Support outweighs objection to wrasse hatchery

Save the Gauldrens campaigner Bob Miller.

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BY Hannah O’Hanlon

Despite a small group of objectors submitting an extensive, 28 page document with the intention of halting the planned wrasse hatchery at the Gauldrons, supporters still outweigh objectors.

The Save the Gauldrons (STG) group has submitted the document to Argyll and Bute Council’s planning department.

STG has asked for the document to be added list of objectors and supporters who have already made representations regarding Marine Harvest (MH)’s plan to build a wrasse factory adjacent to their current fish hatchery at the site.

One of the main points of contention to MH’s plan is the proposed location, at Lossit/Uisaed point, at the Gauldrons, near Machrihanish.

The opposition document states: ‘There are few people in South Kintyre who have not stood at the Trig Point on Uisaed Point and taken in the wonderful expanse of the whole Bay, the scenic beauty of which would be completely ruined forever by this superstore sized development.’

Many supporters of the proposal did not share those views.

Jane C Gallagher wrote: ‘I live in Campbeltown and visit the Gauldrons with my family frequently. It is the first place we take our visitors. I love the area but believe it will not be spoiled by the hatchery.

‘The school roll has dropped from about 750 to 370 in the 32 years since we moved here. Jobs are vital to stop the desperate depopulation.’

Holly Anderson, from Campbeltown, said: ‘Marine Harvest will make this area more tourist friendly as it will be tidy, and have previously said they would highlight the historical significance of the area. At the moment, people have ruined it with litter, graffiti, and constantly driving and parking on the grass area.

Another concern raised on the STG’s letter is that the proposed hatchery could have an adverse effect on the historical Fessenden mast site.

The letter states: ‘The Marine Harvest application seeks to play down or ignore the rich historical remains and potential of the proposed development site.

‘The flat expanse of sheltered green is used to camp out, have picnics, let children climb on the Fessenden remains and play in the natural freshwater burn and ford.’

Supporter Christine Jardine, in reference to Marine Harvest’s plan to erect information boards about the mast if they receive planning permission, said: ‘I think the proposed development at Lossit Point reflects a good compromise which takes into account the early work on radio by Reginald Fessenden.

‘I believe the displays proposed by Marine Harvest at the site would be a welcome asset for visitors who currently have nothing to tell them about the site’s history.’

Michael Peacock, from Machrihanish, added: ‘The fact that the Fessenden tower was at this location is cited by some as a reason to object.

‘However, surely the fact that it has been the site for an enormous industrial structure is something in its favour – a precedent.’

The STG objection letter continues: ‘We have outlined what flora and fauna will be affected, but a professional assessment will identify much more and we believe those environmental costs are too high a price to pay when the development could and should be located elsewhere.’

The letter suggests that there are other suitable locations to build the hatchery, including the MACC airbase, where there is already an operational salmon farm.

But many supporters of the plan believe that the potential creation of 10 jobs outweighs any negatives.

Councillor Donald Kelly said: ‘This development will create much needed high quality employment prospects for the local community of Kintyre as well as helping to sustain and retain the jobs which currently exist at the original hatchery.’

David Carr, from Glasgow, added: ‘I lived in Campbeltown for 10 years and only moved away due to lack of job opportunities.

‘Hopefully with this bringing in more jobs, other young people won’t be forced in to making the same decision I had to.’

Representations about the proposal can be made to Argyll and Bute council’s planning department, online or by letter, by July 7.

Save the Gauldrens campaigner Bob Miller. 25_c26stg02_bobmiller

The Fessenden site at present. 25_c15fessenden01_lossitpointdevelopment

The existing hatchery buildings. 25_c12wrasse01_wrassefishfarm

Gauldrens wallpaper in Bob Miller’s house. 25_c26stg01_gauldronswallpaper

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