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14 July 2006

Last-ditch petition launched to fight water plans
A PETITION is to be launched in a last-ditch attempt to persuade Scottish Water to drop its plans for septic tanks to serve the village of Innellan, and link it instead to the proposed secondary treatment plan at the Bullwood quarry.
Leading the campaign to change the minds of Scottish Water are Innellan residents Gilbert Pyke, Jimmy Duncan and Jim Donaldson, all of whom live near Site Three, where the third septic tank is scheduled to be sited.
“This isn’t nimbyism,” said Gilbert Pyke. “We simply take the view - which appeared to be supported by that of SEPA (The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) last week in the Observer, that the planned system will not stop the pumping of sewage into the Clyde.
“There are constant references to the equipment as septic tanks - but they bear no resemblance to septic tanks as we understand them - they are simply very inefficient separation plants and are by no stretch of the imagination ‘treatment plants’.”
Fellow protester Jim Donaldson chipped in: “This concept was first used in Exeter in around 1897 - are we seriously expected to believe that Victorian technology is the best that Scottish Water can come up with?”
Jimmy Duncan said: “We have found out in the last week - after a year of asking - that the tanks each have two outfalls. One pipe will be extended into the fast-flowing current for dispersal of the sewage from the holding tanks, and the second outfall will come into play from an emergency sump during heavy rainfall and this will discharge raw sewage only to the mean low water mark.
“It won’t be treated sewage, but we’re told that the agitation of the pump will break it up. “So it’s a comfort to know that you’ll be able to walk through this stuff without noticing it. “We have approximately until the end of the month to persuade Scottish Water to change their plans and tie Innellan into the Dunoon system.”
The petition will be in until the end of the month, and all villagers are urged to sign it before July 29.
The campaign has the support of both the council and the local MSP George Lyon, who recently wrote to Mr Pyke pointing out that there was a requirement for Scottish Water to get consent to discharge from these tanks from SEPA under the Controlled Activities Regulations, and that SEPA was obliged to consider all written representations from objectors. He added that he had written to Scottish Water’s chief executive asking when they were likely to lodge their application with SEPA for discharge.
Backing the petition, Auchamore and Innellan Councillor Dick Walsh commented: “The council leader has raised this matter at the highest level within Scottish Water, and the message that the petition is trying to get across supports the view of the council that Innellan should be linked into the secondary treatment plant rather than the proposed system.”


Burgh Hall refurbishment hopes grow
Following a visit from representatives of the Strathclyde Buildings Preservation Trust and the Architectural Heritage Fund, things continue to look up for the future of the Dunoon Burgh Hall.
Earlier this summer, top level meetings between Burgh Hall owners Fyne Homes and the Strathclyde Buildings Preservation Trust brought new hope that a use can be found for the B-listed building.
Trust chief executive Sarah MacKinnon quickly made plans for getting the ball rolling on this exciting project starting with a joint visit to Dunoon with representatives of the Architectural Heritage Fund. Since the meeting took place Sarah intends to keep momentum going on the project.
She said: “Application for Architectural Heritage Fund grant needs to be submitted by early in October so we will be moving to put this together shortly. In the meantime I am looking to talk to people in the local community and start to gauge views on the various options for putting the building back into use. I will also be looking into the history of the building and starting to draw together information for an options appraisal.
“My trustees and I are very excited to be getting involved in this project.”
Alan McDougall, director of Fyne Homes, owners of the 133-year-old building, said: “We are delighted at the commitment of Strathclyde Buildings Preservation Trust in taking this project forward. I’m sure the people of Dunoon share our excitement at the thought of the Burgh Hall having a useful and sustainable future.”


Portavadie plans ‘positive’
PLANS to rejuvenate West Cowal by building a village and marina at the disused oil rig camp at Portavadie are making steady progress, according to the people behind the project.
The concept will see a new settlement rise on the site of the derelict camp. The project will consist of a village which could rival Tighnabruaich in size, as well as a marina for up to 250 vessels.
Portavadie Village Ltd Director, Mrs Christeen Fitzgerald, updated the Observer on the current situation.
She said: “Since the submission of the Outline Planning Application in March of this year there have been a number of responses from local residents and other stakeholders and we have been greatly encouraged as the observations and comments on the whole have been very positive.
“Our consultants continue in their dialogue with council officers and together with SEPA, Scottish Water and Scottish Natural Heritage to achieve agreement on the next move forward to create this new and exciting settlement that Portavadie and the surrounding area deserves.”


Around Argyll
Helensburgh
A fire broke out at Argyll and Bute Council offices in Helensburgh’s Scotcourt House during the early hours of Wednesday July 5. Around twenty residents of flats above the offices were evacuated as two fire engines fought the blaze. The fire, which caused a large amount of damage, also cut off telecommunication links to other council offices in the town.
Staff who turned up for work in the morning were sent home while an investigation into the cause of the fire was carried out. Strathclyde Police, who, along with other agencies, are carrying out the investigation, are treating the blaze as suspicious.
Bute
Pupils at Rothesay Primary School were celebrating after winning one of the two categories in the ALIenergy Solar Car Challenge. The school won the creativity category in the competition, which featured entries from over 30 Argyll and Bute schools.
Their prize is ‘solar equipment’ worth £2,500.
CalMac’s newest ferry celebrated her first birthday recently. One of the original ‘sponsors’ of ‘MV Bute’, Mrs Majorie Bulloch, was invited aboard by her captain to see how she has performed since her launch last February. Also invited was CalMac’s company historian Ian McCrorie, who has written a book on the Rothesay ferries.
Mid Argyll
The campaign against the proposed windfarm at Allt Dearg stepped up a gear after one of its most vociferous opponents claimed that hundreds of people had objected to the the plan. ArgyllWindFarms (AWF) said that they are in favour of appropriately-sited windfarms but the one proposed for Allt Dearg would dominate the landscape for miles around. And it would appear that this view is gathering support, after a representative from AWF said that, since the launch of the group’s dedicated website, more than 300 people have used the objection form to register their view and many others have sent letters of protest to the council. The AWF representative added that opposition was not limited to local residents, with objections also being made by tourists.
Brilliant sunshine drew large crowds to the Tarbert Seafood Festival. Celebrity chef Nick Nairn, making his second visit, officially opened the festival and later gave a cookery demonstration on the pier.
Campbeltown
Following the recent announcements by a number of developers to press ahead with planning applications for more windfarms on the Kintyre peninsula, Scottish Hydro Electric are to investigate the feasibilty of a new electrical connection between Kintyre and Hunterston.
Several routes are being considered for the connection, which will be required to deliver power from the new windfarms to the main electrical grid.
The options for the new circuit include a subsea route from the substation at Carradale, around the north of Arran and into the substation at Hunterston power station; a route across Arran and a subsea connection beginning further north on the Kintyre peninsula. The last option would involve the reconstruction of the existing overhead line from Carradale to the landing point.
Scottish Hydro Electric is consulting the planning authorities and say they will work closely with local communities throughout the planning process.
A full-scale search was carried out by a number of agencies after a pile of neatly-folded women’s clothing was found under a bridge in Campbeltown.
A police dog-handling unit, coastguards and lifeboat crews carried a through land and sea search after the clothes were spotted by a man out walking his dog but nothing was found.
Strathclyde Police said that they had not received a report of any missing persons but Northumberland Police had issued one on a 31-year-old woman from the Newcastle area.