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Pressure over infrastructure among main concerns over new plans for Nairn housing development

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Plans from the area development brief. Graphics: Prepared by EMA Architecture + Design Limited on behalf of Barratt Homes (North Scotland).
Plans from the area development brief. Graphics: Prepared by EMA Architecture + Design Limited on behalf of Barratt Homes (North Scotland).

A PROPOSED new Nairn housing development has sparked concerns about the impact on local traffic levels and other infrastructure.

As reported last week the development, proposed by Barratt Developments Scotland, would see 300 new homes built north of the A96, in Delnies.

A “village green” and small commercial hub are also included in the proposed first phase of the plan.

A planning application in principle was first lodged for the development back in 2008 – and was renewed in 2021 according to Highland Council sources.

A new application has now been submitted to avoid expiry of the initial permission.

Plans from the area development brief. Graphics: Prepared by EMA Architecture + Design Limited on behalf of Barratt Homes (North Scotland).Plans from the area development brief. Graphics: Prepared by EMA Architecture + Design Limited on behalf of Barratt Homes (North Scotland).
Plans from the area development brief. Graphics: Prepared by EMA Architecture + Design Limited on behalf of Barratt Homes (North Scotland).

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council has objected to the development, worried about the impact on local infrastructure in a number of areas and to what it sees as a significant change to the original proposals.

They stated: “This development originally got planning permission in 2013 on the back of its leisure facilities – golf course and academy, hotel and conference centre, tourist centre, equestrian centre, wildlife centres.

“It now appears that the land for houses is separate from the leisure part of the development and in different ownership. There is absolutely no confidence that the leisure element will ever be built.”

Their objection also raised concerns about the isolation of the site, which it says will force prospective residents to rely on cars, and that the plans do not reflect the housing needs of Nairn.

Alastair Noble, Chair of Nairn West & Suburban Community Council. Picture: James Mackenzie.Alastair Noble, Chair of Nairn West & Suburban Community Council. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Alastair Noble, Chair of Nairn West & Suburban Community Council. Picture: James Mackenzie.

“Building like this will only attract many more retirees who will help to overwhelm health and social care services in a few years time, and do nothing to attract young people and jobs to the town,” they said.

“Sandown Common Good land has now been turned down for housing development as a result of an overwhelming vote by the people of Nairn against selling, which makes the isolation of Delnies complete.

“It flies in the face of attempts to regenerate town centres, minimise daily journeys, build cohesive communities and provide for the identified need in Nairn for mainly affordable housing in the town centre.

“This is a prime example of a proposal to turn a very productive farm on prime land into a built up area out of town.”

The latest iteration of the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan (IMFLDP2) does not include the proposed area as one available for housing.

Comments made by council officers on the IMFLDP2 stated: “The council has not taken forward the site in the IMFLDP as a housing allocation due to its detachment from Nairn’s existing settlement edge and the decision by the area committee and other community groups not to proceed with disposal of Sandown and to undertake a fresh review of the future possible uses.

“This raises uncertainty about how and when the adjoining site will be delivered and raises the possibility that if Delnies were to be developed then it would remain detached for the foreseeable future.

“As a standalone development, Delnies would not represent a natural expansion of Nairn and would have an adverse impact on the landscape.

“The accessibility of the site may also be further compromised as public transport provision could be less viable for a standalone development and active travel provision within the Sandown site may not be achievable, at least in the short to medium term.

“These issues also raise concerns about whether the creation of a school at Delnies (the planning permission requires a school site to be provided at nil cost to the council) would be in a desirable location.”

They added that the IMFLDP is subject to an ongoing legal process, the outcome of which – for Delnies and every other contested site/issue – will be known by the end of January 2024.

The developers said the plans include 75 affordable homes and that the homes aim to support the investment in the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, which is set to bring thousands of jobs to the area.

A spokesperson said: “The homes will boost the availability of quality housing in the region as it continues to grow.

“In addition to this, land for a new primary school has also been included in the proposal, as well as the creation of a new roundabout off the A96 to access both the Barratt development and the neighbouring site at Sandown.”

David Palmer, managing director of Barratt Developments North Scotland, said: “We’re really pleased to share the first development proposal for the new site at Delnies, Nairn. It’s an exciting time for the region, which is set to benefit from the jobs and investment opportunities that the Green Freeport will bring – creating a real need for high quality homes suitable for younger workers and local families right through to those relocating for new green jobs.

“It’s a beautiful location, and the proposal is the first phase of a long-anticipated development, including a new roundabout off the A96, green space and a primary school. This will support Nairn as it continues to grow and thrive as one of the Highlands’ top places to live.”


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