The Council-owned sites – restoration or demolition?

To no-one’s great surprise, the Highland Council has put the land and buildings it owns in the town centre up for sale.  But the idea of selling the plots, buildings and car parks off separately has rightly caused concern.   Some serious questions remain to be answered:

  • Despite all the assurances given to NICE back in spring, will the town end up with piecemeal, unconnected development?
  • Will any developer buy land just to create an amenity space which offers no profit?
  •  Will there be a reduction or removal of town centre parking spaces?  The choice of words by Tim Stott of the Council quoted in the press was very revealing:  “no significant net loss of parking”.  How many lost spaces would be “significant”?
  • Are the old but historic and sound Social Work Department buildings bound to be bulldozed?  It was noticeable how our Councillors wriggled and equivocated when challenged about this at the Ward Forum.

NICE was formed to campaign for a well-planned, attractive and sensible regeneration of the town centre.  Do we need to go in to battle again?  If you think so, say so!

2 thoughts on “The Council-owned sites – restoration or demolition?

  1. I think the stone buildings should be retained as they are attractive and seem to be in reasonable condition (ie could be re-used). There seems to be a shortage of retail premises in Nairn and given the right conditions regarding rents, etc commercial operators could be encouraged to occupy those buildings rather than the smaller units at Balmakeith for example – which is not, let’s face it, really a retail environment.

    The old community centre could have a new life too, if the flat-roofed bit was knocked down and the old church building was sub-divided into business start-up units (mainly retail again) – if they can build brand new business start-up units in Forres (Horizon) and Inverness (Kintail House, etc) why can’t Nairn have something similar.

    I recall a few years ago that Milnes Primary School in Fochabers was deemed too expensive to renovate and the local authority were going to demolish the lovely building and build a new edifice. The locals in Fochabers kicked up a fuss and the developers costings were reviewed and “Ta Da” it was cheaper to restore the old building, which now has modern facilities and retains some character in Fochabers.

    We should argue for the same before Nairn looks like a dormitory town for Inverness (with modern carbuncles dotted around) and loses any more of it’s attractive and historic buildings. In this day and age of supposed austerity and thoughts regarding recycling we should recycle some of these building where possible.

    And another thing – what happens to the lovely stable building on Viewfield if the “tower block and corner shop” goes up, it will be even more hidden from view. That is a gem of a building that is sadly underused by an unimaginative council. Bulldoze the Bus Station and landscape the area, turn the red sandstone stable into a civic building and show it off to passers-by…

  2. It would be great to see the Viewfield stables with a frontage which would be visible from the trunk road. Clearly there is merit to in the retention of the former social work offices and historically of course older Nairnites will recall part of that terrace was once the police station. It is a nice old stone building which surely could be put to good use. Not wanting to be seen to give free advertising but just look at the superb craftsmanship of John Gallagher’s Cranford Builders masons who built the extension to the Aurora restaurant (corner of Albert St) and knocked down and reubilt two houses in Bath Street in stone recycled from the site. Thats’ quality building and the more we have of that visible along the A96 the better.

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