Mourning, council services, the cost of living crisis, Nairn Academy, and speed limits ...
Before I move on to other things a quick update on where we are with mourning. The local condolence book is now closed. A lone piper will be playing The Immortal Memory at the war memorial in Cawdor Road, Nairn at 6pm tonight. The Union flag will be taken down at the Court House on Tuesday morning at 8am and the Saltire put back up. Finally there will be an ecumenical service for the Queen on Sunday 25th Sept at 3pm at Nairn Old Parish Church. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank council officers and, in particular, Fiona Shearer for their hard work in making all this go smoothly throughout the mourning process.
Council Services on Monday
All schools, Council offices and service points will be closed to the public on Monday. Emergency out of hours services will continue and waste collection will continue on that day, although the actual collection time may vary. Registration, burials and cremations will be provided as required. All out of hours arrangements in place for the weekend prior to the funeral will continue until the start of normal working hours on Tuesday. Staff who are required to work on Monday will be paid an enhanced rate for hours worked.
Cost of living crisis
Despite Westminster finally making some moves on this we are still heading into a real cost of living crisis with inflation rising sharply higher than wages and energy prices still ludicrously high so councillors in the ruling group have met privately this week to discuss ways forward and a paper is coming to the next full Council meeting on Thursday on the steps the Council can take to help.
You can find full details in a Council press release here but in summary £3,223,000 is being allocated for the provision of both direct support and community-led initiatives. In particular it is proposed:
to make non-recurring payments of £145 to around 17,400 council taxpayers who are already receiving some form of reduction from their council tax bills;
to make an extension of free school meal payments to cover weekends during the remaining school holidays up to and including Easter 2023;
to provide non-recurring funding of £50,000 to FareShare to purchase food for distribution across the Highlands;
to bring forward measures to help Council tenants;
to create a Highland-wide grant fund to support communities to respond to the cost-of-living crisis.
I would highlight this last one in particular as grants of up to £10,000 per organisation will be made available with the aim of enabling community groups to provide local activities and support. Cllr Michael Green and I are meeting with officers on Thursday to discuss what we might be able to do locally and we will be aiming to get local organisations involved so that Nairnshire gets its fair share of this fund.
If you have any ideas then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or Michael to discuss them.
The plans for the new academy were presented to residents last week and the Inverness Courier has an article online Long-awaited plans unveiled of new £42 million secondary school for Nairn which is worth a read, if only to admire the images.
It’s an ambitious project and, if it works, we will have a new school to be proud of but there are many pitfalls ahead, not least whether we still have funding for it … although council is being asked at our meeting on Thursday to “Reaffirm the Council’s commitment to the [projects] at Broadford Primary and Nairn Academy” which should provide everyone with some reassurance.
Nairn River Community Council
NRCC meets this Wednesday night at 7:30pm at the Community Centre. There is a very long agenda but one item that leapt out at me, not least as I have my own views on this being resident of the estate, is “20 mph speed limits in Lochloy estate”.
I would be interested in your views and also on the speed limit through Kingsteps which is currently 40mph.