Islay motorhome park plan goes to hearing

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A contentious plan to build a £1.3million community hub and motorhome park on playing fields in Port Ellen will go to a virtual local hearing due to the high number of objections.

The plan, which council officers recommended for approval at Argyll and Bute Council’s planning committee on February 23, has attracted 37 letters of objection, and none in support.

The project by South Islay Development hopes to regenerate the community-owned site into a new single storey hub where the old pavilion stood, with a relocated play area, three spectator shelters, five storage containers for sports equipment and ebike rental, plus 22 car park spaces.

Most controversially, the plan increases motorhome parking from four hook-up spaces to 12, plus a toilet/shower/laundry block, waste disposal site and electric charge point beside the fuel station.

The minutes of the meeting reported: ‘The creation of the motorhome site would result in the loss of an existing equipped play area within the Open Space Protection Area (OSPA); whilst the applicant has proposed that this be relocated elsewhere there will be a net loss of land available for use as public open space within the OSPA as a result of the development.

‘The proposal represents a significant investment in the improvement of existing community and playfield facilities.

‘Whilst the net loss of public open space is identified to be a justified minor departure to [Local Development Plan policies], the proposal is otherwise considered to be consistent with all other relevant aspects.

‘The application has given rise to 37 letters of objection, the majority of which cite matters relevant to planning and the use of land. Accordingly it is considered that a discretionary pre-determined hearing would add value.’