District News, August 5 2022

There are plans to upgrade Kintyre's Kennacraig Ferry Terminal.
There are plans to upgrade Kintyre's Kennacraig Ferry Terminal.

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Plans unveiled for five new Islay homes

Outline plans have been unveiled for five new houses to be built on Islay.

Alasdair and Rachel Whyte are seeking ‘planning permission in principle’ for new residential properties on five plots on land southeast of Glenmachrie at Glenegedale.

The plans are now available to view on Argyll and Bute Council’s planning portal, and comments can be submitted by members of the public. A decision from the local authority is expected by mid-September.

Planning agents Bowman Stewart said in a planning statement that although the applicants did not register the proposed properties as crofts, they would operate in a similar fashion.

The statement said: ‘Crofting and smallholdings are a traditional way of life for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

‘The Scottish Government has highlighted the unique contribution of crofting and smallholdings in terms of population retention, climate change mitigation and increasing biodiversity in their report due to the low intensity management and mixtures of activities associated with this form of agriculture.

‘The applicants have been consulting with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) to discuss this proposed development and have received a letter of support.

‘In this, it is made apparent that the availability of agricultural land for new entrants is becoming increasingly scarce on Islay.

‘The applicants are keen to offer opportunities to new entrants to farming and sustain a traditional way of island life and believe offering these lots will provide this opportunity.’

As part of the statement, the applicants said: ‘Small holdings are a part of our agricultural heritage and Scottish ministers are strongly aware of their role and unique status in rural Scotland. There are around 20,000 smallholdings in existence in Scotland.

‘Island communities are unique. They can appear fragile, vulnerable even, on the edge and cut-off from the mainland. But those same circumstances can also foster resilience, community strength and self-sufficiency.

‘In past centuries, island living was often thought to be behind the times compared to the mainland – but now the tables have turned and many island smallholdings are leading the way in sustainability.

‘Living in a city, food appears in the shops and rubbish and recycling material magically disappear with the council lorries – it’s all very convenient. However this makes it easier to ignore all the players in the supply chains that bring goods to us, as well as the environmental impact of what we discard.

‘Not so on islands. When everything you buy arrives by ferry and rubbish has to leave the same way (or be buried or burned) it is perhaps not surprising that island smallholders are forging new, more environmentally friendly paths.’

The agents added: ‘This small-scale residential development provides good sized lots for providing a genuine farming income and associated onsite housing in an area with good, quick, and easy access to both Bowmore and Port Ellen.’

Open days on ferry terminal upgrades

A series of community events will take place this month to share proposals for port enabling works at Kennacraig, Port Askaig, Port Ellen and Colonsay ferry terminals.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) is leading plans to upgrade the ferry terminals in advance of the arrival of two new Islay ferries. Works include dredging, fendering, provision for mooring aids and shore power facilities.

At the events, CMAL engineers, with representatives from Mott MacDonald, CalMac and Transport Scotland, will share details of the proposed plans for each ferry terminal, along with high level timescales, potential disruption caused by the works and plans for continuing ferry services during construction.

The events will take place in Jura Village Hall on Wednesday August 10 from 12pm-3.45pm; in the Islay Gaelic Centre/Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle on Monday August 15 from 4pm-7pm; in Tarbert Village Hall on Tuesday August 16 from 4pm-7pm; and in Colonsay Village Hall on Wednesday August 17 from 4pm-7pm.

Nasir Uddin, senior civil engineer at CMAL, said: ‘The events are designed to share information and proposals with island communities and ferry users on our planned works to upgrade and improve four ferry terminals.

‘We encourage everyone with an interest to drop in at a time and location convenient to them and they can find out more about our plans and timescales, as well as detail on how the works will impact the local area.

‘We always aim to minimise the impact of harbour construction on the ferry timetable and it is our intention that ferries will run as normal during this work.’

For anyone who is unable to attend, proposals and presentations will be published on CMAL’s website – www.cmassets.co.uk/project/islay-vessel-enabling-works – to coincide with the events.