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.
“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
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.”