Discover more from Paul Oldham’s Newsletter
Year 2, Week 17
RAAC, Gaelic medium teaching, new Academy, LPP, 20mph limits, Community Regeneration Funding, Nairn BID ...
My apologies in advance that this post covers a lot of issues, especially relating to schools, but it’s been one of those weeks.
Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete
The UK press has been full of stories over the last few days about RAAC in schools and how the Government is running around like headless chickens to get this sorted out as schools re-open in England so a brief reminder that Highland Council has been on the case on this since May 2019 and Nairn Academy was one of two schools found to use it.
All parents got a letter about this at the start of August but essentially works were done over the summer to ensure the school is safe and there’s still some more work ongoing but will not affect pupils access to lessons.
Gaelic Medium Catchment Area
Highland Council are seeking the views of local communities on a proposal to establish Gaelic Medium catchment areas for Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis, Dingwall Primary School, Millbank Primary School, Inverness Royal Academy, Dingwall Academy, and Nairn Academy.
The Proposal Paper and Appendices can be found here but in essence for our ward Gaelic Medium education will be offered at Millbank Primary School and Nairn Academy.
The consultation period runs until 27th October and you are invited to comment on the proposal. With this in mind there will be a meeting at 6:30pm this Tuesday, 5th September at Millbank Primary School which I will be chairing where Council representatives will meet with parents, children and other members of the public to discuss the proposal.
New Nairn Academy
As I mentioned before there has been a partial redesign of the new school to cut costs and also a six month delay in completion but thankfully it is still going ahead and a Pre-Application Consultation Event on the proposed redevelopment is being held at the school this Wednesday, 6th September between 4:30pm and 7pm. The event will offer an opportunity to view and comment on the proposals and is open to all.
This precedes the next phase, which should follow shortly, and will be a formal application for planning permission. There will then be an opportunity to make representations on that application to the Council.
Local Place Plan
The Nairn area Local Place Plan (LPP) is being lead by NICE with the aim of providing a community led plan for the Nairn and Nairnshire area. This is part of a wider programme of developing LPPs across Scotland.
They currently have a community survey active which was due to close on Friday but will now stay open for another three weeks until 22nd September. You can respond online or on paper (you can pick up a copy at the library, the community centre, or Tradespark or Cawdor Post Offices).
20mph speed limits
The roll out of 20mph speed limits is still not complete - in Nairn not least because of the complications with the A96 trunk road - but the council is already entering the first consultation phase for the programme as the limits went “live” on 31st July under an eighteen month temporary traffic regulation order.
They are now looking for comments: both on roads which you think should go back to 30mph and also roads which you think should be added to the programme and made 20mph too.
You should send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be grateful if you CCed me too. This is also the email address to use for any remaining issues with the roll out (I will be writing to them about the A96 issues and also the A939 Grantown Road).
Community Regeneration Funding
Highland Council are again inviting community groups and organisations to apply for Community Regeneration Funding to finance capital and revenue projects that will respond to the needs of their local areas and deliver positive impacts. The deadline to submit an Expression of Interest is 12pm this Friday, 8th September.
Projects will be expected to start early 2024 and be concluded and claimed by 1st March 2025. It is generally expected that funding requests should be a minimum of £5,000 and applicants are expected to source match funding. You can find more details here but the ward has only been allocated £16,093.53 in this round.
The allocation for Nairnshire would have included a further £57,748.71 however at the last Nairnshire Committee it was agreed that this should be ring fenced for an application to come forward for the Harbour Street toilets.
As I mentioned briefly last week the result of the ballot for the renewal of the Nairn Business Improvement District for the next five years concluded last week. It was a close result and I'd hope that sends a clear message to Nairn BID that it needs to do a good job over the next five years if it wants to continue after 2028.
As far as I’m concerned BID has been doing a good job for the town over the last five years and indeed I'm currently looking forward to Wheels of Nairn later this month but I’ve had some comment from those opposed to it saying that we ward members shouldn’t have supported the renewal. I’ve replied to both people who’ve contacted me to say it's regrettable that those who are unhappy with BID didn't communicate with ward councillors (two of whom, incidentally, are current BID members) before the ballot as I at least was not aware that some people were unhappy.
Anyway, if you are a BID member and think the next ballot shouldn’t be supported by ward councillors or should be run on a different basis then that's an argument for you to make in four years from now, before the ballot, to the councillors in place at that time.