When Sainsburys first applied to build at Balmakeith, one of the reports produced in response was from Transport Scotland.
Contained within were details of a whole raft of proposals for the road network in the town, which those in the transport 'know ' obviously thought necessary to allow the good folk of the town to go about their daily business without sitting for hours at a junction in their cars, or run the risk of being squished if they were on foot.
The detailed report was available for everyone to read, so the arrival of men in yellow jackets in the town ,installing our four new sets of traffic lights , a roundabout and a pedestrian crossing, should come as no surprise to anyone who read the small print. However, it appears that most people had absolutely no idea that the granting of their wishes for a new supermarket out of town would be somewhat tainted by all these new traffic lights ,likely to reduce traffic flow through the town to a crawl, or possibly even nothing as fast.
The A96 provides the fundamental means by which many of the towns between Inverness and Aberdeen remain viable commercial entities. Indeed, how will the towns of Highland,Moray and beyond ever haul themselves out of their current economic woes if the most basic needs of business, like ensuring staff, customers and delveries, can't actually get there in the first place?
Nairn currently has two sets of traffic lights (each incorporating pedestrian crossings) , two 'stand alone' pedestrian controlled crossings and one roundabout.In a few months, when the dust has settled we will have six sets of traffic lights ( all with pedestrian crossings), three 'stand alone' crossings and two roundabouts.
Rather ironically, the Manse Road/ Waverley Road junction which most needs traffic lights, isn't going to get them.
It could be argued that the Scottish Ministers will never be presented with a better case for bringing forward the schedule for the bypass and, given it was the same Ministers that granted permission for the out of town store in the first place , I would consider it something they should apply themselves to without delay.
However you feel about the arrival of the new supermarket, there is the real risk that Nairn, and the villages on the 'rat-run', will see a direct affect on both their amenity and economy. The Association is already a part of the bypass group and we will be contacting the Transport Minister in Edinburgh to ensure he is fully aware of the idiocy of the current situation and it's potential direct impact on the town and the surrounding villages.
Until the bypass is built , the fastest thing on the A96 in Nairn will very likely be a bike, possibly even one with an old wifie riding it.