Splashpad etc

Music Nairn/ Cinema Nairn/Book and Arts Festival

Golf /football/ athletic/rowing /sailing/boxing/ swimming/cricket/bowling/angling clubs etc

2 world class championship golf courses

Internationally important wetlands and woodlands

Wonderful historic buildings and history

Allotments/apple growers

Sustainable heating projects around the Lido and swimming pool

Apologies if I have missed you out

So, who is spreading this rumour and most importantly why?

Could it be because Nairnshire is not getting its Fair Share Budgets and is seen as a cash cow for HC?

Could it be that the CCs are asking the right questions about the Common Good, Developer Contributions, closed secret meetings, SPSO Finding, bad planning, lack of infrastructure, poor school property -I could go on

Nairn Residents Concern Group played a massive role supporting HC decisions in the appeals at Sandown and Nairn South. They still provide invaluable input around planning issues. We have our own population / Common Good /housing needs Guru!

The Local Jobs network has been led by members of both CCs and has been a very useful information source.

It clearly has identified that Nairnshire needs more local jobs and working with the big local businesses and employers we must prioritise industrial sites and deliver more local jobs. The way forward is the Economic Development Forum and Nairn getting its Fair Share recurrent revenue budgets from HC and NHS Highland. HIE must play its part in Nairnshire moving forward

We have a shared vision of Nairnshire as a green sustainable place to live, work, retire to and holiday in.

We can deliver this exciting way forward. Working together we can use the Local Place Planning mechanism to deliver our priorities in sorting our infrastructure first -This must be locally driven with NICE as our Community Enterprise Body leading

Priorities are well known and essential before any new additional housing

by-pass -essential now we need fixed time scale for delivery and cost

Flood risk/Sewage/Harbour need doing now

Town centre regeneration including housing and more businesses and jobs

School properties starting with a New Academy and new primaries as needed

We must now work with our New Councillors and deliver for Nairnshire

Both CCs and I am sure the other Nairnshire CC s are very happy to do the work and deliver this exciting future

We have a very clear set of priorities and so much work has already been done.

Let’s just now deliver it together

Dr Alastair L Noble MBE

Interim Chair NW&SC"



Further appeal for information relating to murder of Alistair Wilson

"Detectives investigating the murder of Alistair Wilson at his home in Nairn in 2004 are appealing for information about a local planning application they believe may be significant to the enquiry.

Mr Wilson had objected to a large decking area outside the Havelock Hotel, opposite his home in Crescent Road, shortly before he was shot dead on his doorstep."  

More here on the Police Scotland site.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

In the depths of one Highland Council candidate's latest blog post is their something we should all pay serious attention to?

 "[...] but Nairn in particular has long suffered from different groups with different agendas spending a lot of time muttering to themselves about how dreadful other groups are rather than engaging in open discussion [...]" 

That wee quote above is in an article written by Paul Oldham, you can read it in its enterity  here.   Is that scenario familiar to you or only just slightly so? Time for us all to take a good look at how we do things and to try and move forward in a collective, better, frame of mind?

There's probably never been a better chance. Whatever happens there will be at least three different councillors to represent the Nairn and Cawdor ward on May 6th. No doubt there will be one or two bigger issues that will need their entrails examined to a certain extent but we will have a good opportunity folks, let's not squander it. Let's get Nairn's future right! 

All the best and vote early and vote often on May 5th - any 4 from 8 will succeed and have the responsibility of representing Nairn and serving this community. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Another wee blether with Independent Candidate Michael Green - Highland Council Election, Nairn and Cawdor Ward on the 5th May

Nairn Waste Busters update and a time for new ideas - Michael outlines some ideas that he wishes to take forward if the electorate are so minded to vote him in on Thursday May 5th. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Blossom day at the Sandown allotments orchard and fruit tree nursery. Register with Green Hive if you would like to accompany them on their visit on Saturday 30th of April.

Blossom day at the Sandown allotments orchard and fruit tree nursery. Register with Green Hive if you would like to accompany them on their visist on Saturday 30th of April.  Please not, parking not available at Sandown Allotments - Green Hive hoping to arrange transport however.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting - Nairn Community and Arts Centre Mon 25th April 7.00 pm

Gurnnurn.com understands that several other issues concerning the local authority will also be debated under "matters arising".
Click on image below to enlarge if having trouble viewing. 
 

 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The next public meeting of Nairn River Community Council will be held on Wednesday 20th April at 7.30 pm on Zoom.

 The NRCC site states: "Members of the Public wishing to attend the above Meeting should send an email to: nrcc.online@outlook.com including their name and postcode.

The invitations will be sent close to the meeting date."

Details of the agenda here

Thursday, April 14, 2022

"Vaccine service to return to Nairn after fears patients would need to travel to Inverness"

"But NHS Highland says a clinic will now be held in Nairn.

A spokesman said: “Inverness is currently the closest vaccination centre to Nairn, but we continue to review our capacity and are actively establishing plans to hold clinics in other locations, such as Nairn.

“There will be a clinic in Nairn next week and details will be published on our website shortly.” 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

"I think the Nairn Common Good deserves a book of its own!" - Independent candidate Michael Green

The Nairn Common Good Fund and the problems associated with it in recent years may well feature in the deliberations of many voters when they go to the polls in the Highland Council election on May 5th. We had a wee blether with Independent candidate Michael Green.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Withdrawal of vaccination services from Nairn and Nairnshire: an "unfortunate, discriminatory and illogical decision" - copy of letter from NWSCC to NHS Highland

Pam Dudek

Chief Executive

NHS Highland 31/03/22

Dear Pam

Re: Withdrawal of vaccination services from Nairn and Nairnshire

Following discussion at our recent meeting, we write to express dismay and concern that vaccination services have been withdrawn from Nairn and Nairnshire, a healthcare population of around 16,000 people.

Apparently Nairn residents are now expected to attend a central Inverness shopping centre for all vaccinations, necessitating a 40+ mile round trip and parking fees. This translates into thousands of unnecessary journeys at a time of climate emergency.

Prior to this Nairn Healthcare have given a superb service in Nairn, especially during the pandemic when over 800 vaccinations were being carried out daily.

This withdrawal of service will affect especially the elderly and also young parents who can surely expect that their babies will be vaccinated locally not subjected to several expensive and lengthy journeys for a very routine procedure. The decision is bound to affect uptake, and brings into question NHS Highland’s commitment to equality of access and ‘levelling up’ disadvantaged groups.

We ask that there is a very rapid reconsideration of this unfortunate, discriminatory and illogical decision,

Yours sincerely

Alastair L. Noble (interim chair)

 

Greyhound and Shire Horse rescue sanctuary relocating from the North of England to Easter Hardmuir

A post on the Tia Rescue Facebook page reads:

"To be honest I don’t know where to start, so I’m just going to say it.
We are moving to Scotland.
We have managed to buy a farm & hopefully secure the future for Tia. For two years we have tried to find a farm in Yorkshire but financially stood no chance, especially now with closing the shops. I’m so relieved we didn’t get another mortgage..
During the lockdown we did okay, we managed to keep the animals safe. We also had massive support and donations of food and we hardly bought any food for the animals for two years. Once again, I thank each and every last one of you. Other rescues were not so lucky." More here

Radical Rural Housing - Could the "smart clachan" idea work in Nairnshire?

 "There is a clear desire amongst people to refocus on community, place, wellbeing, smaller scale and climate-friendly development. The development of housing which offers models for mutual support – such as co-housing, collective self build and mutual home ownership cooperatives – can create frameworks for these more mindful and cooperative forms of living. "

That paragraph alone gives food for thought on what we could do on Sandown perhaps? A very interesting article on rural housing and the problems facing the young here.

Candiate writes blog article on Nairn By-pass

SNP candiate for the Highland Council election on May 5th writes: "People are, unsurprisingly, already asking me questions about my view on dualling the A96 and the Nairn bypass and how I’m going to make it happen." More here

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

A wee Blether with Emma Roddick MSP - in town to visit Sandown Allotments, Nairn Museum and Pam Bochel who started the "Keep Nairn Library in the town centre petition"

Petition to keep Nairn Library in the town centre - a short interview with Pam Bochel

 

The petition is online here.

Folk in Nairn having to go to Inverness for Spring Covid boosters

We've heard recently of elderly people having to travel to Inverness to get their Spring covid boosters. We understand too the issue was discussed at the recent meeting of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council where concern was expressed at how this would affect the take-up rate in the community. 

Here at the Gurn we just feel that this doesn't make sense at all - what is the point of thousands of people having to make journies in the Inverness direction when it has been shown by Nairn Health Care how it can be done effectively locally? Environmentally too it gives cause for concern, all those journies by car on an already overcrowded road. The worry, indeed, is that many won't bother or won't be able to afford the journey. 

We decided to contact NHS Highland for a statement and a spokesperson told the Gurn:

"Those being invited for their Spring Booster are being asked to attend vaccination centres being run by NHS Highland. This will allow us to vaccinate a large number of the population in a few key locations allowing us to efficiently use the vaccination team’s resources.

Inverness is currently the closest vaccination centre to Nairn but we continue to review our capacity and are actively establishing plans to hold clinics in other locations, such as Nairn." 

So hopefully things will change soon. Constituents have raised this issue with Emma Roddick MSP so perhaps more information will emerge shortly. 

 

Friday, April 01, 2022

A question for those candidates standing under a Independent label for the Highland Council election in the Nairn and Cawdor ward. If you were a member of the Highland Council administration and you are asked to vote for something that is not in the best interests of Nairn, what will you do?"

A question for those candidates standing under a Independent label for the Highland Council election in the Nairn and Cawdor ward. If you were a member of the Highland Council administration and you are asked to vote for something that is not in the best interests of Nairn, what will you do?"

Two responses so far, from Michael Green: 

"Do what I have always done, put Nairn first"

And from Laurie Fraser: 

 "Easy one, Nairn comes first. But remember some polices do verry little damage to Nairn and we have to take the best interests of everyone in the Highlands. Some times its in the eye of the beholder."

 

Keep Nairn Library in the Town Centre Petition

 Here's Pam Bochel's petition - Well done Pam! 'S math a rinn thu!

Keep Nairn Library in the town centre.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

A question for those candidates standing under a political label for Nairn and Cawdor ward. "If your party asks you to vote for something that is not in the best interests of Nairn, what will you do?"

Update, three responses now

Two of the candidates standing for a political party have been asked this question in the popular Facebook group "Nairn out Town" already, where they are regulars. If you are one of the three other candidates standing for a political party, then please let us know the answer to that question via e-mail at info@gurnnurn.com or on that facebook group.  

The responses so far - simply in the order they arrive or were posted on social media: 

Paul Oldham SNP

I said I wouldn't post about the campaign here but the simple answer is that I would vote in the interests of Nairn.
In general the party allows for this, and indeed it's happened in the past in 2014 when our two SNP cllrs for Nairn voted against the party and council (which was then SNP lead!) to get a refund of £187,000 to the Common Good Fund.
More generally I recommend anyone who wants to know more about me and my views to read my Substack blog which you can find here https://paul.nairn.scot and also, if you wish, sign up to get it delivered to you via email.
If elected I intend to continue to use that to keep the people of the ward informed as to what's going on with Highland Council.
 
Kevin Reid LibDem
 
 I have to say i would vote for Nairn everytime. Lib Dems also allow for this. This is why i have created my own page and i am trying to make it easier for people to get in touch. The more feedback we can recieve the easier it is to represent the overall view of Nairn.

Marjory Smith Alba

Thanks for the question. I would always vote with my conscience and principles on any given matter and would not place a vote that was detrimental to the people I'd been elected to represent in Nairn and Cawdor, in the unlikely eventuality that the party attempted to instruct me to do so. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Monday, March 28, 2022

Nairn's new Community Orchard - a huge thank you to everyone who made it possible!

Thanks to everyone who made this possible. 78 fruit trees planted on Saturday!

Kirsty Ellen who did so much behind the scenes progressing it all with Highland Council; Mick Haymer the amenities manager for his suggestions and advice, Hamish and Veronica of NRCC who first mooted this idea three years ago. All the folks in the orchard group who worked so hard up to and including the day itself, likewise Green Hive and Keeping Nairnshire Colourful. Michael Green for letting us loose on his mountain of wood chip mulch. Mags Nicholson of Househill Farm for the donation of seaweed fertiliser and further funds for trees. Mary Heggie for three trees from Tom's plot. Nairn BID too who made a substantial donation to increase the number of trees. Mandy Murray for bringing along the Nairn Festival flags and adding a touch of fabulous colour to the day. All those who purchased a tree and brought it along, we had originally planned to plant 20 (a figure that had been constantly revised upwards to 50) but the final total speaks for itself and the generosity of folk in Nairn..

On the day so many individuals and groups who worked hard to get through the very tough turf, great to see Comann nam Pàrant and NRCC personnel too on the day.

There were others who had to go elsewhere after massive logistical efforts early in the morning. Huge thank you to Gordy Milne, Mike Bray and Dave Thoules who got another source of mulch and a lot of trees and materials to the site. Thank you all for your hard work and positive vibes during the planting – it was a fantastic morning and looking forward to doing similar stuff with everyone in the future. Nairn rocks!

If anyone thinks I’ve forgotten someone please PM me and I’ll put them in. If you would like to go on the Nairn Orchard Network mailing list for future events, workshops etc, then please PM or e-mail info@gurnnurn.com

 
Cruthachadh ubhal-ghort coimhearsnachd. Bràigh a' Chladh. Inbhir Narann. Disathairne 26 Màrt 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Michael Green, Independent Candidate for the Nairn and Cawdor ward has a project he'd like to pursue if elected to Highland Council on May the 5th - A Nairn Waste Busters?

NWSCC - Another "physical" meeting - Monday 28th of March at 6.30 pm in the Community & Arts Centre

Nairn West & Suburban Community Council

Monthly meeting, 6.30 pm Mon 28 Mar 2022, Nairn Community & Arts Centre***

PROCEDURAL NOTE: following the interim elections held on 3 March to fill vacancies on the existing NW&SCC, Highland Council (Ward Manager Lewis Hannah) proposes to chair the initial stages of this regular monthly meeting (which they are describing as an “inaugural” or “establishment” meeting).

This is to oversee the appointment of office-bearers to the three (or four) formal committee positions which – following the resignations of the previous incumbents – have been filled on an interim basis with effect from 29 November 2021 in accordance with Standing Order 2.1(e).

The appointed Chair will then take over and preside for the regular business meeting on the basis of this proposed draft agenda.

DRAFT AGENDA

1. Introduction and Apologies

2. Minutes of previous meeting (24 Jan 2022 – copies already circulated)

3. Matters Arising (not otherwise listed as separate items)

4. Financial Report

5. Sandown Common Good: the further consultation

6. HLH fees, leisure & rec spend, CG maintenance

7. Maggot waste disposal/Harbour St toilets

8. Tourism Strategy/Visitor Management planning

9. Port of Ardersier – implications of redevelopment

10. New Nairn Academy and future of Library

11. Dialogue with other Highland CCs

12. IMFLDP and local sites (Nairn East, Nairn South, Delnies)

13. Place-Based Investment Funding – process and projects

14. Seamens’ Hall

15. Questions/Comments from the Public

16. AOCB

17. Next meeting

*** IMPORTANT NOTE: This will again be a “physical” CC meeting, held in public. Local residents are welcome to attend. All participants will be required to provide contact details, confirm no evidence of Covid symptoms, respect social distancing, comply with the precautions required by the Centre venue, and wear masks throughout the meeting except when invited to speak.

 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Tomorrow (22 03 22) 11-12.15 - free online lecture “Gaelic Place names of Moray, their origins, development and treatment,”

A bheil thu a’ fuireach ann am Moireibh no a bheil uidh agad anns an sgìre sin?
A-màireach air “teams”
• 1100-1215 “Gaelic Place names of Moray, their origins, development and treatment,” an on-line input by Dr Jake King. The activities room at Elgin Library has also been booked so people without digital access can come along.
Dr Jacob King was awarded a PhD at the University of Edinburgh in Scottish river-names in 2008 and in the same year began working for Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba, the organisation responsible for providing authoritative forms of Gaelic place-names for use in the public sphere. He is the author of a number of articles, including a column about place-names in the Gaelic page of The Scotsman; he is also co-author of the Scottish Natural Heritage `Gaelic in the Landscape' series. In 2019, he released Scottish Gaelic Place-names: The Collected Works of Charles M. Robertson. His book The A-Z of Scotch Whisky Place-names is coming out in March.
Email: Karen.Delaney@moray.gov.uk for the Teams link

 

Friday, March 18, 2022

String chamber group Kammerphilharmonie Europa play a lovely programme of Corelli, Neruda, Bach, Elgar, Rachmaninov and Mozart this Saturday (19th) 7.30 at Nairn Community and Arts Centre. All welcome, tickets on the door!

String chamber group Kammerphilharmonie Europa play a lovely programme of Corelli, Neruda, Bach, Elgar, Rachmaninov and Mozart this Saturday (19th) 7.30 at Nairn Community and Arts Centre. All welcome, tickets on the door!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Next Nairn River CC meeting Wednesday 16th March



A public meeting of the Nairn River Community Council

will be held online via Zoom on

Wednesday, 16th March 2022 7:30 PM

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Former chair of Community Council is incandescent with the proposal to move the library to the new Nairn Academy - "What utter nonsense! – Come on Nairn – wake up and smell the coffee!"

Sheena Baker, former Chair of Nairn West and Suburban CC, told the Gurn:

"What utter nonsense! – Come on Nairn – wake up and smell the coffee!

Moving the library to the New Academy – it beggars’ belief that folks (including elected members) have even given this any mileage!

What is the BID Board of Directors agreed policy on this? I have not been able to get an answer to that. Have they had an emergency zoom Directors meeting? If not, why not?

The very raison d'etre for the BID was to bring footfall and growth to the centre of Nairn. If this suggestion gets off the drawing board it will fly in the face of their reason for existing. This is the year they need to prove they have muscle and that they are acting for their full and opted in membership. Finding nice words to oppose the suggestion just is not enough. They should be spearheading the fight against this ridiculous suggestion. The BID will soon need to be voted in for another five-year period. This suggestion needs to be something they oppose, really flex their muscle on and prove that they have, as an organisation, substance and standing.

Whether you liked the lady or not – the words NO, No, No come to mind. That is what Nairn should be shouting from every rafter in the town. If the cost of building the proposed new Academy cannot stack up without removing the library from the town centre to within the grounds of the new academy then clearly something is very wrong with the forecast and budget,

Why should the centre of Nairn be consigned to even more reduction of footfall on the back of a simply stupid, some might say farcical, suggestion from Highland Council? I include in that statement everyone involved in the planning of the new Academy. Repositioning the library to the outskirts of the town is simply a very poorly thought out, ill-conceived some may say crackpot plan. It is wrong from all angles. Why should town folks have to use diesel and petrol to go to the library or wait on a town bus powered by diesel to spend 20 plus minutes getting there and then at least that getting back. This is supposed to be the era of COP26 and ECO planning. I am sorry, I just cannot see how this suggestion fits in, it has no ECO points of merit that I can think of.

The A96 is already overloaded but it appears there are those planning this move who think it would be a good idea to add to that congestion and the resulting vehicle emissions.

What about older folks of a frailer nature being possibly bounced by younger exuberant pupils. I am sure that they would not intend to do anything like that, but it could and more than likely would happen. Then there are the clearance issues of folks wandering around the school premises and young children. They will have an open door to being able to get in contact with pupils. Policing that by the school would be just another burden and also needs to be considered.

I could go on, however I live in hope that others may put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards and find words to encourage the folks of Nairn to let their voices be heard and not let yet another disaster of a decision be decreed on us from Highland Council.

Please, please find some way to let your views be heard and kick this silly suggestion back into the long grass never to be raised again!"


Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Consultation on moving the Library from the High Street to the new Nairn Academy

 The Highland High Life site reads:

"Public consultation for the inclusion of Nairn Library into the proposed new school and community campus at Duncan Drive, Nairn.

It is proposed to move the public library from its existing High Street location to the site of the agreed new Nairn Academy School and Community Campus at Duncan Drive, creating a new community Library. The documents in the ‘Downloads’ section will provide you with the following information:
A list of benefits to the proposal
Examples of contemporary Highland library interiors giving an indication of how the new community library space may look.
Examples of current programmes of activities and events on offer in our co-located libraries

We would welcome your feedback on the proposal. To leave feedback or comments please complete the Nairn Library Consultation Form and either Email it to nairn.library@highlifehighland.com or print it and hand it in at Nairn Library by close of business on Friday 25th March 2022."

An NRCC spokesperson told the Gurn:

Despite Community Councils requesting the physical consultation to take place over several weeks High Life Highland have restricted it to between 7th March and 11th March. The on-line consultation is from 7th March to 25th March. "

Sunday 13th March at 7.30 pm - opera in the community centre

"Brighten up your weekend with a trip to the opera! Young vibrant and very talented Opera Bohemia present Mozart's Marriage of Figaro in a new shortened English version, retaining all the wonderful songs and humour. Nairn Community and Arts Centre on Sunday 13th March at 7.30 pm. Tickets in advance from NCAAC or on the door."


Monday, March 07, 2022

Gurn twitter account - usually a lot of interesting stuff

We're old media now too, most news in Nairn breaking over on Facebook these days but we still have our moments from time to time. And don't forget that the Tuesday edition of the Inverness Courier carries a lot of Nairn news too from local journalist Donald Wilson.

In the meantime if there's not much being posted here it's worth having a look at the Gurn twitter account. Quite a lot happens in the Nairn twittersphere these days and you can scroll down the wee twitter box on the right hand side as far as you like to see what the latest craic is. You don't have to have an account to look at tweets either. 

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Sunset over Sandown - Picture Sheena Baker


 

Police Scotland: Appeal after two attempted thefts in Auldearn

Officers are appealing for information after two attempted thefts at properties in Auldearn in recent days.

The first happened at a property off Churchyard Road in the village between 7.30am and 4.30pm on Monday, 28 February.

The householder found that their property had been entered and rooms searched, though nothing was stolen.

The second happened around 2.40am on Wednesday, 2 March where an unknown person gained entry to a house on Montrose Avenue. They were disturbed before leaving the property, again with nothing stolen.

Detective Sergeant Louise Thewlis said: “We are investigating both of these incidents and keeping an open mind about links between the two, although there are similarities.

“On both occasions, the person responsible is believed to have gained access through an unlocked door so I would urge people in Auldearn to be vigilant and make sure their property is as secure as it can be.

“I would also urge anyone who believes they may have any information or who has seen any suspicious activity around the area to get in touch with us.

“You can call 101, quoting incident 2404 of 1 March or 0278 of 2 March. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

UPDATE collection now on for Saturday 5th as Tonight's game postponed - (weds 2nd March 2022) - at their match against Fort William, Nairn County FC will be collecting a list of items for the people of the Ukraine -

  UPDATE collection now on Saturday

Unfortunately due to a frozen pitch tonight’s match v

has been postponed. For those that planned on donating items for the Ukraine collection, please note we will be doing a collection at Saturday’s home game v Strathspey Thistle.

 The items required are:

🔵 Blankets/Sleeping Bags (Need to be unused)
🟡 Toiletries
🔵 Sanitary Products
🟡 Nappies
🔵 Washing Powder
🟡 First Aid Items
🔵 Medicine
🟡 Disposable Tableware

 More details on the County Facebook Page here.

 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

SNP Candidate for Nairnshire ward introduces himself

"Welcome to my newsletter. I’m standing as a candidate for the SNP in the Nairn & Cawdor ward on Highland Council this May and I’m intending to use this mailing list to tell you about me and what I want to achieve as your councillor. Then, if I’m elected, I will use it to keep you informed as to what’s going on, both on Highland Council and beyond, so I would encourage you to subscribe now using the option at the bottom of this post." More from Paul Oldham in the links below.

 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tom Heggie - some sad news this morning

 

It has been announced that, sadly, Tom Heggie passed away in the early hours of today. His wife, Mary, and family ask that people give them some time to come to terms with what has happened and refrain from calling for the moment.

Nairn loon, Darren Adam, now an LBC presenter who started work at MFR aged nine writes about the time that MFR hit the airwaves in an article for the Spectator that will bring back memories for local folk

 

Donald, Ian and Donald sleeping out overnight at Station Park 22/23 February to raise funds for Prostate Scotland.

We went up for a wee blether with the fundraisers at the Wee County's Station Park ground. The fundraising page is still open here. And the Prostate Scotland site is here.  In the video Donald opens up about his experience, how the diagnosis affected him and how he is so grateful for the prompt action of NHS Scotland.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Ombudsman Complaint Against Highland Council Upheld re Town Centre Project -a joint statement by Nairn Community Councils

 The Gurn has received a copy of a statement by Nairn Community Councils:
 
Nairn River Community Council and Nairn West and Suburban Community Council welcome the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman’s findings and decision in relation to the Highland Council’s decision-making, funding and delivery of the town centre new housing/offices building.
The Ombudsman’s verdict is unequivocal. Highland Council got it wrong:
• the Council failed to follow appropriate process during decision-making on the Nairn town centre project and its funding;
• there was no evidence that suitable projects were invited, identified and considered;
• the taking of decisions in closed Ward Business Meetings was inappropriate, contrary to good governance and lacking in transparency;

These conclusions echo very closely the comments and objections originally raised by local Community Councils and others – which were ignored and dismissed at the time by Highland Council.

This outcome shows that those local concerns were fully justified, and that it was right to submit a formal complaint to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO).


We believe those responsible ought to be held accountable for the failings now identified.
This is not a minor oversight or a matter of procedural detail. It was not an error by a single individual. There was a systemic failure.


The Council did not comply with its own rules.

Those who took the decisions on the spending of a substantial Town Centre Fund allocation in Nairn were neither open nor transparent.

Instead of using the funding to “repurpose existing town centre buildings… to improve access and infrastructure”, they ignored the existing agreed and approved Town Centre Regeneration Plan and channelled the available money into an entirely new build, a project which the Ombudsman has pointed out, was “unsupported by documentation”;


The SPSO report highlights the fact that “no other project options were invited, explored or considered.” At no stage were any other proposals assessed or ranked – as required by the Council’s own policy guidance – in the Nairnshire Area Committee.


Indeed the Ombudsman notes that the principles of the Council’s localism agenda – bringing decision making closer to communities – were observed by other Area Committees, but not in Nairn. In commenting on the process in Lochaber (which the Council had cited in its own evidence) the SPSO verdict points out that

“…It was precisely this sort of decision-making which was lacking in Nairn. Rather than add weight to the Council’s position, this evidence instead highlights what was wrong with the decision-making process in Nairn.”


The SPSO verdict spells out that the Council’s conduct was “contrary to good governance”.
• In plain language, what happened in Nairn was a stitch-up, decided and delivered
behind closed doors.
• Nairn’s elected Councillors, and the officials involved, failed to observe the principles,
and the practice, that the rules require and that we have the right to expect.


The SPSO decision requires the Council to apologise for this failure, and to take steps to improve the way they operate.

That is about the least we might expect. But what remains, in the centre of our town, is a lasting monument to the unsatisfactory conduct and actions of our elected representatives and the local authority.


It is even more disappointing that those in Highland Council who were responsible for monitoring the process and applying agreed procedure not only failed to do so, but were actually complicit in the actions and decision-making which the SPSO has found to have fallen short.
We believe that those who did not comply with proper procedure and those who are responsible for, or sought to excuse, the shortcomings identified by the SPSO ought to be held directly accountable for those failures.

Without such accountability, it is difficult to see how public trust in the integrity of the Council’s decision-making can be restored.


Nairn West & Suburban CC
Nairn River CC
February 2022

Town centre carry-on, time to name names!

This week Nairn town centre and its new building are on the front page of the Courier. A good moment for an update from the Gurn’s urban design correspondent:

“ With impeccable timing, in the same week that the Highland Council was publicly condemned by the Ombudsman for its handling of the planning and delivery of the new housing and office block in the town centre, officials have sent out an invitation to selected local recipients to suggest a name for the building.

The naming of new streets and buildings is clearly taken very seriously by the Council, They have a dedicated department responsible for the task, the Corporate Address Gazetteer team or CAG. Their invitation comes with a detailed 3-page guidance note, available here. [https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/1307/guidance_notes_for_street_naming] 


This is clearly an opportunity not to be missed, and a possible source of inspiration. The past example of "Boaty McBoatface" is an illustration of what creative public discussion can produce....


So suggestions are invited. The Gurn’s Gaelic adviser will of course be expected to scrutinise and translate all proposals to make sure none is a rude word in that language.

"The Carbuncle" is already too familiar and over-used. But in a nod to the prospective occupants of the ground floor, perhaps “The Scab” is a possibility?

“Alcatraz", “The Lubyanka" or "Colditz" come to mind, given the grim architecture and prison-block structure.




For those with literary pretensions, “Bleak House” is an option, or to be more up to date, “The Fortress of Mordor”.

But our correspondent's favoured suggestions are:

"Desolation Row" – after the epic song by the great Bob Dylan; or "Gormenghast" – from the Mervyn Peake novels. Described as “a vast, ugly, ponderous castle of stone... stagnant, insular and introspective ....whose remaining inhabitants centre their lives on the rituals surrounding the ruling family of Groan who occupy the castle." That seems remarkably apt in all kinds of ways.

So come on, Gurnshire, seize the moment. The Council may have trashed the agreed Town Centre Regeneration Plan. They may not have bothered to consult the community about the location, design or purpose of the new structure. They may have ignored all the critical comments. But shouldn’t we be grateful for small mercies? We are at least being given a chance to name the new building. Let’s do it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Topics detailed in the NWSCC minutes of their meeting held on January the 24th

"Traffic and speeding on A96 and parking on Moss-side Road, Air quality and exhaust emissions, Developer Contributions (Dcs), Flood prevention, Sandown: the further consultation, Grant Street Store & Yard, James’ Kiosk, BMX track on the Links, Harbour toilets, Planning for new Academy, Seamens’ Hall, Ardersier Port." 

More here on the NWSCC website.

BMX on the Links?

Nairn West and Suburban CC minutes for their January meeting read:

"There was considerable discussion of this topic, and a number of points were raised. It was acknowledged that the local cycling group (Revolution CT) did valuable work in promoting cycle use. But there was deep disquiet that this proposal had only been discovered by chance from Ward Business meeting minutes obtained under FoI. Councillors had apparently considered and decided the request to use the Links with no public mention or briefing, no notification to the CCs, and no evident consideration of the potential impact and implications. This was seen as unacceptable. It was extremely regrettable that this proposal had not been subjectto any form of public consultation."

 More here on the NWSCC site.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Nairn River CC meeting 16th February 2022 7.30 pm


 

Adult learning opportunities in Nairn 10th January – 31st March 2022

Adult learning opportunities in Nairn 

I would be grateful if you could share with your contacts etc.  I am sure many folk still don’t know we are here to support them."  

Below are some of the learning opportunities in a flickr slideshow. You can also see the posters here if having difficulty with the slideshow. 

A time table of the learning opportunites is available here.


 

Cothroman ionnsachaidh inbheach ann an Inbhir Narann

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Very interesting reading on the Nairn River Community Council website - a range of important topics - make a cuppa or pour a dram and have a look

 "2022 has so far been very busy on the Common Good front for both of Nairn’s (former Royal Burgh) community councils. We hope that this year we will see long awaited progress on an improved ‘governance’ structure for these valuable Nairn assets with the local oversight we have been asking for for 25 years since we lost Nairn District Council"

And then there's miscoding errors, are the parking charges on Common Good ground illegal and a withdrawn planning application.

 More here folks.

340K for cludgies elsewhere – why not Nairn? C’mon please what about the Harbour Street toilets?

A press release on the Highland council states: “Two Caithness projects to benefit from Coastal Communities Fund”states:

“Funding support of £50,000 has also been provided to The Highland Council to go towards the £254,000 of refurbishment works to Wick Whitechapel Public Conveniences.” More here: 

Also the Ross-shire Journal reports online.

“Holyrood's Place-Based Investment Programme (PBIP) gave Highland Council £1,963,000 of ring-fenced money for 2021/22, with area distribution of the grant agreed by members of the economy and infrastructure committee in September last year.”

“It included £6,323 of support for the provision of play equipment in the WRSL ward in consultation with amenities staff and £6,323 to support the provision of public toilets.”More here:

Meanwhile, again on the Highland Council Press Release pages: “Caithness projects to benefit from funding boost”

“The committee also agreed £89,000 of the Caithness PBIP allocation will go to the Whitechapel Road,Wick, Public Convenience refurbishment project  to support the regeneration of the town centre.” More here

 

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Maybole's bypass opens - Gurn's transport correspondent suggests "time to invite the new Transport Minister to visit and observe the HGV traffic on the A96 (outside Rosebank Primary School)"

Back in June 2020 we quoted the Ayrshire Daily News:

"Great news for the historic market town of Maybole in Ayrshire, as the Maybole Regeneration Project confirms it has secured £7.5 million in funding and this week (4th June 2020) launches a dedicated website,  www.regeneratingmaybole.scot."  

We then made further comment in this article: Maybole's 7.5 million funding success highlights delay in Nairn regeneration? 

Now Maybole has seen its bypass open.

The Gurn's transport correspondent Richard Gerring writes: " Great news for Maybole. I note the HGV levels are at about 10%.  The bypass is long overdue.

I recall the A96 HGV traffic at Nairn being about the same level if not higher. 
In any case it is clear that the road safety improvement is considered to be a very important aspect of the new bypass on the A77 trunk road. 
I urge the Nairn councillors and the community to invite the new Transport Minister to visit and observe the HGV traffic on the A96 (outside Rosebank Primary School)."