Highland Council has launched an additional consultation on the proposal to sell for development the whole of the Sandown Lands, a major asset of Nairn’s Common Good.
This is described as a follow-up to the previous public consultation held in January-February 2021. In that exercise both Nairn CCs opposed the proposal, reflecting the consensus view expressed in discussion at their regular public meetings.
The NW&SCC response to the initial consultation can be seen here
This first statutory consultation completed in early 2021 attracted a respectable 98 public responses from local residents and provided a conclusive verdict (85 from 98 respondents expressed clear opposition to disposal by sale of this Common Good Asset at this time).
In June 2021, Highland Council recognised that consultation exercise as “comprehensive” and valid.
In September 2021 however, Highland Council announced that they proposed to hold a further consultation. This was presented as an effort to engage sectors of the community who had not responded to the original exercise. It was also announced that an unidentified, unelected “reference group” would be established to advise and assist in this process.
Nairn West & Suburban Community Council and Nairn River Community Council both challenged the holding of this further exercise.
- The joint CCs letter of 4 Oct 2021 objected to the second consultation
- The joint NWSCC and NRCC letter of 26 October 2021 expressed concern about the procedures and in particular the role of a ‘reference group’.
Both CCs consider this further or additional consultation to be unjustified and the process flawed. We continue to believe firmly that the single option proposed – to give Highland Council discretion to sell the entire Sandown Land site for development – is not in the best interests of the community of Nairn.
We regard the proposal as ill-timed and unlikely to represent best value. In our view, a full range of alternative options for the management and long-term future of the town’s most valuable asset should be publicly debated, and all options assessed, before any plans or recommendations are put forward for the community’s consideration and comment.
However as this second consultation on the proposed sale of Sandown has now been launched, local residents of the burgh of Nairn – especially those who did not participate in the previous consultation exercise – have a further opportunity to express a view.
- A background note on the history and status of Nairn’s Common Good is here
- The 2019 report by the Scottish Land Commission on Delivering Greater Benefit from Common Good and their 2020 Protocol on management of Common Good Assets are also useful explanatory documents.
The deadline for comments is 31 January 2022. Responses can be submitted using an online form prepared by Highland Council which consists of a limited set of prepared questions; or by letter or email to Common Good Officer Sara Murdoch, at firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to her at Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX.