Tiree residents are split over campsite plan
TIREE residents are divided on a proposed campsite for tents and campervans at Balevullin.
A planning application, submitted to Argyll and Bute Council by Karl Hughes of Balevullin, proposes changing the use of land north of his property, Sunset Cottage, for a camping site, including toilets and showers.
Mr Hughes explains: ‘I am the owner occupier of a seven-acre croft. We wish to diversify our income and provide a small seasonal camping site to visitors.
‘Tiree is not suitable for caravans. We wish to provide a camping location to the ever-increasing number of campervans that arrive during the visitor season [from] April 1 until end September. We plan to cater for a maximum number of 20 campervans and a small number of tents, 10 max.
‘The area is free- draining, has good owned access and is not overlooked by other properties.’
Mr Hughes added: ‘In order to provide an income for my Tiree-based family, and given the croft is a mere 2.7ha, it is necessary in order to be a viable commercial entity to diversify.’
The plan has attracted 21 objections and two in support so far. One objector argued: ‘It will change the whole ambience of what used to be a tranquil and peaceful environment. The inevitable noise, pollution and disruption can only be detrimental.’
Another objected ‘ very strongly’, saying ‘traffic in Balevullin is already very heavy’ and that ‘there are far more appropriate potential sites on the island … there are already several new campsites dotted across Tiree’.
Another, who runs a summer let business nearby, wrote that the proposed access route ‘if used for commercial traffic involving over 40 vehicles per day [would] become a very significant issue affecting our business’.
One neighbour argued there would ‘irreversible damage to the pristine machair land surrounding the site which is likely to undergo increased erosion as visitors make their way to the local beach’.
Another neighbour feared ‘there will be loud music being played through the night. I feel at 79 years of age I should be able to sleep without being subjected to constant thumping of music’.
And a third wrote: ‘Campers are able to look directly into our house and we had a nasty experience with a naked campervan person.’
However, supporter Iona Larg, a surfing business owner whose Balevullin beach hut was denied retrospective planning permission by the council, argued: ‘ On Tiree, tourism is the only growth industry with a growth of 160 per cent in 10 years. The campsite is located within a development zone already popular with tourists.
‘Tiree’s population continues to fall (15 per cent between 201-2011), especially with young economically-active families. The application is a croft diversification that will allow this man to live, work and sustain his young family on Tiree year round. It is essential that sustainable businesses are supported if fragile economies such as Tiree are to be given any chance of survival.’
Another supporter, a visitor to Balevullin Beach, noted ‘many motor homes parked in the vehicle parking area, but no disposal points for foul water and in many cases the dunes used as toilets’.