Overwhelming number of objections to Glen Creran gravel quarry plan
MORE than 1,100 objections have been lodged against a plan to build a sand and gravel quarry at Glasdrum, Fasnacloich, on the Glen Creran Estate.
Argyll-based applicant A & L McCrae Ltd, which mines aggregates at Barrachander Quarry near Kilchrenan, lodged a planning application in November for the ‘development of a quarry allowing for the extraction and processing of sand and gravel and the final restoration of land’.
Around 80 people packed Appin Village Hall in June for a pre-application community council meeting, when all but four members of the public voted against the plan as proposed by A& L McCrae’s agent Dalgleish Associates.
With the application now closed for comment, Appin, Connel, and Duror and Kentallen community councils have all objected to the quarry, arguing it would breach the local development plan.
Duror and Kentallen chairman Jonathan Baxter wrote: ‘There is a presumption against any quarry activities unless there is an exceptional shortage of materials within a 30-mile radius of Glen Creran. There are already quarries that can provide the same materials: Connel, Benderloch, Bonawe, Barrachander and Glensanda. Within the Lorn development plan you are required to exhaust all current reserves before you can consider another quarry.
‘We also understand Glen Creran will be used for inert material, in other words ‘a dumping ground’. This will mean even more lorry movements. The approach road is single track and very narrow. Residents are extremely concerned an accident will occur.’
On Appin’s behalf, convenor Charles Steuart Fothringham objected: ‘The proposed development brings no benefit to the Appin community and would indeed detract from its economy by causing harm, particularly to a key tourist destination.’
Connel’s secretary Roger Ashforth added: ‘If this proposal is allowed, the result will be the continued industrial encroachment into Argyll’s beautiful and historic glens and countryside. This will have a detrimental impact on our important tourist income. The additional traffic density will strain our already inadequate roads, including Connel Bridge, and exacerbate road safety issues along the main road through Connel.’
Oban North and Lorn councillor Kieron Green objected, arguing there is ‘insufficient evidence of demand for sand and gravel in the local area’ plus ‘inadequate’ roads for the proposed volume of extraction and ‘the location in a sensitive and scenic area’.
Noting the ‘overwhelming’ local objection, councillor Julie McKenzie also added her fears over depopulation: ‘Already tenants have been moved from their homes due to this proposal.
‘Further depopulation will be inevitable as the landowner has already made it clear to residents this is the starting point for a 25year project that would see this quarry progress from one end of the glen to the other.’
Rev Alexander Stoddart, minister in Duror and Kentallen, said: ‘I understand the landowner is not resident locally, therefore their interest is purely financial and they wouldn’t have to tolerate any inconvenience unlike local residents.’
Sailing legend Rev Bob Shepton agreed: ‘It would appear to be pure greed on behalf of the landowner riding roughshod over strong and considerable lo- cal opinion against the quarry.’ Scottish actress Gerda Stevenson asked: ‘How can our nation, and our government, allow such a supreme asset to be destroyed and plundered for the profit of a single individual?’
Further afield, Professor Donna Rae Hirt of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design said authorities would be ‘ill-advised to go through with this rape of the beautiful, vulnerable land God gave to Scotland to enjoy and protect.
‘I will cancel my projected vacation to Scotland and never return again if you allow this perpetration.
‘I will furthermore discourage anyone I know who is thinking of travelling to Scotland, not to do so if this ominous plan is carried out.’
While the vast majority were objections, there were a few supporters.
Ross Hodson of MacLeod Construction, ‘the largest builders based in Argyll and a heavy user of quarry materials’, welcomed ‘transporting materials a shorter distance’.
‘There is a need and demand for quarry products and materials particularly sand and gravel in North Argyll,’ he said.
‘Economic supply of building materials helps stabilise construction costs making it more economical to build new homes.’
The site of the proposed new quarry.