District News, October 29 2021

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‘Rural’ not just for knitting and baking

Similar to many organisations, Southend Scottish Woman’s Institute (SWI), often referred to as ‘the Rural’ despite the national group dropping the word from its name, is struggling to keep attendance up.

As the country emerges from the Covid pandemic, things have changed for everyone and the ladies of the organising group have questioned what its members want and whether the group has a future in its current form.

The normal SWI year runs from October to April, with meetings held on the first Monday evening of each month.

They feature speakers, activities, competitions, tea and biscuits, cake, if you are lucky, and sometimes wine.

As part of the Argyll Federation, there are wider activities that members can get involved in, including bowling, sporting activities, craft workshops and the bi-annual federation show.

This is a competition for all members of Argyll institutes which includes floral arrangements, art, photography, prose, knitting sewing and, of course, baking – there is something for everyone.

‘The SWI was formed in 1917, originally to provide a social situation for rural woman and, in many ways, that is still true today but our world has changed over the years and we question what women want from such an organisation today,’ said a Southend SWI spokesperson.

‘Is there still a need or, indeed, want for such a group in today’s busy world?

‘We promote inclusion, fun, friendships, learning, sharing and socialising. Life skills and arts and crafts are just part of it.’

The organising committee is keen to keep the group going but is leaving it up to existing members and anyone interested in joining to decide where it goes from here.

The group’s members are reaching out to woman in the area, not only Southend residents, to join them for an informal social evening on Monday November 8, at 7.30pm, in Dunaverty Hall, Southend.

‘You will be welcomed with some cheese and wine and entertained with a fun-filled beetle drive,’ added the spokesperson. ‘Come along with absolutely no obligation. Everyone welcome.’


Whisky warehouse plan on hold

Plans for nine new whisky warehouses to be built on Islay have been put on hold after environmental chiefs raised concerns.

The proposal for the maturation facilities to be placed at the Ardnahoe Distillery at Askaig had initially been recommended for approval by an Argyll and Bute Council officer.

But after the publication of a handling report, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) advised that it felt more information was needed.

And at its virtual meeting on Wednesday October 20, the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee unanimously agreed to continue consideration of the plans.

An updated report to the committee said: ‘Since the publication of the officer’s report of handling, SEPA has provided comment in relation to the potential storage of hazardous substances under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (Amendment) Regulations 2005 and a lack of detail on the procedural, design and modelling that needs to be addressed prior to the commencement of works.

‘Although these matters would ordinarily be addressed under a separate application for Hazardous Substances Consent and building warrant discussions with SEPA have confirmed that the resolution to their concerns could result in necessary material changes to the planning application.

‘For example, the building layout may need to alter to provide sufficient distance in the event of a fire, or the SuDS (sustainable drainage systems) scheme may require an amended to the layout to ensure sufficient levels of treatment to contain a pollution event.

‘Therefore, officers consider it expedient to delay the determination of the application to allow the applicant to liaise directly with SEPA to resolve this issue.’

The report stated that SEPA wished to know more detail about the maximum storage capacities of all the proposed warehouses.

It added: ‘Given the holding objection from a statutory consultee, officers consider that this should be addressed prior to the determination of the application.

‘SEPA has advised it is unlikely that the issues raised are incapable of resolution under the terms of the current application but remains of the opinion that this should be addressed prior to determination.

‘It is recommended this application be continued to allow the applicant to liaise directly with SEPA to resolve this issue.’

Having discussed the updated report, the committee unanimously agreed that the application process should continue until at least the committee’s next meeting, on Wednesday November 17.

Plans for nine new whisky warehouses at Islay’s Ardnahoe Distillery have been put on hold.