1 Details of Community Participation Body
Name of Your Community Body:
Nairn River Community Council
Chair Tommy Hogg Secretary Mandy Lawson
( secretary Mandy Lawson )
16 Wilson Street Nairn IV12 4NY
Contact Telephone number: 07712 633342
Website (if available): www.nairnrivercc.org
Please ensure that you include a copy of your written constitution or governance documentation if available.
2 Name of the public service authority to which the request is being made: (Note 1)
3 Name of any other public service authority which the community participation body requests should participate in the outcome improvement process: (Note 2)
All Nairn and Nairnshire Community Planning Partners including NHS Highland.
Scottish Water, Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland, SEPA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and any other public agencies involved in supporting Nairn infrastructure and economy
UHI /Inverness College and other public education bodies
4 The outcome that your community participation body want to improve
All outcomes contained in the Highland Outcomes Improvement Plan 2017-27 but in particular
Community Participation and Dialogue -
'doing it differently'
'building relationships and trust'
'listen and act'
Community Safety and Resilience
''community led action, inclusion, resilience, response'
' information sharing and collaborative approach'
5 Please tell us the reasons why the community participation body should participate in an outcome improvement process: (Note 4)
Because the Community Empowerment Act Scotland ( 2015) says in section 2 that 'participation with communities lies at the heart of community planning. and that CPPs must support community bodies to participate in all parts of the process, in the development, design and delivery of plans and in review, revision and reporting of progress.'
Because at present Nairn communities are ill served by inadequate community planning, infrastructure planning and local consultation structures.
There is no ' locality plan' with locally agreed outcomes for Nairn and Nairnshire yet in place,which has been developed by public agencies in collaboration with local communities, for local communities in our area. Thus the above outcomes from the Highland Outcome Improvement Plan which relate to localism, and delivery of greater community empowerment, are being largely ignored and bypassed in practice, at Nairn and Nairnshire local community level, by Highland Council and partners, in direct contravention of the Community Empowerment Act.
Because we still have a 'developer led' development planning culture which demonstrated only token engagement with local people and communities in local planning and policy making, and is failing to be responsive or proactive in attending to and addressing local infrastructure and community needs.
This has got steadily worse since Nairn District Council was disbanded in 1996, and is now at crisis point, with multiple decisions being imposed on Nairn communities without any commitment to consultation by local authorities.
Recent examples include
- the current draft 'Parking Policy for Highland' due to go to EDI on 17 May with no prior local consultation at Nairn level,( we first saw it on 1 May)
- proposed charges for parking in 4 Nairn locations ( 3 of which are on Common Good Land which is an asset owned by and to be used solely for the benefit of the people of Nairn) . These damaging and presumably incompetent proposals were approved in March 18 Highland Council budget, without any opportunity for community input or dialogue and are thus being imposed on Nairn communities without consultation
- the recent decision made at NHS Highland level to withdraw NHS dentist services at Nairn Town and County Hospital again with no prior consultation at Nairn level.
- a development planning process which routinely neglects 'infrastructure first' 'right first time' and 'listen and act' planning principles. Current pending Nairn applications for Kingsteps, Forres Road and Sainsbury site( all in public domain on e-planning portal ) illustrate how commercial developers are being permitted to change plans multiple times without re submission to get plans approved, despite multiple public objections, contravention of previous development plans, and well documented pressure on local infrastructure
We need to see our public agencies working effectively with developers and service planners in the interests of our local community, by securing investment in underpinning infrastructure, and appropriate developer contributions, before new development is permitted.
With more than 800 new houses built at Lochloy over a decade and more to come we have growing road congestion, overflowing sewers, flooding, water pressure problems, schools over capacity and falling apart, health services overstretched. This needs to change.
Our community has lost trust that their views and needs are being listened to or acted on by planners and other decision makers at Highland level.
Furthermore as a Community Council we are finding the current local government climate in Highland to be actively hostile to the principles of community engagement, consultation and collaboration, enshrined in the Community Empowerment Act 2015, as we have just suffered 60% cuts to Community Council operational funds, and are aware that a previous participation request from another local Community Council in Nairn was recently rejected by Highland Council without any support offered to resubmit.
We ( NairnRiverCC) along with several other community led bodies are currently raising concerns with senior HC management, Planning and Community Planning leads and Scottish local government minister, at how the current development planning and community planning process in Highland is not meeting local community needs in Nairn, by failing to implement the core principles of the Community Empowerment Act 2015.
6 Please note the knowledge, expertise and experience the community participation body has in relation to the outcome: (Note 5)
Communities comprise local users, consumers and workers in public services which we fund with our taxes, and local businesses who also pay business rates. The people of Nairn understand how the local economy works, for locals and visitors and what our residents need. We also live daily with outcomes of any failures by public authorities to manage effectively budgets, service planning and public consultation. Thus we have first hand experience of Nairn's road congestion, overflowing sewers, flooding, water pressure problems, litter, overcrowded and crumbling schools, and overstretched health and dental services.
We know that Nairn is not getting its fair share of Highland resources, and our community wants to be more empowered to influence how our Council and business taxes are being spent. We also want to see proper local governance, and control over how our own Common Good assets are being used to benefit our town. We expect the next Nairnshire Plan to be community led, in line with the principles of the Community Empowerment Act, and look forward to leading that process in partnership with local authorities, rather than being told what has been decided at Highland Council HQ in Inverness after it has already been agreed and rubber stamped by officials, with our elected members sometimes only in the loop a matter of days before.
7 How will the outcome will be improved because of the involvement of your community participation body: (Note 6)
Public Authorities in Highland will deliver for Nairn on the principles of the Community Empowerment Act by ensuring that
- local services and facilities are developed and delivered which meet identified local needs. ( including housing)
- the interests, economic resilience and wellbeing of Nairn's local communities take priority over a centralised Highland Council agenda.
- best value is derived for Nairn communities from council and business taxes and local Common Good assets
- due diligence and an infrastructure first approach is observed in public authority relationships with commercial developers.
- local plans are made more effective by drawing fully on local knowledge, expertise and experience available through Community Councils and other community led bodies
- local communities have a key role in local planning in line with CEA
- public funds are not wasted in implementing plans or services which are unworkable or based on unrealistic revenue projections
- no proposals affecting Nairn are permitted to go ahead without a proper evidence base, business case and effective public consultation
We cite again as examples of recent practice which require 'doing it differently', the parking charges proposals and draft parking policy currently being imposed on Nairn by Highland Council without any local consultation or collaboration .
Such ill thought through proposals are not only financially unrealistic and wasteful, but also potentially damaging to Nairn's community resilience and local and tourist economy.
8 What type of community participation body are you? (Note 7)
a) A community controlled body
b) A community council
c) A body designated by the Scottish Ministers as a community participation body
d) A group without a written constitution
9 Additional Information (Note 8)