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.
A £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery for the feasibility study for conversion and operation of the social work building has been received, and NICE has drawn up and published a possible floor plan for comment. This is in no way pre-empting different ideas for use, but feedback to date from members suggests that a tourist office, toilets, café, and the use of the old jail cells as a feature are all popular ideas.
The Big Lottery has been approached for £15,000 for the next feasibility study, which would be for the whole town centre. At the end of the month, it is being put to the Highland Councillors that Nairn Town Centre properties in the Council’s ownership should be taken off the open market, and it looks as if pressure from NICE has been a factor in the recommendation.
In the New Year, a very positive letter was received from Drew Hendry, the Leader of Highland Council, who wished to see close co-operation with the Council, Nairn Councillors and NICE. Following this, a very productive meeting was held between NICE’s directors, the four Nairn Councillors and Louise Clark, with agreement that a ‘partnership’ approach would be the way forward and working closely together would give a powerful boost to progress on revitalising the town.
HIE have already promised us three days of management support to assist with further development of NICE, and further discussions are taking place in early February to explore their role in further development and financial support for local projects.
Recent closures in the town illustrate how important it will be to work as hard as possible to promote local businesses, and sustain jobs.
NICE is very heartened by the massive and broadly based support it has received, and the very positive response of public bodies.
Thank you all.