Seil’s have your say letters must be returned

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Community councillors on Seil are urging people to reply to letters sent out to guage the island’s view on a new £5.6 million treatment works.

All responses will count towards the community council’s official response to the plans by Scottish Water.

The application for the works at land west of the current sewage works at Clachan Seil were just recently submitted after years of discussions and consultations.

At last week’s community council meeting on Easdale, chairwoman Julie Ferris said: ‘We hope sending out the letters  will enable us to draw a line under the process that we have done everything we can to consult the community.’

The community council has been given a two-week extension to get its response in to planners. The deadline for letters to be returned to them is August 4 and they have until August 16 to submit their findings.

The cost of sending out the letters to more than 320 residents listed on the open register out of about 500 actually living on the island, has come in at under £300, lower than anticipated.

Anyone still needing to see the plans and documentation with it can either go online or set a complete set available at Balvicar Stores or at Seil Island Hall.

Questions were asked about how, where and when the returned envelopes would be counted, opened, scrutinised and recorded.

Other questions also raised  included would there be ‘a well respected person from outwith the Seil and Easdale area invited to oversee this part of the exercise?’ and who would all be involved in ‘selecting from the evidence, analysing statistics and numbers, composing, concluding and approving the Community Council’s comment’ to planners.

Community councillor Yowan Byghan said: ‘The first thing we will say in our submission is how many responses we got back. The second thing will be how many reponses appeared to be in favour or against.’

He added: ‘What we are not going to do is judge the whole gig. Our job is to reflect the views of the island.’

It was pointed out that the Community Council’s response will be counted as just one reply. Anyone wanting to have their say should also send in their own submissions separately to Argyll and Bute.

Argyll and Bute councillor Elaine Robertson backed the idea of having an independent representative at the opening of envelopes stage and emphasised that peoples’ objections are about material planning issues.

At May’s community council meeting, Mrs Ferris said the letters to the community were not a referendum and not a vote. She said it was to give a definitive guide to their response to Scottish water’s planning application.

She said last week: ‘We are doing our best to make sure everyone has been asked for their view.’

Anyone who lives on the island and has not received a letter, can request one from the community council.

A member of Save Our Seil campaign said at the meeting: ‘We’re very supportive of what the community council have done. I just hope people will use it.’