Place Planning and Investment Model

NICE Directors’ recently reinforced their commitment to supporting two new initiatives launched by Scottish Government – ‘Place Principle’ and the Capital investment for regeneration. Check the links for full details. NICE has written via email to elected representatives urging participation in these initiatives and offering full support for the benefit of Nairn and Nairnshire.

Regeneration email
Following our NICE Director’s meeting last night, we welcome the opportunity to work with Highland Council on the regeneration of Nairn’s Town Centre. We all agree that this a great opportunity to regenerate the town centre and bring back into use many of the buildings that are empty and/or need a new use.

We would like to look at the best use of town centre buildings undertaken by the BID (Bob Ferenth and Sheena Baker) and the HC. This would mean identifying all the properties and deciding what is best use for them. It would also identify which buildings we cannot see a realistic use for and agreeing a replacement plan for the building or vacant site including structural/feasibility studies where needed.

Government policy is to revitalise centres and make them vibrant and successful. They must also be green and sustainable and have a lot more people living and working in them.

We welcome this policy and know that, working together, we can produce the town centre we all want to see and help meet the housing need that has been identified for Nairn.

Happy to discuss further and help in any way we can. We think the town centre regeneration initiatives will be the best use of the Place  Based Investment Funds. Do you agree?

Place Planning Model:

At last night’s NICE Director’s meeting we discussed the benefit to Nairn and Nairnshire of using the new Place Planning model to deliver a Nairn and a Nairnshire Local Place Plan. We agreed that this would give the strategic framework necessary before prioritising the various projects and above all making sure they are delivered.

NICE will play its part as a community – controlled body for Nairn, as defined by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, working with the Community Councils.

We think the starting point would be to agree the statutory DATA sets with Highland Council for population and housing needs assessment. This would mean building on the work we are doing with Scott Dalgarno. Douglas Chisholm and Mike Atkinson – underway before Covid interrupted – how best can we do this together?

The Scottish Government is very supportive of this model, and we have had a lot of preliminary discussions with them and HC about this. We look forward to delivering this Local Place Plan and think it is win, win for Nairnshire if we all work together to agree and deliver it

Happy to discuss further and make sure we all benefit from this exciting future for Nairnshire

Finishing Touches for All Abilities Path

In a joint project between RSPB, Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise and Nairn Access Panel, an information board has now been installed at the Kingsteps end of the recently refurbished all abilities path at the East Beach.   Featuring some of Seamus McArdle’s beautiful bird photographs and descriptions of year round flora and fauna, the board will help those using the path to identify and appreciate the amazing variety of wildlife we have on our doorstep.

Photo:   David Tomkins (RSPB), Joan Noble, Peter Duncan, Val Springett, Seamus McArdle.

Regeneration Hub

Following speculation, rumour and hearsay we felt it important to outline precisely the proposals for the Old Social Work Building, developed in conjunction with Highland Council, Nairn BID and Community Councils. It is not competing with the Community & Arts Centre.

Application extract. “The project involves restoring and repurposing a locally valued disused building and using it flexibly for a range of activities that together will play an important role in regenerating the economy of Nairn and wider Nairnshire. (More on page 2)

2020 AGM

AGM Notice



NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the seventh ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the above company will be held virtually at 6.30 pm on Monday 30 November 2020 using the Zoom facility for the purpose of the following essential business:

1 Welcome & Introduction.

2 Apologies for Absence.

3 Minute of last Annual General Meeting.

4 Presentation of Accounts for the year ended 30 November 2019.

5 Annual Review – Chairman’s Report

6 Election of Directors

To reappoint Steve Westbrook who has retired by rotation as provided by the Articles of the Company
To reappoint Mandy Lawson who has retired by rotation as provided by the Articles of the Company

7 ​Any Other Business

Notes for the virtual meeting:
Please request the Zoom link if you wish to participate.

The meeting will open 30 minutes early to allow all participants to access it in a timely fashion.
Appoint a proxy by Replying to this email – see below.

Copies of the company’s accounts for the year ended 30 November 2019, the Minute of the previous AGM and the Chairman’s Report are available on the company’s website –

Members are encouraged to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf if they are unable to attend in person.  To appoint a proxy you should e-mail the Company Secretary at confirming the appointment of a proxy as follows:

“I will not attend the company’s virtual AGM on Monday 30 November 2020 by Zoom and appoint the Chair to act and vote on my behalf.


DATED this 16th day of November 2020.
Michael Barnett, Secretary
Company No:  SC388110; Charity No: SC042118
Registered Office: Drumdelnies, by Nairn, IV12 5NT

Old Social Work Building

NICE, Nairn Connects BID and The Highland Council are working together on a funding application to Scottish Government and other sources to regenerate and bring the King Street building known locally as the Old Social Work Building back into use. We’d appreciate a few moments of your time to complete a short survey.
The survey is open to all members of the community and we invite all to participate. If you can, please respond by Oct 31st.
Thank you in anticipation.
The Directors of NICE

Town Centre Traffic Report

Joan Noble has already questioned the parking arrangements for the proposed King Street development and submitted representations along with other groups and individuals (for and against the development) to the Highland Council’s e-planning file which can be accessed here.  
Joan has now submitted an Independent report. In a covering letter she tells the Highland Council planning committee members:
 “I write to respectfully ask you to consider the attached independent transport report compiled by one of the foremost experts in the field, Kevin Martin. Mr Martin has appeared as an expert witness in many enquiries and appeals including several for Highland Council.
I commissioned the report from him as I was distressed at the apparent loss of 25% of Nairn town centre car parking, and hoped that an expert report might support objections about loss of parking submitted by Nairn BID, Association of Nairn Businesses, both Nairn Community Councils and Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise, plus individuals.   I was also very concerned that, even to a lay person, the parking layout  proposed by the architect on 19th August  (purporting to redesign the car parks to produce 20 more spaces) respected neither HC or National guidelines and safety requirements, and was a danger to the public.   
Mr. Martin’s report speaks for itself, and confirms in a completely independent way that between loss of spaces and increased usage Nairn car parks will lose 50 or more spaces.  Safe and legally compliant redesign of existing car parking can produce 2 new spaces at best.”

You can read the full report here. The Town Centre application is due to be discussed on Friday 9th Oct. (Gurn from Nurn acknowledged in this extract.)

Planning Objection Lodged

We are grateful to everyone who took time to complete the online survey. There were sufficient grounds for NICE to submit its objection. We fully support the need for housing and a new CAB office, but this proposal would result in “the wrong building in the wrong place”. You may read the submitted Planning Objection HERE , along with the key results of the survey. A more detailed analysis of the results will follow.

Nairn Town Centre Plan

Complete the Town Centre Survey

Following public consultation in 2014, Highland Council published a shared community vision for Nairn town centre. It was given the go-ahead in Oct 2015 by Members of the Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Area Committee.

Members agreed that a new ‘Nairn Community Town Centre Plan’ be adopted as non-statutory planning guidance to influence future planning applications for Nairn town centre and help community organisations to make bids for funding projects. There were several themes.

Theme 2: Make better use of area between King St and the High St

The final approved plan has been developed in collaboration between community groups, Highland Council and partners including responses received to a public consultation on the ‘Draft Nairn Town Centre Action Plan’. Public workshops were held in Nairn during April and May 2014 with assistance from the Scottish Government’s town centre regeneration fund.

The proposals below were put forward at the public consultation event to develop this plan. They reflect a need to improve the attractiveness of open space in the town centre and increase vitality by finding new uses for buildings and spaces.


  1. Establish a new Town Square
  2. Provide new multi-function space
  3. Reconfigure car-parking to achieve more efficient use of space
  4. Bring the Council’s former social work building back into use
  5. Convert the Council’s Finance Office to civic use

Complete the Town Centre Survey

View the full Plan as published by Highland Council

We regret and apologise for the linkage of #TeamHamish to the NICE Town Centre Survey as reported in the Nairnshire Telegraph 15th Sept. This is an independent NICE survey and has nothing to do with #TeamHamish.

Nairn groups create a powerhouse for action

Four organisations have joined forces to create a powerhouse which will work to regenerate Nairn town following the Covid 19 crisis.

Nairn BID, Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise (NICE) and the town’s two community councils believe by pooling their resources they can get the seaside town back on its feet with a series of initiatives.

Representatives from each of the groups have developed a strategy for recovery which will involve engaging with Highland Council and relevant public agencies and others to mobilise resources.

The key aims of the group are to take forward projects which will support enterprise and job creation, to retain local workforce and skills and to promote Nairn as a place to live and visit. 

From left: Nairn BID chair Michael Boylan, Tommy Hogg chairman of Nairn River CC, Sheena Baker chair of Nairn West and Suburban CC and Alastair Noble chair of NICE


Speaking on behalf of the collaboration, Bob Ferenth a member of the Nairn BID board and convener of the group said: “There are many projects that we can develop as a collective working group and have identified several that should be progressed to help revive and improve the town. By working collaboratively, we will have a stronger voice. The effects of the downturn are already evident, but the community wants to move quickly to plan for and build a more resilient local economy for Nairnshire.”

He added: “During the lockdown, businesses adapted and found new ways of operating, but these were short-term responses to the immediate crisis. The local economy now faces the threat of a substantial rise in redundancies as the furlough scheme winds down. Some local businesses are not yet confident of reopening. Guest bookings are uncertain. Almost all the major annual events that bring visitors have been cancelled. What our collective approach has done is identify key areas such as encouraging visitors, regenerating the town centre, enhancing the amenities at the Links, and improving access and travel routes into and around the town to name but a few, that will help Nairn recover from what has been catastrophic for the local economy.”


Speaking specifically about tourism, Michael Boylan, chairman of Nairn BID said: “Our collective aim is to limit and alleviate the impact of the current difficulties and find ways of encouraging the tourism, visitors and footfall which so many businesses depend on. The beach is still there as are the golf courses and there are plenty of outdoor recreational options. We want to persuade people to visit and enjoy what Nairn offers and contribute to the revival of the local economy.”

Work has already begun on a new children’s splash pad which was a jointly funded project between charity Team Hamish, NICE, Nairn Common Good Fund and Highland Council.

Team Hamish

Alastair Noble, Chair of NICE said this is evidence that collaboration can lead to positive outcomes: “The entire community responded to the Team Hamish vision. The partnership shows that cooperation can work.  We now need to extend and reinforce that approach on a much more ambitious scale to deliver the kind of measures that will keep the local economy going and sustain local employment.”

Led by NICE, the group has already submitted an application to the Scottish Government, with the support of Highland Council for funding to restore and repurpose a historic building as a visitor centre and business hub which is intended to encourage greater footfall into the High Street.

Sheena Baker, chair of Nairn West and Suburban CC said: “We are already making waves and in this time of adversity, it is more important than ever the people of Nairn pull together.  

“We are counting on our elected councillors to join in these efforts and to back the proposals and projects which we are proposing. Public money will be needed. 

“The Council is meeting on Thursday (June 25) to consider the challenges of regeneration and recovery.  We are keen to collaborate in action which will make a real and sustainable difference to the economy, will create and protect jobs, and will enable us to find a way out of the present difficult situation.”

Splashpad Work to Start Soon

#TeamHamish pride as first phase of work is set to start on Nairn’s new children’s splashpad

The family behind the #TeamHamish fundraising effort to bring a new children’s splash pad to Nairn has welcomed news that phase one of the work is to start on 15 June.

Nairn couple Sam and Susan Hey lost their son Hamish to a rare and aggressive soft tissue cancer on 20 February 2017.

The support Hamish’s family received from the Nairn community in the aftermath of his death was incredible and the family wanted to do something to thank everyone.

They also wanted to create a lasting legacy to their son, so they set up the charity, #TeamHamish, to raise funds for a new splashpad at Nairn beach.

The splash pad is a jointly funded project between #TeamHamish, NICE, Nairn Common Good and Highland Council and is the result of extensive engagement with the community in Nairn.

Today’s announcement is a bittersweet moment for all involved in the project following the tragic death of Hamish’s mum Susan in May, who co-founded the #TeamHamish charity. Susan sadly lost her own battle with cancer last month.

The new start date is in line with Scottish Government guidance on construction sites reopening and the contractor, Ustigate, will be following all appropriate health and safety guidance including physical distancing measures for the operation of the works.

Cllr Tom Heggie, Chair of the Nairn and Nairnshire committee said: “Whilst the Council, Team Hamish and NICE are pleased that work is about to begin, we all acknowledge that it is with great sadness that Susan Hey, who had looked forward to this so much and done so much to bring it about, is unable to be with us to see this happen.

“The first three weeks or so will see a small number of operatives (approx. three) setting up the site and demolishing the existing paddling pool. They will be installing protective barriers around the site to ensure a safe distance between the workers and the general public.”

Works are expected to take around four months to complete.

Susan’s husband and co-founder of #TeamHamish, Sam said: “We are absolutely delighted that after over three years of fundraising, the first phase of our #TeamHamish proposals are finally coming to fruition.

“This represents positive progress for Nairn, its Community and beyond and is a bright sparkle of rainbow light shining through the difficulties of recent months, as well as the creation of a lasting legacy for both Hamish and Susan.”