One of the most important documents out for discussion at present is the Highland wide Local Development Plan. In it, Highland Council set out their stall, clearly stating their preferred options for development. The Scottish Government has made certain assumptions and predictions about population growth and Highland Council is tasked with delivering a new infrastructure and extensive new housing developments.
The public is invited to make its views known by the 9th November. A meeting will be held in Nairn on the 2nd Oct for open discussion. Let’s be clear. If these plans go forward it will bring about one of the biggest changes to the Highland way of life since the Clearances, especially around the Inner Moray Firth.
The expansion of Nairn is an important element of the A96 Corridor Framework. The development of these growth areas are closely tied in to the provision of a much needed bypass of the town. The phasing of development in Nairn will be important. Some land is identified in the current Nairnshire Local Plan for housing development at Lochloy and Sandown, and these are still considered to be the priority areas for development. The land identified for future growth to the west and south of Nairn can however also contribute to meeting housing demand in the area, and this will have to happen in a way which delivers the community facilities and services that Nairn will need in the future. We are working with Transport Scotland on the delivery of the Nairn by-pass, although its delivery is likely to be some years away. It is important that the future development sites in Nairn contribute towards the ultimate delivery of the by-pass.
I am concerned about some of the assumptions being made for population growth and the use of phrases like “meeting housing demand in the area”. Further, it seems that only through the provision of extensive housing can the bypass be delivered. Is that a reasonable trade-off? The proposals look like turning the Inner Moray Firth into another Central belt. Don’t know about you, but that’s not why I moved here. Above all, the Development Plan takes little account of tourism, a key local industry. That said, it’s a well written document that clearly sets out the options. We have been given the chance to contribute to these plans for the future of Nairn. Please make time to do so.