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15 October 2004

A NEW development in West Cowal could finally bring to life an area which has seen many false dawns over the last 25 years.
An outline planning application is to be submitted by architects Colwyn Foulkes and Partners which will see a new settlement arise at Portavadie on the shores of Loch Fyne.
Since it was the site of a failed oil rig construction yard back in the 1970s there have been any number of projects mooted for the area, but this one looks likely to go ahead.
The plan is to create a new settlement on the shores of the Loch which will comprise 250 new homes to provide a mix of residencies. The plan also envisages the creation of a true community, with the inclusion of a hotel, a pub, a cafe and a convenience store, and a new jetty and moorings to cater for the growing water-borne leisure traffic.
High on the priorities for the new community will be sustainability, with homes being designed to take advantage of 21st century technology. The latest energy-saving construction methods will be used, as well as state-of-the-art heating systems, incorporating power generation from wind technology, rainwater harvesting, and grey water recycling.
Christeen Fitzgerald, a director of the company behind the scheme, the Paisley-based Portavadie Village Ltd, explained: “This is a mixed-use project which has been developed following lengthy consultation with stakeholders. We have come up with a scheme for this beautiful location that will provide new jobs, new homes, investment and long-term regeneration to the area. The house types we envisage are designed to suit a variety of occupiers, and will form part of a genuinely sustainable community.
She added: “There is the added bonus that the go-ahead for the project will see the removal of the accommodation which was built to serve the ill-fated oil rig construction yard, and which has lain empty, a blight on the landscape, for the best part of 30 years.
“We look forward to the next stage in the planning process, which will bring these dreams a step nearer to reality.”
If planning permission is granted work could start in the spring of 2005 and be phased over a number of years.
The company expects to have its plans on public view in the Kames Post Office and Millhouse Community Centre next week.

A MAN is in custody following the death of a youth in a house in Dunoon on Monday.
The 19-year old youth, John McGlashan, of Miller Court, Dunoon died in a house in Eton Avenue, in the Glebe area of the town.
A 29-year-old local man was later arrested and charged with murder.
He appeared in private at Dunoon Sheriff Court on Wednesday afternoon and was remanded in custody for reports.
He will appear in court again next Wednesday.

Staff at Faslane and Coulport Naval base on the Clyde have denied claims which were made in a Sunday Broadsheet - that their bases are ‘unsafe’ and are ‘inadequate’.
In a report by the Sunday Herald last week, journalist Rob Edwards reported that there had been 14 fires and 486 false alarms at the sites.
In addition, he also describes serious safety flaws in a report by the Royal Naval’s internal Regulatory body which describes the bases as having weaknesses and shortfalls in safety procedures.
However, these revelations have concerned many high profile individuals and politicians, who fear that the bases could suffer a serious nuclear accident.
Nonetheless, these safety issues have been denied by the Ministry of Defence, who claim that ‘safety is paramount at the bases, and because of the complex and sensitive nature of the alarms, any incident is checked out and a response unit put out to deal with it.”
In the Royal Naval regulatory panel’s report from November 1, to July 31 this year, they reveal their misgivings about safety at Faslane and Coulport.
The report says: “The naval base has acknowledged that its arrangements and current safety justifications are not consistent with current standards.
However, it also states that the base was planning a site-wide safety improvement programme to address these shortfalls.
In addition, in another report it is revealed that arrangements for managing the construction of a new radioactive waste processing facility at Faslane “were not considered adequate.”
“Inspection revealed a number of weaknesses in the current arrangements compared with good practice, some of which were acknowledged by the naval base and that action was in hand to address.”
However, although many of the 486 false alarms were caused by dust, insects, power fluctuations or smoke from cigarettes or bonfires. A large number were due to faulty equipment, and some by malicious acts by workers.
A spokesman for the MoD, Neil Smith pointed out that Faslane and Coulport were extremely large establishments, and considering that 7000 personnel were employed on the sites, the number of false alarms and incidents were mostly of ‘a minor nature’.
He added: “There is always going to be criticism about safety issues at nuclear weapon bases. The Regulatory Panel will never give a full 100 percent safety bill, as there are always areas at bases which can be improved upon.
“We are, like them, in the business of continual improvement to make the bases as safe as possible. We are safety conscious at both bases and because of that we have especially sensitive systems. One of the good things about the Regulatory Panel report is that it keeps staff on their toes, and gives them reason to keep ahead of their training when it comes to safety issues and procedure.”

Cook’s ship comes to the Clyde
Pictured above is the bark HMS Endeavour making her way up the Clyde last Thursday. The ship lay overnight off Gourock before proceeding upriver to Glasgow.
The ship is lying in Glasgow until Monday, and then sailing to Greenock. She is undertaking two days of sailing on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a sponsored rig climb on Thursday. She will be lying in Greenock until Monday October 25.
The Endeavour is a replica of the ship in which Captain Cook voyaged to Australia, and has become a common sight in ports around Britain. She was built in Australia, and is a faithful replica of the 18th century original.
Although she presented a colourful sight on the river, the original Endeavour was a very mundane ship indeed. She was picked for her seagoing quality and her robust build, and was a converted Whitby collier.