Monday, 29 June 2009

'Speakeasy' update part 2

As promised more notes from the 'Speakeasy'.

Scottish Water

After a technical description of who was responsible for the upstream and downstream elements of the water network, various points emerged:

1 SR10 expansion at Ardersier was under way, and the planned Airport Business Park, Tornagrain and Whiteness would feed into (or be pumped) there.

2 Nairn had “limited capacity” for treatment of the planned developments at Delnies, Sandown, South Nairn, and elsewhere. And the Nairn sewage network would be “unable to accommodate” Delnies and Sandown.

3 On water supply, capacity exists, but new sources would have to be found. Modelling work was still being done.

4 In answer to a question, Scottish Water maintained that water supply was not a constraint on development. Likely new sources were the Ness or the Farigaig (?). But waste water capacity was clearly an issue for development in Nairn.

Open Mike Session

Ewen Anderson (7N Architects), retained by Balblair, spoke about his alternative vision for Nairn development. The bypass, envisaged within the 20-40 year timescale of the A96 corridor plan, would take a long time to materialise. It would risk stimulating ‘ring road development’ leaving a void between the existing town and the building along the line of the expected bypass. Nairn should grow organically as a walking town (sic), with development infilling existing wedges of land, and the creation of inner distributor roads to relieve A96 traffic

Graham Vine expressed concern about the high-density concrete-jungle building proposals at Sandown, described the threat of rat-running, and asked if the adjacent section of the A96 could be “de-trunked” to permit more access points for the expected Sandown/Delnies traffic. The HC and TS answer was effectively “No”.


In conversation in the margins, Derrick Thomson of Scotia Homes said that their intended second round of local consultation in Nairn involving the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment had been deferred because of the lack of clarity and progress on – in particular – the Nairn bypass planning and funding. But he expressed interest in having a discussion with local Community Councils and others who might be interested in exploring the possible vision(s) for Nairn’s future development.

The general feedback feeling from members on the ground was that not a lot of new information emerged. Transport Scotland are having to be circumspect. They did admit that the commitment on the new Forth bridge would pre-empt or preclude expenditure on many other strategic transport projects. There was a feeling that is was clear that HC and Halcrow are determined to protect and perpetuate the existing A96 Corridor Plan. It seemed that Scott Davidson of Halcrow made vigorous efforts to justify and defend his Plan when challenged after the meeting.

Apparently HC feel under time-pressure to keep to the schedule for the new Highland-wide Local Development Plan – and Mr Macleod mentioned to an attendee that the public-consultation period in Aug-Sept 09 might be extended.

See Blog 'Countdown begins'

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