Nairn’s 4 elected Highland Councillors are also Nairn’s Common Good Trustees along with the other 68 Highland Councillors who get a say on all major Common Good decisions for Nairn.
Since 2020 Highland Council have launched multiple public consultations under new Community Empowerment Act 2015 legislation.
These consultations are managed by Highland’s (only) Common Good Officer and seek public views on proposals to dispose of (by sale or lease) or change use of, Nairn’s valuable Common Good Assets.
A number of changes have also been ‘imposed’ recently on Nairn’s Common Good Land, including chargeable parking infrastructure being installed at the Links, Harbour and Maggot by Highland Council’s Parking Manager, without the ‘prior public consultation’ with local residents which is required by law for any ‘change of use’
Both Nairn community councils have been challenging this with Highland Councillors and officers since last April so far to no avail – we understand that similar conversations have been happening across Highland with the Council’s Parking Manager , Shane Manning as his team erects ‘invitation to pay’ parking infrastructure, on other Common Good land, from Wick to Fortrose, and Dornoch, paving the way for chargeable parking without the required ‘prior consultation’ with local people.
It is important for local people to understand what this means for Nairn.
Common Good assets cannot legally be sold or changed (including raising income from them) without local people being given a proper say. Community Councils must be notified as the statutory public consultation bodies, and Highland Council must have regard to residents views to inform their decisions.
We will try to keep you up to date with latest Common Good news and developments here
LIVE Nairn Common Good Consultations
None are live at present. ( March 2022)
Who Looks After Nairn Common Good Assets ?
The current 72 Highland Councillors who are about to step down have a second ‘local’ role as Common Good Trustees. Not all parts of Highland have ‘Common Good Assets’ – this mainly relates to towns which were ‘Royal Burghs’ like Nairn.
The 4 new Nairn Councillors to be elected in May 2022, will also be Nairn’s Common Good Trustees. They make decisions on Nairn Common Good matters at the quarterly Nairnshire (Local Area) Committee of Highland Council. Major decisions are referred to the whole Highland Council since all 72 Highland Councillors are also ‘Common Good Trustees’
RECENT /CONCLUDED Nairn Common Good consultations
Common Good Consultation – proposal to sell Grant Street Yard – closed 10/03/22 Nairn River CC do not recognise this as a valid public consultation, because due process in decision making and public transparency was not followed by Nairn’s Common Good Trustees/Highland Councillors to initiate it. We have asked for this proposal to be withdrawn till after the May 22 elections when new Highland Councillors are appointed as Nairn Common Good Trustees, to work alongside the Nairn community to improve local Common Good governance. This will also give time for wider options such as leasing to be explored for this Nairn Common Good Asset with sale as a last resort – our submission is here
Sandown Lands Additional Consultation – closed 31st Jan 2022 -the two Nairn Community Councils who had submitted detailed responses to the first consultation in 2021, did not recognise this second consultation as valid, for multiple reasons, as follows
the first consultation already delivered a clear ‘don’t sell’ verdict from Nairn people, based on 98 responses, the most ever received in Highland for this kind of consultation.
the online survey for the second consultation was not restricted to identifiable residents of the former Burgh of Nairn, but open to the whole internet, allowing multiple and anonymous responses making it impossible to analyse or define as a ‘local response’
the above survey asked 2 different sets of questions in addition to the first consultation’s simple Yes or No to the Common Good Asset sale. These included leading questions on future use of the land, including for housing, which were not relevant to a statutory Common Good public consultation on disposal or change of use.
the second consultation was selectively targeted on specific ‘groups’ of respondents (including, we understand, Nairn housing applicants from outwith Highland), who were offered support to complete the survey. We believe this to be in contravention of Equalities, Common Good and Community Empowerment legislation, so not valid.
Sandown Lands Common Good Consultation Feb 2021 – Proposal to dispose of CG land by sale ( 98 responses, 85 against the sale, summary here. Highland Council considered this response unsatisfactory and local Councillors approved a further consultation -see above)
Nairn Links Tearoom and Old Store Common Good Consultation Oct 20 – Jan 21 – Extension of lease for ‘Strathnairn Cafe’ ( approved – 16 responses, majority in support)
Nairn Sailing Club Common Good Consultation April- June 2019 ( disposal of CG land for Coastal Rowing Club Shed) approved – 2 public responses both in favour. The 2 Nairn Community Councils were not notified by Highland Council, so did not have an opportunity to contribute. Nairn River CC were in abeyance Feb- Dec 19 and unable to hold public meetings but councillors were still active in the community and responding to email.