Green light for ma­jor new fish food fac­tory on Skye

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­

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.’

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