ON Friday 14th a wide range of community groups and organisations met with Donna Manson, the new CEO of Highland Council. The objective was to outline many of the issues that have been of concern to many in Nairn. The new CEO has expressed a desire to hear from communities and expressed a genuine desire to work with them in ways that may not have happened previously. It was a very positive meeting. You can see a copy of the presentation here.
A plan to revitalise the Highland town of Nairn has been voted by the public as winner of the national ‘FutureTown’ Design Competition.
The plan was submitted by #TeamHamish, a community organisation affiliated with Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise (NICE) and which seeks to celebrate the legacy of Hamish Hey, who passed away in February 2017.
Hamish’s parents stated on the application that “the creation of special community spaces, places and facilities for all ages and abilities to enjoy…would be an appropriate ‘Thank You’ to the community of Nairn for their continued support throughout Hamish’s illness”. The aim of the design is also to increase the attractiveness of the town, situated on the north coast east of Inverness, as a tourist destination.
The holistic design for the town includes a focus on both the Links area and the town centre carpark, including the renovation of the Viewfield House and grounds as an alternative attraction during inclement weather. More Here
A ‘VISION FOR NAIRN’ IN 2018 – AN INITIAL PROJECT PLAN from
NAIRN IMPROVEMENT COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE (“NICE”) & #TEAMHAMISH
Over the years many ideas have been offered, but unfortunately these have not been brought to fruition. We would suggest that previous proposals have lacked a holistic, overarching strategic master plan that encompasses all of Nairn’s assets and highlights their potential. Similarly, full collaboration between community bodies, voluntary groups, local businesses and the statutory authorities has been overlooked. This has resulted in there being limited ‘joined-up’ thinking to put Nairn back on the map as a tourist destination and revitalised for the benefit of its Community as a whole.
NAIRN IMPROVEMENT COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE (“COMPANY”)
REGISTERED NUMBER SC388110
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the adjourned fifth ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the above company will be held at 8.00 pm on Thursday 28 September 2017 at the Nairn Community & Arts Centre for the purpose of the following business:
1. To receive and consider the accounts of the Company for the years ended 30 November 2015 and 30 November 2016.
2. Election of directors. New directors: Susan Hey; Samuel Hey; Steve Westbrook; Mandy Lawson. Re-appointment of Alastair Noble; Michael Barnett. Continue reading
Few in the community of Nairn can be unaware of the story of Hamish Hey, taken from his family and a supportive community much too early in his young life.
His family say: “Throughout Hamish’s illness, we have been truly overwhelmed by the love and support that we have received from so many over the years, particularly from the Community of Nairn. We now feel that it is time to repay our town. Our plan is to develop a special family area for all ages and abilities to enjoy. In doing this we will radiate the love we have for Hamish. It will be a place for all to experience. This will ensure that Hamish’s memory lives on for years to come.”
In order to bring this vision to reality, Hamish’s parents, Sam and Susan, have joined the Board of NICE as Director’s. This relationship provides an organisational and legal structure, charitable status – and a bank account, that allows Team Hamish to function and develop its vision. We look forward to working with them.
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Chair’s Report, Alastair Noble.
I would like to start off by quoting Marion Francis the outside management consultant who was engaged using DTAS investment to take the town centre charrette forward.
“I have worked in lots of communities in the central belt we would give our eye teeth at the turn out you have here and the energy, enthusiasm, engagement and support. You are in such a strong position. The whole political tenor of the moment is to transfer money to be invested in communities. That’s exactly what the BID is about.” Continue reading
Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise has been awarded funding by the Scottish Government, The Highland Council, and Highlands & Islands Enterprise to develop a Business Improvement District (“BID”) in Nairnshire. An individual experienced in developing and providing direct support and/or services to business owners is sought to fill the post of Project Co-ordinator. Continue reading
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve had to re-schedule the Drop-in Session and evening presentation. This will now take place on the 3rd March, 2-5pm in Community Centre and 7.30pm in the evening. The AGM will take place on the 30th March. Notifications will be sent to all members soon.
Reports of the demise of NICE have been greatly exaggerated, but understandable given that NICE has been unable to put much into the public domain. The key difficulty was that identifying the mechanisms for delivery and the fundamental need for collaborative working were not easy to achieve in the prevailing climate. Despite that, we have been exceptionally busy behind the scenes for the last 18 months, and can now report on two significant projects – seeking “BID” status for Nairnshire, and driving the Town Centre Plan forward.
NEW PLANNING CONSULTATION
We are delighted that a new Planning Consultation from Scottish Government recognises that “People rightly expect to have a stronger say in the decisions that affect them and their communities”. Suggested changes to legislation will “Allow communities to prepare local place plans that set out where development requirements, as defined by the broader local development plan, can be met.” These ideas have always been central within the aims and objectives of NICE, whose principle purpose under its Constitution is to drive the regeneration of Nairn.
TOWN CENTRE PLAN
The Nairn Town Centre Charrette was facilitated by the Highland Council. With input from NICE’s community survey and the input of other business and voluntary groups, an agreed Town Centre Plan was developed and published in September 2015, but there was no strategy for delivering any of the agreed outcomes and for reasons not fully understood, it has received little public attention. Anecdotally there is little public awareness of its existence. For that reason NICE engaged the services of a highly respected consultant, funded by the Development Trust Association of Scotland, to look at the Charrette outcomes and identify options for taking them forward. Our consultant Marion Francis is now in a position to present the results of her work and consultation.
We are pleased to invite our members and the wider community to an Open Afternoon drop-in session on the 3rd March (2.00-5.00pm) at the Nairn Community & Arts Centre so that we can refresh awareness of the Town Centre plans that were proposed by the Charrette process. We have invited the Highland Council planning team who prepared the Charrette report to be present and to chat informally to visitors and take feedback. A more formal evening session (7.30pm) will be given over to Marion Francis’ presentation of the options for the next steps with a timeline and strategy for taking forward the Town Centre Plan – the core mission of NICE. As the commentary in the Town Centre Plan itself states, it is up to the community to work with the statutory authorities to drive the project forward.
CHANGE IN THE AIR
One reason for the difficulty we faced was the fact that the strands connecting various community groups and initiatives were complex, and there are many community groups in Nairnshire. But we sensed that the climate had changed 18 months ago when the director of Scottish Government’s Business Improvement District (“BID”) department approached NICE with the proposition that Nairnshire should seek BID status. Alongside this, Highlands & Islands Enterprise (“HIE”) had also stated that “Nairn must speak with one voice”. We thought long and hard about ways to tackle the problems, and drew comfort from the fact that HIE are supportive of a BID for Nairnshire. The energy and commitment recently put into proposals for a new Lido/Thermal Spa, has resulted in HIE funding a feasibility study to determine if it might be a key driver for the local economy. There is good evidence that a well-researched idea with suitable financial support will succeed and give the wider community confidence in itself. Indeed, the recently opened Sun Dancer Restaurant is very popular, and the coffee & wine bar on the Brae has a distinctive offering.
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
NICE invited Michael Boylan, Chair of the Association of Nairn Businesses, and Michael Green, Elected Highland Councillor, to join a Steering Group which has now secured funding of up to £50,000 to take the proposal to ballot using professional paid staff to do the work. A separate Press Release has just been issued about the BID, identifying the vital roles of The Highland Council and HIE in supporting the Government BID policy.
We believe the opportunity to acquire BID status for Nairnshire is a real game-changer for our community. The fact that funding for the preparatory work has been secured confirms the outside perception at Government level that Nairnshire is a “sleeping giant” – a seaside tourist destination with great unrealised potential and worth investment. NICE’s role on the BID Steering Group is to act as enabler, and by virtue of its charitable and corporate status to be the funding conduit for the work. We believe that the BID project will underpin further work on the Town Centre Plan, and give potential funders the confidence that Nairn does on this occasion mean business.
The full Nairn Town Centre Plan report can be accessed from the Highland Council’s website and also here – Download the full document here.
Alastair Noble – Chair NICE
Mike Barnett – Secretary NICE