The founding Board of NCSL has sought external validation of their ideas from a number of sources; these have helped maintain accurate and prudent checks on planning decisions over the past seven years’ gestation.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) reviewed the NCSL proposal in 2016 and agreed to fund an economic appraisal to be undertaken by international consultants Upper Quartile Consulting ( which they completed in 2017. This concluded the NCSL project to be ‘a game changer’ for Nairn, a view which was endorsed by HIE. In addition to the direct employment increase of 57ftes (full-time equivalents), it noted the additional spin-off employment and income multiplier effects elsewhere within the local economy. Plus of course the shorter-term boosts during the phased construction stages, planned to ensure continuity of access to some swimming facilities.

The appraisal foresaw NCSL making a positive contribution to the local tourism economy as it created a unique and year-round USP non-existent in current provision. This ‘honey-pot’ effect would thus create further benefits for sectors not directly related to the core NCSL activity and would stimulate demand outside the traditional holiday seasons. Encouraged by this independent assessment further research has been undertaken to produce a business plan subsequently examined and approved by the Finance and other Directors of a leading Scottish enterprise (

The NCSL business plan projects a turnover of £4.3m within 4 years. Financial projections indicate a surplus revenue in year 4 of £0.5m which will be redistributed to community groups in Nairn. Thereafter the plan predicts a sustainable annual surplus of at least £0.9m which will be allocated to the successful applicants to NCSL’s charitable bi-annual awards scheme.

The business case for NCSL has been subjected to rigorous independent economic and financial assessments by an international consultancy, regional government enterprise agency and a market-leading private sector enterprise. In addition the technological and environmental evaluations to date are supportive and whilst further assessments are planned, the prognosis is nothing other than encouraging: NCSL has indeed the capacity to deliver sustainable multi-faceted benefits to future health and wellbeing of Nairn.