Nairn in Uproar!

September 24, 2010 · Filed Under Development, Nairn 

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Nairn in uproar? Or so you’d think reading this week’s Nairnshire Telegraph.

I can’t remember the last time I read such a load of NIMBY crap – everything must be objected to because, well, we’re a small town and equally size-minded about it!

1. Say no to green energy!

Nairn River Council is to object against the possible siting of 5 wind turbines at the Hill of Nigg in Easter Ross.

Apparently, the reasoning is that because so much of the north-east Scottish coast is visible from Nairn, that Nairn therefore has the right to control what it sees. What the…are Nairnites closet Vikings or something, demanding control of the coast of Sutherland?!

Oh, but, the view from the beach will look different! There’s something to cry about. Apparently the sight of the dirty oil drilling platforms and greasy oil tankers is completely acceptable, but the threatened appeareance of a couple of distant windmills will ruin Nairn!

To that all I can say is that it’s easy to object to wind farms when you don’t live near a nuclear power station, or gas, oil, or coal fired power stations.

And that it’s time to get your heads out of the sand – my generation grew up fighting for a greener planet because the older generation were happy to sit on their behinds and poison it, reasoning that so long as they were dead by then, it wasn’t their concern.

I’ll be happy to see all those idiot Nimby’s against wind farms vow first that they’ll give up their energy-guzzling lifestyles – that will put them in a position to claim moral authority. Until then, it’s all just silly hot air. And that’s recyclable. :)

Whatever the criticisms of green energy methods, the methods of the past are not the choices of the future.

And seriously, when was the last time anybody drove down the A9 and exclaimed “Ugh, look at that disgusting wind farm!”? Never heard it myself – we actually enjoy seeing them. Novelty value and all that.

2. No feeding swans!

Apparently, it is no longer humans who attracts rats, but instead, lone men feeding carrots to swans.

Apparently, until Joe Telfer built Swan Island, no one ever thought to feed the local bird life bread on the river.

Or so it appears from a recent River Community Council meeting as reported by the Nairnshire.

Or is it the case that people have always normally fed the local birds their scraps of bread, but that there’s nothing worse than some local man standing away from the crowd a little to take an interest of those things others would take for granted?

And Coucillor Graham Marsden joins the idiot camp for suggesting Swan Island was built without planning approval.

River Community Council members questioned whether or not the island was an asset? Let’s turn that on it’s head – are these same objectors also an asset to the Nairn community?! :D

3. Town centres for sleeping and car parking, not business!

Oh, boy – who would have thought a smoking area would cause such a fuss? But apparently having a social club with an open-air smoker’s area – in a place where a social club used to be but in the days when you could smoke inside public buildings – is going to be a great problem for some.

To highlight what may well be the idiot quote for the year: “The houses in the street where I live were there in 1892 so we were there first.”

Um, that’s the town centre end of a narrow road coming off the high street? As in, part of the town centre? The town centre that the rest of the town was built around?

I can appreciate why there is a residential pressure on the high street, but let’s stop being ridiculous – town centres need to be allowed to be…um, town centres. Instead, some people think the high street should be nothing more than a car park. It’s even been council policy for over a decade. I can think of better aspirations for a town.

But others disagree, hence why we’ve seen the monstrous waste of cash on a “semi-pedestrianisation” of the high street – widen the pavements 1.5 feet, remove a few car parking places, disruption over the summer – and all for what gain? From nearly a million pounds in funding surely we have something worthwhile to show for it?

The self-styled “Association of Nairn Businesses” lobbied against full pedestrianisation, so perhaps they can tell us in business terms what we’ve gained from the current farce? And in what way what we’ve got presents a customer-friendly environment that will help rival the coming Sainsburys? After all, they whinged about that enough already.

In the meantime, the idiocy of local politics was more that highlighted by Councillor Roddie Balfour who protested that people shouldn’t be able to submit their views to the council planning office online. I’ve already heard people tell me they don’t need the internet – apparently it’s some dangerous new-fangled craze or something.

And then the most astonishing racism from Councillor Laurie Fraser who continued the idiotic rant to protest that some of the planning support came from Muslims!

OMG – is this how small-minded Nairn is?? Come on – the rest of the world has entered the 21st century, but some people in Nairn are barely out of the 19th!!


Okay, to be fair, some of the overall attitudes are to be expected – no doubt there are a lot of people in the town who never travel much, so they’re not used to seeing wind farms of any scale. So wind farms remains unusual, unknown, and strange to those who are happy for other parts of the UK to be poisoned in order to provide them with electricity.

And the wildlife? Sure, let’s feel free to question everything, but let’s be considered and rational about it. With or without Swan Island, people are going to feed the birds on the river, regardless. They always have, they always will.

And the town centre? Well, the design of the town didn’t give much thought for 20th century transport needs, so residential areas are crammed as tightly as possible against the high street. It’s a Gordian Knot of a problem that without new traffic planning is going to ensure residential pressures remain on the town centre.

Which isn’t helped when all the Highland Council can think of, when considering regeneration of town centre sites … is to build more residential properties. Specifically, high density high-rise flats at every opportunity – as they are now trying to with the derelect properties by the Somerfield, as also reported in the Nairnshire.

Nairn has always reportedly been a place of extremes, and certainly there are some considerable modern pressures – not least the consistent push in urban planning to join up Nairn to Inverness as a suburb. Certainly the Highland Council gives the impression of being unhelpful, with development proposals being disconnected, and lacking intelligence and consideration for Nairn’s unique position, and it’s potential for the future. Except in the most bureaucratic give-or-take legalese.

But it doesn’t help that there appears a general resistance not simply to change, but to anything different. Being burned out by the failings of the harbour-side development to create a commercial centre, and the attempt to force planning for a big town centre supermarket which has left the entrance to Nairn derelict and repellent, are understandable.

Looking at Nairn now, in the 21st century, where do we want to go? Only forwards and into the future. It takes a reasonable mind to accept and embrace that, and I’m sure there are plenty in Nairn – who will question whether something is right because it already looks potentially wrong. But there’s no longer room to object to everything just because it’s new, or different.


8 Responses to “Nairn in Uproar!”

  1. Greg on September 25th, 2010 10:01 pm

    Why stop there Brian ? Sandown, wind turbines on the Dava, redevelopment of the former Lodgehill Clinic site – we don’t miss an opportunity to object to anything in Nairn, do we ?

  2. Brian Turner on September 26th, 2010 12:34 pm

    Why stop there? Because I’m criticising the patently ridiculous. Is that really worth standing up for?

    It seems there’s a vocal minority who will object to anything seen as new or different, if the opinions published regularly in the Nairnshire Telegraph are anything to go by. What is even more disconcerting is when it’s some of our own councillors being petty minded.

    What’s more damaging to Nairn – that these narrow opinions are left unchallenged in the regional press, or that I dare to criticise them in a personal blog?

  3. Bill (Scotland) on September 26th, 2010 1:45 pm

    Because I’m criticising the patently ridiculous.

    Indeed. It is all very well to complain about the retrenchement of the Highland Council behemoth necessitated by the squandering of funds over the past 13 years, it seems, but totally out of order to look at ways of bringing investment and jobs into the economy; it is pitiful to observe the logic of some folk.

  4. Jason on September 26th, 2010 2:35 pm

    Hi Brian,

    I thought my point about 1892 was perfectly valid. The old Playhouse was a cinema then a social club. Good neighbours compared to a nightclub or sports bar. Council policy states they must balance the needs of commercial and residential interests in the town centre. Just because there used to be a social club there doesn’t mean it’s OK to have a sports bar. It was an opportunity to send a message that Nairn can do better. Instead the councillors went for the easy option.

    I totally agree with you re windfarms. I couldn’t believe the objection from the community council. Apparently a couple of turbines on the Sutors will be worse than the crumbling Regal? Yeah, right!

    And we really need a bit of vision for the Somerfield/old community centre mess. Flats above shops? What a joke. I’m all for change so let’s hope that idea is changed!

    All the best,
    Jason Rose.

  5. Brian Turner on September 26th, 2010 3:25 pm

    Jason, I agree the situation between residential and commercial pressures from the high street is a difficult situaiton, hence my comments after the rant.

    I really don’t understand the issue over an outdoor smoking area, though? Better in the building area, than on the street for potential trouble?

  6. Hilary Kirkby on September 29th, 2010 7:06 am

    I follow events in Nairn from the safety of my new home in the South of France. I lived in and around Nairn and Forres for more than 30 years and Nairn stood out always in my mind as a place where the locals always blamed somebody else for their own failures/shortcomings. If only they would look to the future and get off their backsides and do something positive themselves, perhaps they’d worry less about small issues that do little to impact on the quality of their lives. Nairn gave up and rolled over when the Eastgate Centre in Inverness was built; there’s been plenty of time to find a sense of purpose and direction since then, but instead we hear the same moans over and over again, all about trivia.

  7. Brian Turner on October 2nd, 2010 8:59 am
  8. Billy Fish on October 6th, 2010 6:55 pm

    So, you’ve written a blog complaining about people complaining…?

    I understand – I think. :o/