The Vision for Nairn presentation will take place at the Community & Arts Centre on 12th October at 7.30pm
Background: Around two years ago a group of residents concerned about town centre development met together to see if they could bring forward imaginative new ideas for the town centre – to make it more attractive, more welcoming and offer more facilities and amenities for local people. Lots of ideas came forward and the group adopted the title of Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise. The outcome of several meetings was a proposed new plan for the town centre. Discussions took place with Highland Council and a public meeting was held in which the NICE proposal was debated alongside that of the Highland Council plans.
It became clear that in order to progress these community generated ideas it was going to be necessary for NICE to have a different legal basis; one that gave it actual powers within a Scottish Government framework that supported the concept of local communities taking responsibility for the planning and management of a range of services, ie. locality planning. NICE is now recognised by Scottish Government as a “community body” with the “right to buy” for community use. NICE is also a recognised charity. As a “community body” NICE is owned by its members who together exercise ultimate control over NICE vision and direction.
With the right to buy, the NICE structure empowers the community to deliver town centre projects and numerous others so badly needed by Nairn – new amenities, better use of open spaces; additional jobs and affordable housing to name but a few. Informal discussions have taken place with a number of local organisations and individuals who have indicated their enthusiastic support.
To get the ball rolling, initial applications are being submitted for funding to get the first projects off-the-ground. It is the intention of the director’s to place the day-to-day management of the company into the hands of a professional team as soon as resources allow. Director’s either now or in the future are excluded by the new NICE Articles from receiving any benefit by virtue of their position.
The town centre and similar projects are just the start of what could be an exciting new future for Nairn. The ultimate ambition is for the community of Nairn, through this new community body to have the ability to run a whole range of its own community services. This is in line with current Scottish Government thinking, generally referred to as ‘locality planning’. The basis is that local communities know best what they need and how to deliver it, and there is funding to support these initiatives. We’ll also be able to draw down funds as part of Nairn’s “fair share” of resources.
The Directors of NICE recently commissioned Alan Jones Associates to produce “A Vision for Nairn” with a supporting business plan. The presentation will take place at the Community & Arts Centre on 12th October at 7.30pm. The Vision for Nairn is a framework for developing and delivering community projects. We invite you to join us. It contains examples of what has been achieved elsewhere and these will be presented in order to stimulate our own thinking and direction. It is finally down to the community to decide the town’s future and how it is delivered within the framework that the NICE structure offers.
To get the ball rolling, initial applications are being submitted for funding to get the first projects off-the-ground. At this stage we have identified the Bus Station, the Old Social Work Buildings and the Regal Bar as immediate priorities in our thinking. With community input and support it becomes possible to develop a range of projects that will benefit the whole community.
We are aware that we have a long way to go but with your contribution we know we can make a difference. NICE has the support of Scottish Government and a legal framework to deliver local services and projects – by the community for the people.
Would you like to have a part in this strategic development for Nairn? Consider signing up as a member – and even more important, bring your ideas, your concerns, your hopes – and a belief that you have the ability to make things better for all in our community. Membership is freely open to everybody living in and around Nairn – juniors and adults. If you have particular skills to offer, you can join one of many working groups that will be established.
NICE is a company limited by guarantee, and the only financial obligation of members is to pay £1 if the company become insolvent.
To find out more, join us the Community & Arts Centre on the 12th Oct at 7.30pm. With your support, we can do this.