Should Nairn Library move to new Academy? A few lessons from Wick

The Highland Council has this week on 7th March launched a short consultation, on a proposal to relocate Nairn Library from the High Street to Duncan Drive as part of the new Nairn Academy campus. Local people/library users have 2 more weeks till 25th March to make their views known.

The consultation link is here

Nairn Library Consultation March 2022

The online consultation  is open from 7th till 25th March 

The online form should be saved to your computer and submitted once completed  by emailing  to nairn.library@highlifehighland.com 

The less computer literate are invited to print the form out to fill in and hand in to the Library before the 25th March deadline

A face to face consultation will also run – but only for one week from 7th to 11th March in the Nairn Library on High St with staff available to answer questions

Please have your say  on the future of this important community facility

Some Lessons from Wick on new schools and libraries

Nairn community councillors have recently met with our Wick counterparts to share their experiences of having a new High School built (opened in 2017) by Highland Council. They have as part of this. had their library relocated from the old ‘ Wick Carnegie Library’ building in the town centre – a heritage ‘gem’

Their school campus took 4 years to build and includes the High School, a primary and nursery school and Highlife facilities including a swimming pool and the local Public Library ( relocated from the Wick Carnegie Library ). There have been many problems with this which we in Nairn must learn from.

The ‘Post Occupancy Evaluation’ of the new Wick school campus, a public document from 2018, makes very sobering reading, along with our feedback from Wick community councillors on current and ongoing problems with the fabric and design of the new building. These include the following

Many concerns raised at the High School planning /public consultation stage by the community were not taken on board by the planning team/developers

A request for 3D models was not provided till the school was 75% built and so too late to pick up multiple ‘design flaws’. This has resulted in costly and ongoing problems 5 years after the school has opened

The two storey library has a serious ‘noise problem, being ‘open plan’ to a communal area, with the ground floor library reception area also used as the swimming pool reception where younger children often play whilst siblings are getting swimming lessons. We are told that ‘members of public complain about the noise from children’ A lesson for Nairn.

5 years on there are already serious problems with wear and tear on the building inside and out, and major storm damage in late 2021 to the gym hall ( community concerns were raised about the ability of the building materials used to withstand the Caithness weather from the start) Here is the local press coverage of the recent storm damage

Issues with road access and safety of parking and drop off , which were not well planned for local traffic and pedestrian realities

Building users saying they would have liked to have had much more input into design issues from the start.

Ongoing heating and ventilation issues with overheating of some parts of the building, and snow entering vents in others

Serious leaks and flooding before the building was occupied due to poor workmanship/ poor quality materials

Ongoing roof leak problems.

Green ‘passive ventilation’ systems don’t work well due to Scottish climate ( rain wind etc)

Design flaws in the swimming pool viewing area meaning the pool can’t be seen from parts of it.

More than 6000 snagging issues, some still unresolved

Numerous design changes during the build, such as removal of a planned ‘cafe’ area and addition of an ‘accessible toilet’ in nursery area which was missed from plan.

High School Reception area had to be relocated due to ‘cold draughts’ – another point raised by community representatives at the design stage but not taken on board.

The primary school sports hall is not useable for shows/performances as too bright and no blinds were fitted to provide a dark space.

Serious issues with seagulls nesting on low pitched( ie flat) roofs. ( another point raised by the community early on)

Finally – it seems that 5 years on the new Wick High School is already too small – as local pupil numbers have grown faster than Highland Council projections. Another concern for Nairn since we have been told that the new Nairn Academy will accommodate fewer pupils than the last one, despite developers like Springfield pushing to get plans passed by Highland Council to build more houses in Nairn even without a confirmed A96 bypass.

All food for thought for Nairn Academy campus planning and the proposed Library ‘move’.

Nairn River will be discussing this Library proposal at our upcoming meeting on Wednesday 16th. Details of our Agenda and how to join the Zoom meeting here

Local residents are welcome to attend and share their views on Library or new Academy plans or other community concerns ( or email them to us on info.nrivercc@gmail.com) Make sure you fill in the Council Library consultation form too.

also see our latest Nairn Common Good News

where we have posted two Nairn River CC submissions regarding Nairn Common Good public consultations which close this week – on

1/ Links Kiosk ( James’s Cafe) lease extension (which we support with some conditions) and

2/ a proposal to sell Grant Street Yard -which we don’t recognise as valid -due to failures in due process by Nairn Common Good Trustees. We ask for this to be withdrawn till after the May Council elections when new Highland Councillors/Common Good Trustees will be appointed to help improve Nairn Common Good governance, and ask that wider options for this Asset should be explored and consulted on including leasing (with sale as last resort)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: