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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Group Welcomes Highland Council’s Recovery Plan

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Four organisations which have joined forces to regenerate Nairn following the Covid 19 crisis have welcomed Highland Council’s recovery action plan which was approved last week.

Nairn Business Improvement District (BID), Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise (NICE) and the town’s two community councils have announced they will work together to get Nairn back on its feet.

And the group has said that the local authority’s Recovery Action Plan which outlined 11 key priority areas including economic and financial recovery was a step in the right direction.

They particularly welcomed Convener Margaret Davidson’s approach which supports community-based local solutions.

Alastair Noble, chairman of NICE said:

“In essence, what the Recovery Action Plan from Highland Council sets out to do, echoes exactly what our four organisations want to achieve which is getting our town and community back on the road to recovery.

“We have been pressing for serious local dialogue and action on a locally-driven recovery programme and we are pleased that Highland Council is fully behind such an approach.

“We are ready and willing to bring our ideas to the table with the aim of playing a constructive part in that process.

“In particular, we embrace Margaret Davidson’s support for community-based local solutions.

“She intends to visit each area committee to see how well Highland Council is working locally.

“As a group we will be seeking to ensure that we meet with her directly as well. Working together is the best way forward.”

Michael Boylan, chairman of Nairn BID added:

“We welcome the enhanced talk of economic regeneration and the emphasise on our councillors to engage locally, as we have been asking for this for some time now.

“Economic recovery has to be front and centre of the plan and we are pleased that so many councillors highlighted that as a priority.

“We look forward to having the opportunity to be involved with Highland Council and this needs to start as soon as possible.

“We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

“The work we face should not be underestimated and the resource for ensuring this happens needs to be considered at all levels of government.”

Sheena Baker, chair of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council was pleased the role of third sector organisations was also recognised:

“Several councillors underlined the vital contribution of voluntary and community groups who have stepped up, adapted and filled gaps as normal public services were reduced or suspended. 

“Local communities in Highland are a resource and they need to be encouraged as partners.

“As always, funding is a huge preoccupation. 

“The Council faces some real difficulties, which no doubt explains the recovery plan’s emphasis on the Council’s own reorganisation, transition, and restructuring plans. 

“We endorse the calls for the Council to maximise the utilisation of government funding aimed at assisting and supporting the recovery process.

“In particular, we strongly welcome support the Council’s commitment to reassess and reallocate existing funding from, for example, the City Region Deal and the Town Centre Fund. 

“This has long been a source of local concern.

“Reassignment of such funding on a more equitable basis around the region is long overdue, and now is the obvious time to do it and I will be nipping at their heels to ensure that action is taken.”

Commenting on the meeting which was held last Thursday, chair of the Recovery Board, Depute Leader Alasdair Christie said:

“The Council has a key role in Highland’s recovery from this crisis and as circumstances change, we will continue to work with partners and communities to support the wider economic recovery.

“It is also important to learn from the many examples of innovation and collaboration that have emerged throughout the response to the Covid-19 crisis.

“This includes developing and harnessing a more agile and flexible workforce and reducing the need to travel through increased digital engagement and enhanced partnership working.”

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