Plans lodged for slip­way

The Arran Banner - - Front Page - Hugh Boag ed­i­tor@ar­ran­ban­

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.

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