Green light for major new fish food factory on Skye
PLANS for an £ 80 million fish food processing plant on Skye have been approved.
The development will create salmon feeding pellets for Marine Harvest fish farms.
Once operational, the plant will create 55 new jobs.
Planning permission for the project was granted on Tuesday February 21 at the Highland council’s north planning applications committee.
The plant will be built on the site of a quarry at Kyleakin near the Skye Bridge.
Marine Harvest outlined plans for the major development last year, which includes an extension to the existing pier at Kyleakin.
The Norway-based firm expects to produce 170,000 tonnes of feed per year.
There was concern the development could have been stopped as a Highland Council landscape officer had objected to the colour of the building.
Committee chairwoman Councillor Isobel McCallum proposed the application be rejected, arguing it breached Highland Council’s planning policies on sustainable design and design quality.
But that was defeated with councillors backing Councillor Drew Millar’s motion to grant the application by 10 votes to three, with one abstention.
Kate Forbes MSP said: ‘Plans to create up to 55 jobs on Skye is a significant development and I welcome this news.
‘If we want to keep families and young people in the Highlands and stave off depopulation in remote rural areas, we’ve got to have employment for them. So this is a very welcome development.’
On Tuesday concerns were raised about odours coming from the plant and how it would impact visually on an iconic Highland location.
While Councillor Matthew Reiss agreed with concerns calling the building ‘ugly’, he said the council must ‘nail’ its ‘colours to the mast’ stating: ‘Jobs at the end of the day tips the scale for me.’
Mr Millar said this was one of the most significant planning applications he had sat on in the committee in many years.
He said: ‘I think this is a fantastic proposal.
‘Of course it’s a large development but where better to put it than in a quarry. The quarry is an eyesore, so anything in there is better.’
Councillor Biz Campbell commented: ‘ Good on Marine Harvest for bringing this to our area. I wish Marine Harvest all the best.’ Councillor Audrey Sinclair, who seconded Ms McCallum’s motion to refuse the application, said she appreciated the economic benefits but the scale and size of the building should be considered.
Kate Forbes said: ‘Highland Council’s report on the application looked fair to me and reflected due process and transparency.
‘It seems a bit odd that an £80m development, bringing jobs and a huge boost to the local economy, could have been stopped in its tracks because of a landscape officer’s concerns over the colour of the building.’