District News, July 2 2021

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‘Amazing’ village gets behind Connie’s shave

A Tarbert woman shaved off her hair – as a way, she says, of giving her partner a laugh.

But there was another more serious purpose behind her actions.

Connie Laing decided to take on the Macmillan Cancer Support Brave the Shave challenge to support the charity’s work after her partner Chris was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month.

‘Chris saw an advert for Brave the Shave on TV,’ explained 60-year-old Connie, ‘and he said to me “You should do it – you’d look good bald!”

‘Ever the joker, I decided to do it. Anything to make him laugh.’

She added: ‘Macmillan is supporting us through this very hard time.’

Connie faced the shears on Friday June 18 at her home on the village’s Pier Road.

Speaking after losing her locks, Connie said: ‘Thanks to Janette MacIver for doing the shave, and Chris and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and donated to this amazing charity.

Describing the total as ‘amazing’, Connie said more than £940 was raised between online donations and collections around Tarbert, particularly Cafe Ca’Dora.

She added: ‘We are forever grateful to Tarbert. It’s an amazing wee village.’


Plans for island community hub withdrawn

Plans for a new community hub on Islay have been withdrawn after running into objections from neighbours – but they are likely to return in a revised form.

Argyll and Bute Council has announced that the proposals for Port Ellen playing fields, lodged by South Islay Development (SID), have been taken off the table.

But planning agent Colin Hastie confirmed to the authority that the boundary line for a planned motorhome area at the proposed facility will be re-drawn and a fresh application submitted.

The plans were for the building of a new community hub to replace the existing pavilion, along with the relocation of a play area, the formation of parking and motorhome pitches, electric vehicle charging point and the siting of a toilet and shower block.

But not everybody has been happy with the plans, as 26 objections were lodged with the council along with three expressions of support.

The objectors raised concerns about a possible lack of green space to allow parking room for campervans and other vehicles, as well as the perceived threat to existing community facilities.

A petition was also lodged with the council during the process when the public were able to submit comments.

A design statement for the proposed development detailed a community consultation carried out into the project.

It said: ‘Following feedback from the community, the final solution was reached to construct a new community hub with office/flexible-use facilities in the location of the existing pavilion, relocating the play area to the current putting green, with motorhome pitches on the site of the existing play area, and a toilet and shower block to serve campers.

‘The relocated play area was considered best in the middle of the site, towards the main road, with fencing to prevent accidental running on to roads.

‘In order to provide access to the new motorhome pitches and provide a connection with the existing pitches to the rear of the service station, openings are proposed in the existing stone boundary wall to access the new road and the toilet/shower block.’

However, a cover note with the petition, submitted by Kevin Campbell, said: ‘Nobody wants to lose the vital green space to campervans and parking.

‘All this project will do is take away healthy outdoor activities and force kids inside. Also, we have a local cyber café that already does most of the stuff that SID is saying will go into this new hub.

‘The village is not big enough for two charities fighting for the same funding, and it’s taken the cyber café years to get to where it is.’

Mr Hastie told the council: ‘Further to our conversation this week, we write to formally withdraw the application.

‘We will amend the red line boundary at the motorhome area and resubmit as agreed with the roads department.’