This a reminder that we would like to hear comments, suggestions, and views of what our membership wants to happen to the Old Social Work Building by the 12th of May. This will be followed by a public meeting on the 23rd May in the Community Centre at 7.30pm.
If you run a local business and would like to contribute, here is a link to the form - https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9NJ62M9
There is also a modified survey for wider consultation among NICE members and non-members. Click this link to take the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NICE_Consultation
May Newsletter – please click here (598Kb)
We have been working hard behind the scenes and had several useful meetings with officers of Highland Council. Our feasibility study and consultation on the use of the Old Social Work building is underway – and a major part of that involves consultation with the community. Questionnaire’s have already been sent to local business and tourism operator’s.
If you run a local business and would like to contribute, here is a link to the form – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9NJ62M9
As it is important to involve as many local people as possible there is also a modified survey for wider consultation among NICE members and non-members.
Click this link to take the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NICE_Consultation
Community Land Ownership
We have also heard from Iain Bolland, a student completing a degree in Sustainable Environmental Management. As part of his studies he is preparing an honours dissertation based on youth attitudes to community asset ownership in rural areas. These are issues that affect us here. He has prepared a couple of surveys – one aimed at exploring adults’ attitudes to the impact of community ownership on youth migration (Community Land Ownership Adults) and another aimed directly at the views of young adults themselves (Community Land Ownership Youth).
His aim is to examine whether community ownership is seen as making a positive contribution to young adult retention (or in-migration) from a young adult perspective.
If you feel you can help Iain with these surveys it would be greatly appreciated as NICE will be provided with a report on the research
Thank-you for your time.
Since being established NICE has had many suggestions put forward by members of the community. We thought you may like to see this comprehensive list. Inclusion on this list does not mean it is endorsed by NICE. We are simply listing all suggestions for your interest.
Charlie Chaplin Walk
Main approach roads ‘Ambassador Routes’
Sandown Wetlands (Biffa Grant)
John McGregor Square
Tourist Coach Parking
Wall of Recognition
Sculpture/Statue – Black Isle Bronze
No loss of current parking provision
Linkage of High Street to Community Centre/ Demolish existing Library
A96 Street Frontage
Landscaping & (Fruit) Trees
Some new housing
Promote Nairn and Nairn High Street
Cycle parking or even ‘Nairn bikes’
High quality Street Furniture
Pavements need repaired and some shops signs need to be tidied up
Lap dancing bar
Bring Dr Grigor’s statue back into the heart of the town
Promote Nairn’s ‘Art Deco’ Buildings
Relocate Bus Stops
New Shops/Commercial Units
Indoor Play Area
Transition Town Designation
Indoor squash/tennis/Cricket facilities
Tourist Information Centre
Child care facility
‘Nairn Rock’ Music Festival
More theatre, dance and music events
Tidy the high up buildings on the High St.
Free Wi-fi to the Nairn Town Centre
Equestrian Centre (to include riding for the disabled)
House the old printing presses from the Nairnshire Telegraph in a museum
Clean, fresh & well kept toilets
Family restaurant with a proper play area.
Community garden, edible plants, recycle bins
‘green town’ – minimise energy, water and paper use
Open air performance stage
Open shops beyond 5pm
Music shop, sports shop, baby items/clothes shop, banks open on a Saturday
Use the Courthouse to better effect
Double decker bus Cinema
Better Signage especially for tourists
Address Broadband gaps in rural Nairnshire
Under 18s nightclub
Soft Play Centre with Creche
More and Better Playparks
Better facilities for younger children at swimming pool
Rent to Mortgage Housing
Dial a Bus scheme
NICE is always seeking more IDEAS, so if your idea is not on the above list, please let us know.
If you have not already heard, Highland Council have taken the old Social Work Building and associated assets off the market and have allowed NICE 6 months in which to develop a business plan.
A letter from Drew Hendry, Leader of Highland Council states the following:
“I wrote to you on 24th December 2012 indicating that the Finance, Housing and Resources Committee would consider a report on 30th January 2013 which proposed taking Nairn Town Centre assets off the market (copy of the report attached for your information).
I can now tell you that the Committee agreed the recommendation within the report and, should you wish to access appropriate Council advice regarding ‘Right to Buy’, please speak to your Ward Manager Louise Clark, in the first instance.”
See full details of the report here
To see what other areas are doing check these links:
Tomintoul and Glenlivet
Cairngorms National Park
NICE goes from strength to strength with a fantastic total of 1015 members. This has been helped by our two information days in Sainsbury’s which have proven to be a very good two way channel of communication. NICE representatives have been able to clarify what a Development Trust can achieve if it has widespread community support, and local people have been able to voice their aspirations for the area, and come up with some very good ideas about possible projects. These will be added to the already long list on the website. Do keep the suggestions coming in and take part in the blog.
We have now had a reply to our letter requesting that the old Social Work building and adjoining Council assets be taken off the market. Alongside our representation to Highland Council, Nairn Members have initiated a paper to go to the Finance, Housing and Resources (FHR) committee meeting on 30 January 2013 seeking approval to take these assets off the market. The paper will also suggest that the Council develops a partnership approach with NICE over the use of part or all of the footprint (detail to be further discussed with Nairn Elected Members) and that part or all of the footprint be offered to NICE on a ‘Right-to-Buy’ basis. The statutory period under ‘Right-to-Buy’ is 6 months, therefore the paper will state that NICE be given up to the end of July 2013 to prepare a detailed business plan.
So we await with interest the outcome of the committee decision and look forward to more detailed discussions with our 4 elected members and our own NICE membership. If you have not already reviewed our initial ideas for the Social Work building then please do so (see post below). We are very keen that local people contribute their ideas.
A key element that has resonated with many local people is the establishment of a new “civic square” that will offer a pleasant and inviting public space for both visitors and local residents alike.
As a first stage towards this objective, NICE has embraced some of the suggestions that have been made in relation to the old Social Work building opposite the Community & Arts Centre. NICE has now produced a plan outlining how it could be renovated, generate jobs and enhance the appearance of the town centre. Download the PDF document here.
This is a consultative exercise and NICE would welcome any comments and further input to this initial discussion starter. The plan shows the building put to use with a shop, a tourist information centre incorporating a taster for Nairn Museum in the old police cells (which are still there), three offices, a restaurant and relocated public conveniences. The existing toilet block would be demolished.
The whole is designed to form part of a homogeneous development, incorporating a public square as a focus for visitors and passing traffic together with improved landscaping and parking.
Through the offices of NICE it is now possible for the people of Nairn to seize the initiative and renovate this property for the benefit of the whole community. With just over 800 members, NICE has now formally requested that Highland Council take this building off the market to allow the group to further consider these new proposals.
This is your chance to contribute and help shape the final plan. We’d love to hear from you. Please refer to our Comments Policy before posting.
Since the NICE meeting on the 12th October, we are pleased report that membership now exceeds 400. Associate membership is proving to be an attractive option for Community Councils and other groups. Auldearn and East Nairnshire Community Councils have joined and it is hoped that others will follow. The Association of Nairn Businesses has also joined as Associates. The Directors are delighted with the response from the community and the support that has been shown.
The old social work building and the site of the old Community Centre are now on the market. The NICE structure offers the Nairn community a real chance to transform the town centre and retain car parking that is vital to support a thriving High St. A Town Square that is attractive and inviting will support jobs and the local economy. The Board have formally submitted a “note of interest” with the vendor and advised them that NICE is engaged with the Community Assets Branch of Scottish Government in the preparation of an application under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to register the right-to-buy under the legislation. However it may be possible to negotiate the sale without resorting to Right to Buy legislation.
Local Councillors have in principle expressed support for some of the NICE initiatives and have advised that funding opportunities are likely to exist under a new Community Challenge Fund. It is the intention of Highland Council to, “work with Community Councils and other community organisations to encourage community empowerment, and will introduce a Community Challenge Fund of £1m of recurring expenditure to support community projects which explore new ways of delivering services at a local level“. Another councillor has expressed a desire to increase the Nairnshire capacity around staff and try and see a return of positions that have trickled away to Inverness in recent years.
NICE invites all residents to support this community effort by becoming members. Sign-up forms can be found on this web site or at the Service Point, Community Centre, Library or in one of the local shops. The goal is to achieve a membership of at least 1400.
It is heartening to hear the generally positive comments from residents about the NICE Vision. We also note suggestions that NICE could eventually become the new burgh council or that by appointing varying proportions of Community Councillors as directors, NICE could better represent the views of the town.
Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise is a registered company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. NICE aims to act as a voice for the community and to channel their views productively. We promote the message that the regeneration of the town is in the hands of our own community and NICE can help it take ownership. Through engagement and consultation we wish to foster civic pride deep in the heart of our community.
NICE is not a political entity and its primary obligation is to act on behalf of its membership, which is open to every resident. Under NICE’s constitution the Board makes director appointments from the membership on the basis of their skills and their desire to work towards fulfilment the objectives of NICE and at each AGM the members have the opportunity to determine director appointments. We fully respect the work of the 3 Community Councils and we have no interest in replacing or setting up new political or local government structures. NICE will seek to work with all who have a desire to improve our community; our economy; housing; tourism and amenities. All residents are invited to become members of NICE so that we can progress the regeneration and improvement of Nairn. We look forward very much to working with residents, local groups and businesses and welcome their input.
Despite the poor weather and other meetings in the town, there was an excellent turnout to the NICE public presentation of the “Vision for Nairn”. This has been loosely described as a business plan but it is in reality a strategy document that outlines a number of challenges that face the community – along with suggestions for improvement. We are all familiar with the problems facing the town centre and the debate about what should be done with it. There has been controversy over the use and ownership of Common Good land. Is there a better way to use Sandown for the benefit of the community? Strong views have been expressed over the development at the old Bus Station; there are concerns about what happens to the library once the lease expires; could something better be done with Viewfield House?
These and many other issues are addressed in the Strategy document. They are not solutions but purely ideas for consideration by local people; it’s a work in progress. It requires community input and we would value to your comments and ideas. Download the document here.
We set ourselves an ambitious target for membership. Indeed, legislation requires a membership of 10% of the population to exercise Right to Buy. Prior to the meeting we had around 130 members. It is now nudging 300. If you have yet to join, please use the sign-up link to the right.