Over­whelm­ing num­ber of ob­jec­tions to Glen Cr­eran gravel quarry plan

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

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.

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