District News, March 12 2021

The collapsing section of road near Skipness, pictured last week.

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Condition of lifeline road causing concern

A collapsed stretch of the lifeline road serving Skipness and the Arran ferry will be reinstated – but not before the new financial year in April.

More than a year after the B8001 collapsed near Claonaig ferry terminal, it has not been repaired and there is real concern the single track carriageway will collapse completely, leaving the village of Skipness cut off by road.

This would mean no access for emergency vehicles, fuel supplies, agricultural deliveries, public and private transport, doctor and carer visits and Arran ferry traffic.

One Skipness man said last week that it was ‘an impending disaster’ and called on Argyll and Bute Council to carry out ‘immediate repairs and reinstatement of the only access to the village’.

In January, the council said it had been ‘working hard to find a design solution to stabilise the B8001, which has been affected by landslips’, adding the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the project.

The council realigned the road, but no engineering work has taken place to repair the collapsed section.

Speaking in the wake of the 2021/22 budget being set, council leader Robin Currie, one of three councillors for Kintyre and Islands, said: ‘I have been pressing for work on this road and it features in the roads capital reconstruction budget for the Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands (MAKI) area for 2021/22, with an estimated allocation of £363,000 for embankment stabilisation.

‘In the meantime, officers are looking at the best engineering options for how best to progress the work at Skipness.’

Councillor Alastair Redman added: ‘I have been contacted by a large number of my justifiably concerned constituents about this matter. They are asking me if it will take residents getting hurt before action is taken.

‘At the council budget we, as a council, put huge additional resources into infrastructure, in particular roads spending, so now there should be no more excuses and delays.

‘Skipness residents must be listened to and fit-for-purpose long-term work must be done.’

‘The B8001 is in dire condition and is causing increasing concern for residents and delivery services,’ said Councillor Anne Horn.

‘I raised this issue again at MAKI area committee and the head of service advised the meeting that the repairs are prioritised for the next financial year. He also advised that residents will be notified of plans and progress for the roadworks.

‘This repair requires urgency and I will be urging officers to expedite the work without delay.’


Wind farm trust accepting applications

Applications for grants from this year’s first round of funding from the West Kintyre Community Council Wind Farm Trust are currently being accepted.

Grants may be available for capital or revenue funding to support projects, groups, halls, charities and churches within the West Kintyre Community Council area, ranging from Whitehouse in the north to Kilkenzie in the south.

Advice, details and application forms are available from convener Margaret Pratt via email at margaretpratt@btinternet.com

The closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday March 31, and the disbursement meeting will take place virtually on Monday April 19.


Consultation on subsea cable

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is seeking Kintyre residents’ views on the planned replacement of a submarine electricity cable between Carradale and Arran.

The energy company is planning to install a 33 kilovolt (kV) cable which will run from Port na Cuile, Carradale to Balliekine on Arran.

It comes after a routine inspection in August 2017 of the two 33kV submarine cables providing electricity to Arran revealed the north cable, which runs from Port Crannaich in Carradale to Balliekine, was in poor condition with significant damage to the protective armour – probably caused by contact with rocks.

The armour of the cable to the south was intact so no further action was required.

Following an assessment by engineers, SSEN decided to replace the north cable because a repair would be challenging and more costly due to its deep-water location and the extent of the damage observed.

In order to gather opinions and answer any questions about its replacement plans, SSEN’s submarine cable team will be holding a pre-application consultation in the form of a series of four hourly online sessions between 2pm and 6pm on Thursday March 18.

To register for the event, email submarinecables@sse.com

As well as seeking views on the project, SSEN is also looking for comments and opinions on its 2023 – 2028 investment programme.