Nairn River Community Council
Comhairle Coimhearsnachd Abhainn Narann
Minutes of the meeting held on 18 April 2018 at the Nairn Community Centre
Members Present: 7
Tommy Hogg (TH)(Chair), Hamish Bain (HB), Mandy Lawson (ML)(Minutes), Veronica MacKinnon , Iain Bruce, Mike Henderson, Simon Noble,
Also Present :
Cllr Liz MacDonald ( Cllr LM)
Cllr Laurie Fraser (Cllr LF)
Cllr Peter Saggers ( Cllr PS)
John Dolan (Nairnshire Telegraph)
Plus 6 members of the public.
Apologies : Steven Bain,John Hume , Aidan McCormack, Paul McIvor, Cllr Tom Heggie (CllrTH)
Declarations of interest
No interests were declared
Minutes of last meeting held 21st March 2018
Meeting to be recorded electronically by Tommy Hogg and John Dolan
Chair reminded all present to notify any other recordings
Corrections in last minute - delete word ‘further’ re parking charges . Also amend 2 abstentions from vote to submit comments to Planning re Sainsbury plan - not 2 against.
Minutes approved, proposed by MLand seconded by Iain Bruce
Matters Arising from the Minutes
Cllor LM notified £35,000 cost of works(no need to tender as under 50k) Contractor is Mackenzie from Lochinver - 10 days work . Completion due 20 April , slight delay due to death of a worker on site from heart attack.
Cllor LM also shared latest data on Nairn’s housing stock from HC Housing Report for December People’s committee
Still to be harled and seating added . New Planning Enforcement officer Alan Bryce monitoring completion - Iain Bruce noted a need to tidy up landscaping around shelter
New Parking Policy for Highland
Cllor Macdonald noted that on 17 May a report will go before EDI committee to introduce a ‘ Parking Policy’ for Highland - with section on ‘localism’. Members and public present ( including Sheena Baker of local Assoc of Nairn Businesses) expressed surprise why this is the first we have heard of it, and why local communities have not been consulted or involved in development of this policy - This is a requirement under the Community Empowerment Act. Cllr LM said she would not get to see the report till a few days before EDI meeting 17 May but would try to share it with CC to give chance for input
ML suggested this could be grounds for a participation request to Highland Council to insist on community/CC involvement
Simon Noble -queried whether CC was a democratic body. This was refuted by several other members with reference to CC policy and procedure for decision making
Cuts to CC budgets
Cllor L M said that Karen McDermod would be in touch with all CCs in Highland to respond to concerns re cuts in CC operational budgets.
Common Good Register
Cllor LM confirmed that this awaits statutory guidance before being published in a common format/layout across Highland
ML read accounts
End March bank balance £7001. We hope to spend some of this on community engagement/public survey this year.
For year to end March 18- expenditure was £1651 including hall hire 455, advertising 150, insurance 85, donations 652, laptop 300 No spend on stationery and secretarial costs. Surplus of 870 from 17/18 £2491 HC grant.
For 18/19 budget drops by 60% to £1063. Grant not in bank yet.
We estimate that core running costs will use 80% of this budget, with hall hire up from £26 to £42 per month over the year,(in part due to longer meetings and more complex planning business), plus insurance and advertising ( for meetings)- This leaves £250 or so for other essential expenditure. Donations to civic events etc (last year Bus to Ship to Ship demo, Xmas lights, Highland Games) may not be viable unless we source other funds.
We will communicate our concerns to HC and Scot Gov - and ML will research CCs grants in other areas
Steven Bain our Treasurer will be preparing end of year accounts for AGM NRCC wish him well with his forthcoming wedding.
He plans to step down as Treasurer after AGM in June
No police report but Chair TH and Vice Chair HB gave update on Albert Street lights and other Traffic issues after recent public meeting. These lights are to be taken away, as traffic flow has improved in town centre, however still congestion further out of town and in Lochloy direction. Permanent safety barriers opposite Rosebank School will go up during summer months. There are also plans to alter markings and traffic light sequence at bottom of High Street Brae.
Re Lochloy lights -the public are encouraged to call the advertised helpline to report any problems as soon as possible - it was noted that traffic flow West to East slower that East to West through town.
ML to confirm and share traffic helpline number
Letter received from Kirsty Mills who may be interested in being a Youth Associate member - (this is an ex officio non voting role usually for under 21’s) We welcomed Kirsty to today’s meeting to see what we do. As she currently lives in Duncan Drive she plans also to sit in on Nairn South and Suburban CC next meeting
CC priorities 18/19 Action Plan-subgroup meeting update
Secretary has circulated note of this subgroup with proposals discussed, and gave a summary. Main topics were how we use Communications channels to promote our work and engage public, and how we will manage meetings and other activities on a 60% reduced budget in 2018/19
To save operating costs we may have to combine some meetings with other CCs or look at cheaper venues - those present felt that Community Centre was most convenient and accessible and we want to support this great public amenity. Secretarial fees for minute taking etc previously discussed were no longer affordable
We are still committed to engaging with residents so we still hope to use some of funds in bank to organise a public survey -( still exploring costs of Survation and UHI help but we will need local members and volunteers to do the ‘leg work’ and will need to agree appropriate questions/topics to gather info on public priorities
Secretary has already written to Ward Manager and Councillors to ask if any other help and support is available from Council to support CC operation and growing consultation remit in light of severe funding cuts to all Highland CCs
Re Communications - a recent poll about plans for a new McDonalds at Sainsbury site posted on NRCC Facebook page by a NRCC member( PM) attracted hundreds of hits and numerous abusive comments ( via Nairn Rocks link) about CC and HC members so had to be taken down within 24 hours.. The subgroup felt that this was not an effective way to consult the public as no time or resources as volunteers to monitor uncontrolled Facebook traffic 24/7 on other sites. It was proposed to only post material on www.nairnrivercc.org and link to other local pages from there, to avoid having to police wider postings. The majority of members present ( 5) voted to ‘retire’ the NRCC Facebook page for now, and only use www.nairnrivercc.org 1 member abstained and 1 against .
It was noted that effectiveness of a public survey depends on what questions you ask, and use of most appropriate channels to reach target audience so we need to agree priorities for this.
Nairn Community Partnership
The last meeting was on the 16th April with two sub groups meeting on Jobs and Spaces and Places which Peter Saggers attended and will be pulling together a report.
Current Planning Applications
It was noted at recent Ward Managers meeting with CC office bearers - that Councillors on Planning committee were permitted stay present to listen to these discussions if they didn’t comment.
Forres Road (Morganti Land - Deveron Homes)
Further NRCC submission 3 April now online
12 and 16 April 40 +new documents and drawings had been posted by developer - replacing most of previous plans. Only 19 original documents are now unchanged, with over 200 documents posted on site since December including 74 objections so far. Secretary noted the volume of work this represents for CC volunteer members to monitor and keep up with constantly changing plans.
VM noted that Highland’s Forestry Officer responses/objections were ignored and developers are now proposing a clear fell apart from 2 large trees. Also noted that a bird survey has not been done.
Kingsteps NA2 (MacDonald Land - Springfield)
Further NRCC submission 3 April is now online
Ongoing haggling between HC and different parties such as Transport Scotland was noted and developers designs keep changing. This raises two issues
1/At what point should a developer be asked to go back to the drawing board -and resubmit a new plan for further consultation
2/ 3 recent applications on table at same time which impact cumulatively on common services and infrastructure . HC should be asked to consider together the combined impact
Sainsbury site ( McDonalds and Home Bargains)
An online poll on Facebook suggested that 90% of around 800 were in favour of McDonalds, yet only 11 supportive comments were posted on the Planning site by local residents, with several querying litter and recycling arrangements and potential threat to High Street businesses. There are also objections from Highland’s Drainage team , and its own Development team note this plan contravenes the Highland wide Plan re out of town development Transport Scotland is still considering traffic impacts
Our recent NRCC submission of 3 April is consistent with our responses to other recent applications in Nairn, with focus on raising infrastructure first issues re pressure on drainage, traffic congestion, litter and contravening previous planning restrictions on food outlets
What can we do re a lack of joined up ness from Planning and get attention paid to infrastructure concerns with multiple applications pending. Cllr LFraser suggested writing to Director of Planning.
Consultation period for Sainsbury site extended till end April
Action point - Secretary to draft letter to Stuart Black and chair of SPAC ( planning committee and EDI committee s re planning concerns
New Planning Applications None in our area
Questions from public
Murray Macrae asked Highland Councillors if the Council will repair slabs at the Legion. Cllr LF said Yes
HB suggested making a list of outstanding actions for the Council which could be submitted in writing for response
A Lochloy resident asked if the Council could liaise with Scottish Water to resolve drainage issues on Lochloy site.( delayed SUDS adoption) as still confusion re who is responsible - Planning, Roads, Water
There was also a query about what was happening re the planned bridge over railway to Balmakeith from Lochloy - it was understand that 100k developer contribution was held on account.
Cllors to clarify status of developer contributions and progress for bridge from Lochloy to Balmakeith
Due to a letter from an NRCC member appearing in Nairnshire Telegraph citing personal opinions on current development plans at odds with NRCC majority position - the Secretary circulated the Community Councillor Code of Conduct and urged all members to familiarise themselves with its requirements -in particular in relation to Openness, Respect and Objectivity - It was noted that the member in question had not explicitly stated in the NT letter that these were his personal views and not those of NRCC , as specified in the Code of Conduct with regard to communications in the media/public domain. Now that his personal views were widely known there was a risk that the public might doubt this member’s objectivity on certain CC matters. Since views expressed in the letter on some topics were at odds with NRCC position, the Secretary noted that the member might have to consider declaring a Conflict of Interest when these topics were discussed at future meetings
All members to familiarise selves with Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest protocols for Community Councillors
Meeting ended at 9 pm
Next meeting 16 May at Community Centre to start at 7pm