To no-one’s great surprise, the Highland Council has put the land and buildings it owns in the town centre up for sale. But the idea of selling the plots, buildings and car parks off separately has rightly caused concern. Some serious questions remain to be answered:
- Despite all the assurances given to NICE back in spring, will the town end up with piecemeal, unconnected development?
- Will any developer buy land just to create an amenity space which offers no profit?
- Will there be a reduction or removal of town centre parking spaces? The choice of words by Tim Stott of the Council quoted in the press was very revealing: “no significant net loss of parking”. How many lost spaces would be “significant”?
- Are the old but historic and sound Social Work Department buildings bound to be bulldozed? It was noticeable how our Councillors wriggled and equivocated when challenged about this at the Ward Forum.
NICE was formed to campaign for a well-planned, attractive and sensible regeneration of the town centre. Do we need to go in to battle again? If you think so, say so!