Agendas, reports and minutes

Nairnshire Committee

Date: Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minutes of Meeting of the Nairnshire Committee held in the Chamber, The Court House, High Street, Nairn on Wednesday 14 March 2018 at 10.30 am.


Mr L Fraser
Mr T Heggie
Mrs L MacDonald
Mr P Saggers

In attendance:

Ms L Cowie, Ward Manager, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey
Mr R Porteous, Roads Operations Manager, Community Services
Mr R MacLeod, Principal Housing Officer, Community Services
Mr S Taylor, Administrative Assistant, Chief Executive’s Office

Also in attendance:

Ms J MacDonald, Head Teacher, Nairn Academy (Item 3)
Sergeant V Tough, Police Scotland (Item 4)

An asterisk in the margin denotes a recommendation to the Council.  All decisions with no marking in the margin are delegated to the Committee.

Mr T Heggie in the Chair


Prior to the commencement of the formal business, the Chair advised that the press would be allowed to record the meeting since it was a committee meeting held in public and was not webcast.


1. Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.

2. Declaration of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

The Committee NOTED the following Declaration of Interest:-

Item 6 – Mr L Fraser (non-financial)

3. Presentation – Head Teacher – Nairn Academy
Taisbeanadh – Ceannard – Acadamaidh Inbhir Narann

Ms Julie MacDonald, Head Teacher, Nairn Academy gave a presentation to the Committee on Nairn Academy’s Curriculum for Excellence and how it was developing its learners pathways to maximise pupil achievement and attainment. 

She outlined that the four key aspects of Curriculum for Excellence were developing pupils into confident individuals; effective contributors; responsible citizens and successful learners and she emphasised the importance of providing pupils with the opportunity to develop these skills through experience.  In comparing Nairn Academy with Highland and National statistics, it was highlighted that a high percentage of pupils leaving Nairn Academy were moving into a positive destination such as volunteer work, higher and further education, employment and training.  She highlighted that the curricular pathways for pupils was split into Broad General Education for S1-S3 and Senior Phase for S4-S6 and that all subjects encompassed literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, skills for learning, life and work as the key areas.  In concluding her presentation, she highlighted that Nairn Academy was seeking to offer a curriculum that was attractive to pupils and competitive with other schools in the area.

In response to a number of questions, Members were advised that:-

  • The recent career and learner pathway event had been successful in establishing contacts with local companies who could provide work experience for school leavers;
  • Inverness Chamber of Commerce could provide assistance in finding contacts for pupils seeking work experience;
  • Discussion had taken place regarding the provision of Gaelic education within Nairn Academy and that whilst there could be scope to provide this through IT, this was not considered by parents to be best way of delivering this subject to pupils;
  • It was acknowledged that IT provision within the school had become tired and the importance of providing staff and pupils with good internet connectivity within the school was emphasised;
  • Whilst a Wipro technician had been allocated to the school, this was on a shared basis depending on priority with other schools in Inverness;
  • Video conferencing facilities were available within the school; however, this could be unreliable due to a lack of connectivity;
  • Lockers were available to pupils;
  • The opportunity for the school to be involved with the Christmas lights switch-on on 23 November was welcomed; and
  • In acknowledging the issues identified in relation to the condition of the school building and the effect that this had on internet connectivity, it was highlighted that repairs could be problematic due to the potential presence of asbestos in some roof areas.

In discussion, the following points were raised:-

  • Different subjects in education could bring out various aspects of pupil’s character and that there were opportunities for pupils to further develop their leadership skills through their education and through the “Make a Difference” programme;
  • In welcoming the prioritisation of Nairn Academy within the Council’s capital programme, it was emphasised that preparatory work was required to ensure that the school was in a position to take advantage of any opportunity that might become available for work to commence;
  • The Parent Teacher Council had been proactive in promoting the case for the inclusion of Nairn Academy within the Council’s Capital Programme and the Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked them for their work, in particular their promotion of Gaelic as a subject; and
  • In terms of curricular pathways, Nairn Academy compared positively with other schools both Highland-wide and nationally.

Having thanked Ms MacDonald, the Committee NOTED her presentation and the information given and that Ms MacDonald had offered a future presentation to the Committee accompanied by pupils from Nairn Academy.

4. Police Scotland – Area Performance Summary
Poileas Alba – Geàrr-chunntas Dèanadais Sgìreil

There had been circulated Report No N/01/18 dated 28 February 2018 by the South Highland Area Commander providing a local summary update on progress with reference to the local priorities within the Highland 2014-2017 Policing Plan.

In discussion, the following points were raised:-

  • Having expressed concern regarding drivers speeding on Tradespark Road, reassurance was sought, and received that following a recent speed counter survey undertaken by the Council, Roads Policing could allocate the appropriate resources required within the area;
  • The speed counter survey undertaken on Tradespark Road had identified a regular occurrence of speeding at 5.00 pm;
  • Whilst it had been proposed that signs be installed to warn drivers of pedestrians on Tradespark Road, feedback from the community following testing had identified that this was not enough to lower the speed limit to 20 mph;
  • The Force was commended for its work in raising awareness of online and telephone scammers, in particular with elderly victims; and
  • In relation to an issue of anti-social behaviour caused by a specific group of young people in Nairn, the Force was commended for looking at the issue seriously.

Having thanked Sergeant Tough for his report, the Committee NOTED and scrutinised the progress report against the objectives set within the Highland and Islands Local Policing Plan 2017-20 Year 1, attached as Appendix A to the report, for the period covering 1 April - 31 December 2017.

5. Nairn Common Good Fund – Budget Setting for 2018/19 and Quarter 3 2017/18 Monitoring Report
Maoin Math Coitcheann Inbhir Narann – Aithisg Sgrùdaidh Cairteil 3 agus Suidheachadh Buidseit 2018/19

There had been circulated joint Report No N/02/18 dated 28 February 2018 by the Director of Corporate Resources and the Inverness City Manager.

The Ward Manager outlined the proposed budget as set in Appendix 1 to the report and provided information as to the anticipated revenue income and expenditure for 2018/19.  It was highlighted that the proposed budget included provision for project planning for the proposed Links Development Plan.  The Committee was reminded that it had previously approved investment of cash reserves and was advised that one of the key aims of this investment was to grow funds to a level sufficient to provide an annual Common Good ‘Grant Funding Scheme’.

The Committee:-

i. AGREED the Nairn Common Good Fund budget for 2018/19 detailed at Appendix 1 to the report;
ii. NOTED the reference to a potential ‘Grant Funding Scheme’ and that a report on the application process and criteria will be presented to Committee when this proposal becomes viable; and
iii. NOTED the position of the Nairn Common Good Fund as shown in the Quarter 3 Revenue Monitoring Statement against Budget at Appendix 2 to the report.

6. Housing Performance Report – 1 April to 31 December 2017
Aithisg Coileanaidh Taigheadais – 1 Giblean gu 31 Dubhlachd 2017

Declaration of Interest: Mr L Fraser declared a non-financial interest in this item as a Sub-Contractor for the Housing Service in Nairn but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that his interest did not preclude his involvement in the discussion.

There had been circulated report No N/03/18 dated 27 February 2018 by the Director of Community Services.

During discussion, the following comments were made:-

  • The allocation of housing to people with a local connection was welcomed and showed that staff could take into consideration the prioritisation of local people when allocating housing;
  • In highlighting problems experienced in a number of households regarding the availability and storage of bio-mass pellets during the recent winter weather, reassurance was sought, and received, that discussion had taken place with national suppliers of bio-mass pellets to emphasise that the Highlands should be prioritised during periods of cold winter weather;
  • The inclusion of 15 social housing properties and 8 mid-market properties within Phase 4 of the Lochloy development was welcomed; and
  • A recent report entitled “Stimulating Housing Development in the Highlands and Islands” had highlighted that more and more young people in the area were living with their parents as they were not in a position to be able to afford to purchase or rent their own accommodation.

The Chair on behalf of the Committee commended the local Housing team and thereafter NOTED and scrutinised the information provided on housing performance for the period 1 April to 31 December 2017.

7. Nairn Roads Maintenance Programme 2018/19
Prògraman Càradh Rathaidean Inbhir Narann 2018/19

There had been circulated report No N/04/18 dated 26 February 2018 by the Director of Community Services.

During discussion, confirmation was sought, and received regarding the following:-

  • The opportunity to seek further contributions from the wind farm development at Cairn Duhie to use for road surface improvements had been explored; however, it was unlikely that there would be a further opportunity to seek more funding;
  • The Whitebridge at Cawdor had been included within the Council’s capital programme; and
  • The Roads Operations team could look at the potential of providing road markings and lining at Queens Park.

Thereafter, the Committee AGREED the 2018/19 Roads Maintenance Programme for the Nairn area.

8. Minutes of Previous Meeting

There had been circulated Minutes of Meeting of the Nairnshire Committee held on 7 December 2017, which had been approved by the Council on 14 December 2017.

Arising from the minute, the Chair expressed regret that in relation to item 3, the development of a dance studio at Nairn Leisure Centre would not proceed in the immediate future.

Thereafter the Committee NOTED the Minutes.

The meeting concluded at 11.55 am.