Plans lodged for slipway
The long-awaited planning application to create a controversial timber stacking yard and slipway at Machrie has been submitted to North Ayrshire Council.
Forest Enterprise Scotland wants to create a timber stacking yard within a one-metre bund, including dense woodland planting, and formation of the adjacent slipway on a site to the north of Dunedin, Machrie.
But the £300,000 plan has been contentious since it was first mooted more than two and half years ago.
The plan is to use the slipway to ship 3,000 tonnes of trees a month to the mainland, which are to be felled on the west side of the island. This would avoid the need to transfer all the wood over the String Road to Brodick for shipping.
But the plan has deeply divided opinion with the Machrie Improvements Committee firmly against it, saying it would ‘destroy’ the tranquillity of the quiet side of the island and ruin tourism.
The committee also has concerns over the big increase in the number of timber trucks on the unclassified Machrie Moor Road and damage to the fragile animal and bird habitats. There is also concern that the timber lorries will have to cross regularly the A841 from the timber yard to the slipway.
However, others consider it would be an advantage to have less timber traffic on the String Road to Brodick with the resultant damage to the road by the heavy timber traffic and it would reduce the number of trucks travelling through the ferry port.
The planning application gives the first detailed description of the site which extends to approximately
1.25 hectares and is to be developed as a hard stand for stacking timber felled on the island as well as a concrete slip to allow loading onto barges.
Approximately half a hectare of the site is soft with a low one-metre high bund and woodland planting, while the remainder is a porous hardcore surface in the stacking yard and concrete for the slipway which is being designed by Glasgow-based Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects.
At the Arran Community Council meeting this week, members agreed to ask for more time to consider the application, since they had only had a couple of days to view the application and expected more information to become available. They will now discuss their response at their September meeting.
Scottish Natural Heritage has already told planners: ‘We do not intend to offer formal comment on this proposal as it falls below our threshold for consultation.’
A spokesman for Forest Enterprise Scotland said: ‘If the planning application for the new Machrie pier is approved, it would result in the removal of a significant volume of timber from crossing the String Road, of around 40,000 tonnes every year, and also reduce the congestion around the pier at Brodick.
‘We have consulted and explained our proposals in detail and involved the local community in discussions along the way.
‘It is now for the open and transparent planning process to determine whether the project should proceed or not.’
An artist’s impression of how the new timber transfer station and slipway will look.