Home Inverness colorado housing Sandown land will not get housing after Highland Council’s Nairnshire area committee members agreed to take it off the market and explore other uses for the site

Sandown land will not get housing after Highland Council’s Nairnshire area committee members agreed to take it off the market and explore other uses for the site

Sandown Lands on the outskirts of Nairn. Photo: James Mackenzie

Councilors have agreed to take an area of ​​land in Nairn off the market and explore uses other than housing.

Yesterday members of the Highland Council’s Nairnshire area committee agreed on a recommendation not to sell Sandown land, which was once the subject of a bidding war between property developers.

The 38 hectare site either side of the A96 on the western outskirts of Nairn is owned by the Nairn Common Good Fund.

Other potential land uses to explore now include food cropping.

For years, controversy surrounded future plans for the site which had been touted by the council as a “long-awaited farmland development”.

Speaking at the meeting, a council official told councilors that alternative sites in the town could be used for housing and that Sandown would be best used for green space projects.

Committee chair Michael Green called the report to councillors, produced following public consultation, “excellent” because it represented the views of residents.

And vice-chairman Paul Oldham said, “I would welcome opportunities for community growth.”

The council officer told members that options could include community agriculture programs and expanding existing allotments at the site.

Councilor Barbara Jarvie said: ‘I agree with the chairman, this is an excellent report written in simple terms so that the public can clearly understand it.’

Nairn Provost, Cllr Laurie Fraser, added: “It highlighted all the things I wanted to highlight.”

He said a major problem in the city was the emergence of properties that are rented out to visitors and added: ‘If we got rid of AirBnB we could probably house everyone.’

The committee agreed not to sell the land and the other recommendations of the report.

At one point the council received offers of over £14million 15 years ago and although a deal was struck it was later called off when the developer failed to receive the permit to build.

A valuation in October 2020 estimated the land to be worth between £6m and £7m.

It was the subject of two public consultations which were organized by the council between November 2020 and January of this year.

The results were made public last week. The report noted that the consultation had clearly shown strong concern from the Nairn community about Sandown and its future use and that the recommendations reflected this.

The report, authored by Neighborhood Director Lewis Hannah and Common Good Officer Sara Murdoch, said the analysis took into account all feedback received during both consultation periods and that the recommendations were based on the aggregate comments.

The report outlines a number of next steps for the land, stating: “Options for establishing new community growth opportunities on the Sandown Lands field are being explored as part of a feasibility study, which will include further engagement with the community.

“The scope of commissioning this feasibility study will be presented at a future meeting of this committee.”

The land sale project did not include home gardens or a plot of land for the extension of the gardens. Had the land been sold, the money would have been available to invest in other commons and community priorities in Nairn.

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