Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 17 February 2008

Inverness and Nairn and their different policies on bridges

I read that Highland Council is to spend GBP167,000- on lighting one of the major bridges across the River Ness in Inverness. It's undoubtedly a charming idea to have the ability to have changing lighting displays to mark special events.

However it shows clearly where Highland Council's priorities lie when you contrast it with the fact that the Harbour Bridge crossing in Nairn has been closed to vehicular traffic for about four years (pedestrians may still use it) and there are no plans to carry out the much-needed repairs to make it safe for vehicles again. From memory the esitmated cost of these repairs would have been less than the cost of lighting up the Ness Bridge! Although Inverness is the most populous settlement in the Highland Council area the impression is given, I'm afraid often borne out by fact, that the rest of the roughly 10,000 square mile area under its control is of relatively minor importance when compared with the showcase projects with which Inverness and its Councillors surround themselves.

The ball was very firmly put in Highland Council's court by the Scottish Executive (now known as the 'Scottish Government') as this written answer (S2W-9043) in June 2004 makes clear (scroll down the page to the section entitled 'Bridges'). The fact that the bridge leads from Harbour Street at its bottom end across to one of the major tourist destinations in Nairn, a very large static caravan park whose patrons must spend significant amounts in Nairn during the holiday season, seems to be of minor importance to Highland Council when compared to the need for 'The capital of the Highlands' to show a pretty face to visitors.

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