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. [] 

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,"  

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)."