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Year 2, Week 8
Nairn Academy, Team Hamish, Port of Ardersier, July ...
There was no post last week because although I had a very busy week of council business it wasn’t specifically Nairn related. This last week has also been equally frantic as the council tries to wrap up all its council meetings before we take a break in July, including planning on Tuesday and full council on Thursday, but I do have some Nairn specific news.
I chaired a meeting of the stakeholders group for the new academy last Wednesday and Robert Campbell, the officer in charge of this project, gave a presentation the slides from which you can find here. The key points are that:
Work is still progressing, despite the Scottish Government delaying their announcement on the next round of schools funding (LEIP3) and Highland Council delaying their Capital Programme.
There has been a partial redesign to cut costs. The main change is the loss of the second and third floor “bridge” crossing the U shape of the building plan and an overall reduction in the building’s east/west dimension, but the school’s pupil capacity remains as before.
A planning application will be submitted in September (and there will also be another public consultation then too) and the aim is that the plans will come to December’s South Planning Application Committee.
The contract for construction will be awarded by June 2024 and construction will begin immediately and will finish in July 2026, so six months later than originally planned.
I think the six month delay is probably a good thing: trying to complete a project and move a whole school around the Christmas period seemed doomed to fail before it even began. Now there will be a six week period where everything can be moved over during the summer break.
Last Tuesday’s South Planning Applications Committee, which I chaired, gave the go ahead for Phase 2 of Team Hamish’s plans for The Links:
Commenting on it at the committee meeting I said (end of item 7.4, start at 1:35:28):
This is a favourite area of mine to go and sit and eat an ice cream from James’s. […] I think it’s an imaginative use of the space. We already have occasional concerts there, certainly at the end of the Arts and Book Festival. I note the residents’ concerns about noise management but I think they’re covered by the conditions. It’s also worth noting that not only does licensing apply here but, since this is Common Good land, then [entertainers] also have to have permission from the Common Good before they can do anything there so that provides yet another way of controlling the use of the space.
You may have already heard that the Port has changed hands and is now owned by Haventus and is under new management. Despite the previous management saying that this wasn’t important Haventus have now joined the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF) consortium.
Although the Port is not in our ward it’s going to have a big impact on Nairn so I and your fellow ward councillors will be continuing to keep and eye on it.
This may well be my last posting for a few weeks as Highland Council has a policy of not having councillor meetings in July so we have a chance to take our holidays, and indeed I will be doing just that. But if you have any issues then do contact me, ideally via email or, if you’re in a hurry, by WhatsApp or simply phone 07901 287131 and leave a message.