The administration of common good funds should be placed under direct local control, said a candidate in the Nairn elections.
Michael Green, a former Highland councilor who plans to run again in May, wants a local Common Good Fund committee that meets regularly with elected Highland Council members to decide together how funds should be disbursed.
The Nairn Commons is the subject of continuing controversy over the way it is administered by the Highland Council as trustees, particularly in relation to plans to market Sandown land for housing.
Mr Green said: “There is a serious problem where you have the four local members who have responsibilities and loyalties to the Highland Council, but they are also stewards of the common good.
“We need to fundamentally change the way the common good is administered – not just in Nairn but in the Highlands.”
Local community councils have been at odds with Highland Council over the administration of the fund in recent months, accusing it of using it for services that should be better paid for by other council funds, which the council denies .
Mr Green said he intends to set up a local common good fund committee which would draw members from a variety of community groups, including community councils, sports clubs, parent-teacher associations and local churches.
He would meet with local Highland Councilors on a quarterly basis to jointly determine how the fund is used.
‘It is vital that the actual composition of the committee is determined by the people of Nairn,’ he said.
“The agenda would be set by the committee and this would allow the people of Nairn to create a ‘local plan’ which for once would be representative of their views and aspirations.
‘For too long the operation and control of the Nairn Common Good Fund has been behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy,’ he said.
“For far too long he has been a vehicle for advancing Highland Council’s personal agendas and strategic goals.
“This has to change and if I am elected on May 5, I will do everything in my power to push for change.
“The people of Nairn own the Common Good Fund, its assets, money and income, but have no say in its oversight and governance; nor, more importantly, its direction and attributions.
A Highland Council spokesman said: ‘The council cannot comment on the political views of any individual standing for election.