New lease of life for prominent Nairn site

THE Highland Council has announced plans to build a ‘striking’ new building in Nairn following the award of a £700,000 grant from the Scottish Government.

It will house the town’s Citizens Advice Bureau alongside 12 one and two-bedroom flats for council rent at the site of the former Nairn Community Centre.

The local authority said the building will sit within a square which will flow into a pedestrianised route that will enhance the ‘long overshadowed’ nearby listed finance office and create opportunities for stalls or displays along its length.

Brenda Waterfield, chair of Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau, said, “We are delighted to see work starting on our new premises. It has been a long time coming and not without jumping a few hurdles on the way. We outgrew our current premises on the High Street many years ago. This new building will be a community asset, providing support and facilities for the town and a safe, welcoming environment for staff, volunteers and clients for the future. The work done by the bureau has an impact on the wellbeing of both staff and clients. In this current post-Covid world that is something we can all benefit from.

“Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau is a charity and we rely mainly on projects to fund the work we do, having more space will enable us to train more volunteers to give advice to our clients and take on new projects. We would like to thank all those people who have helped us get this far.”

Funding for the new Citizens Advice Bureau office has come from Citizens Advice Scotland; Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau’s own fundraising; The Davidson Trust; Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund; SPAR, the Rotary Club of Nairn and private donors including Worldwidecon.

The chair of The Highland Council’s Nairnshire committee, councillor Tom Heggie, added, “It is good to see this project under way. The additional flats within the development are needed in Nairn, given the shortage of affordable housing within the area. In addition, the need for the services offered by the Citizens Advice Bureau are even more necessary in the aftermath of the two lockdowns we have experienced and the purpose-built facility with IT provision will allow this essential service to be maintained and developed in Nairn.”

The council said it anticipated the project will be completed in summer 2022.