A note on Nairn’s Common Good Assets ‘for the benefit of the citizens of the burgh’
Nairn’s Common Good Assets are lands and property given to the town in the past with an obligation that they be ‘managed for the benefit of the citizens of the burgh of Nairn’ .
Nairn Common Good land includes some of the town’s finest assets and green spaces, the Links, the Harbour and the Maggot area as well as the Riverside, Viewfield and Sandown lands and historic buildings such as Viewfield House and the Laing Hall. Sandown Land is the subject of a current proposal to ‘dispose by sale’ by Highland Council (more below)
Nairn has one of the largest Common Good portfolios in Highland but since most is land, annual revenue from rents and business lettings is expected to be only around £134,000 in 2021/22 budget projection compared to £2.2 million to be generated by Inverness City Common Good Fund assets which include the Longman Industrial Estate, the Victorian Market and Inverness Town House.
You can find more information on Common Good here on the Scottish Land Commission website, and more on local authority duties in relation to Common Good property under the Community Empowerment Act 2015 here
Section 104 ‘requires the local authority to consult with the local community when it is planning to dispose of common good property, or change its use. The local authority must publish details of the proposed disposal or change of use of common good property, and notify and invite representations from community councils and community bodies.’
It is also a legal requirement under the 2015 Community Empowerment Act, for local authorities in Scotland to publish a list of the land and property they are entrusted to look after for the benefit of local people.
You can find Nairn’s Common Good Asset Register on Highland Council’s website. This is a ‘live document’ which continues to be updated based on local historical research.
To help inform what happens next re parking charges on Nairn seafront, and currently proposed disposal by sale of Sandown Common Good lands( more below), Grant Street Yard and to extend the lease of the Links ‘Kiosk’ ( currently James’s Cafe) we need to hear what you think as a local citizen because these assets were given to the town for your benefit. You can post comments on our blog, email us, or talk directly to your community councillor or your Highland Councillor.
Sandown Lands -2021 Highland Council consultation on disposal. Nairn public said NO
A consultation took place in Spring 2021 on the proposed sale by Highland Council of one of Nairn’s largest Common Good assets’ Sandown Lands to the west of the town.
A summary of public responses can be found here which includes submissions from Nairn River CC, Nairn West and Suburban CC.
98 responses were received from local residents and community groups.
85 contributors lodged objections against the proposed ‘disposal’
10 people submitted points both for and against
only 3 comments were entirely in support
You can read more on Nairn West and Suburban CC website and the Gurn.
In September 2021 the Nairnshire Area Committee of Highland Council which comprises Nairn’s 4 elected Highland Councillors decided, despite the above conclusive public verdict rejecting the proposed sale – that they wished Highland Council to ‘extend’ the consultation period. CC’s strongly questioned THC reasoning for rejecting the clear outcome of the first public consultation as ‘not satisfactory’ , and the suggestion that previous respondents ( including 2 Nairn Community Councils) ‘did not understand the question’.
A short life Reference Group was proposed by Highland Council officers to ‘oversee’ a further consultation process. The two Nairn Community Councils were invited, at a few days notice, to attend, but declined until they had time to meet as a collective and discuss the proposition with their communities. They also requested information on the purpose, remit and membership of this ‘Reference Group’ which was not received till after the additional consultation was live.
The second Sandown consultation exercise was launched by Highland Council on 12 December 2021, It will run till end January 2022.
We note that this consultation is open online not only to residents of Nairn’s former Royal Burgh – but to the whole global internet and we understand that it also permits multiple anonymous submissions.
It also asks two different sets of questions, depending on whether you have completed the previous consultation or not.
This raises many more questions about how responses to this will be quantified.