PLANNING officials in Argyll and Bute have dealt a blow to plans for a quarry at Glen Creran by saying it is not consistent with the local development plan.
A PROPOSAL to build a quarry in Glen Creran has been dealt a blow by council planners, who argue it is not consistent with the local development plan.
Argyll-based applicant A & L McCrae Ltd, which mines aggregates at Barrachander Quarry near Kilchrenan, lodged a planning application last October to extract and process sand and gravel at Glasdrum, in particular high-quality building sand for which, it argues, there is a shortage in Argyll and Bute.
Argyll and Bute Council’s planning department wrote to the applicant’s agent, Willie Booth of Dalgleish Associates, to say it was now in a position to determine the application.
‘The policy states that a need must be demonstrated for the opening of a new site. Within a 30-mile radius of this area there are Kilmartin, Clachan, North Connel, Benderloch and Dornie quarries all producing sand and gravel.
‘The number of sites producing material would not support the argument of an existing shortfall in demand. Feedback from existing operators would suggest the material is available but developers are choosing to go elsewhere, perhaps as a result of already nationally agreed contracts.
‘You comment that one-third of the material will be building sand with the rest other products and would meet the needs of the applicant as a contractor and for their ready-mix concrete plant. I don’t see how this will meet an existing demand.
‘Concrete is already available from Benderloch and the applicant could purchase sand from any of the existing sites nearby. From a policy perspective, the application is not consistent with LDP 10 or SG LDP MIN 2.’
In response, Mr Booth argued that ‘a local need has been reasonably demonstrated’. He said: ‘The council has not undertaken a detailed survey of minerals demand or distribution within Argyll and Bute for over a decade and can make no definitive comment on regional or local demand. However, the latest aggregates survey undertaken by the Scottish Government states that Argyll and Bute is dependent on supplies from outwith the region to meet demand.
‘ While it is appreciated the council has sought to gauge demand/distribution in the Argyll and Bute area, it has to be acknowledged the operators responding to the consultation would in fact be in competition with Glasdrum and, as the proposed site would be in a position to provide sand at a more competitive cost compared to existing operations, hauling materials over significantly greater distance. Any response is likely to be guarded and unlikely to be supportive of potential competition.
‘We are concerned the council has made no reference to representations received from developers and building suppliers.
‘These provide a consistent and alternative view from quarry operators; the response being a concerted agreement that building sand, and other products, have not been avail- able locally for various projects in the past and that, under current circumstances, they are concerned that materials will continue to be locally scarce for future projects as well.
‘One such letter, from Jewson, states, “We have used local quarries previously but unfortunately due to the quality of sand we were forced to move to a supplier from the east coast of Scotland.
‘If it is found that this local quarry has sand that my customers are happy with, I would be more than happy to support this new venture and get all my aggregates sourced from here in the future.”
‘This is a clear statement in relation to the quality and availability of supply currently available locally and clearly demonstrates that the main UK distributor is not tied to a nationally agreed contract.’
An application has been lodged to quarry at Glen Creran.