Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

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Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby Elvanim » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:12 am

Am I the only person who is dismayed at the possible expansion of the Marine Harvest factory at Machrihanish and the further spoiling of our landscape. While the use of biological control measures to rid salmon of sea lice is preferable to the use of medicines, the increased production of wrasse should not be at the expense of our land environment. When Stirling University initially established their Marine Laboratory at Lossit Point it was a small-scale operation. However, over the last few years and with the takeover by Marine Harvest, this plant has surreptitiously encroached on more and more land in an area of outstanding beauty. The walk to the Gauldrons is a popular walk for both locals and tourists. Any further industrial development will destroy a beautiful and peaceful area. Machrihanish and Kintyre are heavily reliant on the tourist industry and this should not be put in jeopardy when there is an alternative to exploiting a green field site.
MACC Developments Ltd. is a community owned company which we should be promoting. It operates from a brown field site and could provide the facilities necessary for the development. This would still be within the Campbeltown area and provide the same employment opportunities.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby darkstranger » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:05 pm

You are not the only person - I entirely agree. To quote the definitive work on Beaches of Mainland Argyll by Scottish Natural Heritage: 'The Lossit area is used on a daily basis by visitors and local residents... The outstanding attribute of the area is its scenic value. This should be recognised and the coastal zone should be rigorously protected from any form of commercial development. This is undoubtedly the most suitable area for promoting the establishment of coastal paths and viewpoints. Vehicle access should not be permitted south of the Uisead peninsula... The amenity value should be preserved as the counterbalance to the recreational facilities offered by the beach and links areas of Machrihanish village.'
This was written in 1972, but the eternal landscape values of which it speaks are as true now as then. I am confident that SNH would not now wish to withdraw a word of it. Perhaps even more protection is needed now as indeed this facility has constantly exceeded its original permissions and encroached further and further onto the Uisead beyond the old lifeboat station. This has brought an unwelcome sense of industrialisation to what was a secluded bay. While this is now a fact, a further large-scale encroachment on a quite different zone, over the small hill and round a blind corner to the point where the whole panorama of the Gauldrons, Rathlin and Northern Ireland is visible for the first time is quite unacceptable. This is the last piece of accessible landscape - not to mention beach - before the rugged 10-mile cliff stretch down to the Mull.
It is celebrated both in art and history. Machrihanish bred one of the world's most remarkable painters, William McTaggart, and this is the precise site of arguably his most famous painting, The Coming of Saint Columba - and of many others. Right beside the proposed site are the remains of the attachments of the mast from which Fessenden achieved the first ever transatlantic radio signal (rightly celebrated by a small notice by the Machrihanish bus shelter). It is literally 'the end of the land' ('Kintyre') before Ireland and then America.
As such it is greatly prized by townsfolk and visitors, as a 'lung' for walking and recreation wilder than anywhere else within a reasonable distance. It is private land but undoubtedly a community resource of great value. Walkers, sheep and cattle mix peaceably. This would be swept away by these proposals. The proposed rectangle of tanks, approximately 90m by 170m according to the plans, height as yet unknown, is a very large intrusion on the only fairly flat area. The proposal, true to form, envisages occupying the path of the existing well-defined track (not to mention the burn) and forcing walkers and drivers onto some new path at the water's edge. (I can only assume that the proposers have never seen a winter storm there. It is one of the very few stretches of the mainland where the prevailing SW wind brings a wave fetch all the way from Newfoundland.) There will no doubt be unsightly fencing, lighting and the general air of a concentration camp.
New roads will be required including, according to the plans, one over the small hill between the research station operatives' house and the old lifeboat station, destroying among other things a superlative drift of wild irises. There will presumably be a large and regular volume of heavy traffic taking the wrasse to their dinner of lice further up the coast. How this will be accommodated on a small and narrow, dead-end farm road I do not know.
The physical, salami-slicing encroachments however are dwarfed by the implications of the entire change in character of the sponsoring enterprise. Planning permission was originally given for a research facility to the University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture. This seems - with what notification I know not - to have mutated into a commercial enterprise of a vast New York Stock Exchange-listed enterprise (the wrasse are explicitly stated to be destined for farms producing salmon all up the West Coast). If there was some justification for the earlier research station it is hard to see how this can simply be extended to a major production facility.
To objectors that a site rather nearer the main customers, rather than one as far away as is possible on the mainland, might make sense some rather unconvincing arguments are adduced. It is really hard to see - and I admit to being no marine biologist - why a site such as the airport where space is abundant and an - admittedly competitor's - onshore salmon hatchery meets with general approval, cannot be considered. Job creation is of course always a desirable consideration: as the previous writer has said other nearby sites could provide equal opportunities for local people.
Finally, the consultation process in all this has been opaque. The first purported notice of application was deemed non-compliant and the applicants told to hold a proper consultation. I could not attend today's presentation at the Ugadale but am told it was barely adequate, with no information packs to take away and confusing and scanty answers given to questions. This doesn't seem the way to get the community behind them, or even to satisfy the legal requirements.
There is a false dichotomy sometimes between immediate commercial value and less easily-measured intangible values. As, again, the previous writer has said Machrihanish - and Kintyre in general - is an area heavily dependent on tourism, and eating away at irreplaceable scenic attractions is no way to preserve such value. It is a moot point whether more jobs might be lost in the hospitality businesses than gained in tending a presumably fairly automated plant.
Above all, the community would have lost something that makes it special, even unique, and a resource that has given solace to many generations of Campbeltonians. Please, everyone, consider this before it's too late.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby darkstranger » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:18 pm

You are not the only person - I entirely agree. To quote the definitive work on Beaches of Mainland Argyll by Scottish Natural Heritage: 'The Lossit area is used on a daily basis by visitors and local residents... The outstanding attribute of the area is its scenic value. This should be recognised and the coastal zone should be rigorously protected from any form of commercial development. This is undoubtedly the most suitable area for promoting the establishment of coastal paths and viewpoints. Vehicle access should not be permitted south of the Uisead peninsula... The amenity value should be preserved as the counterbalance to the recreational facilities offered by the beach and links areas of Machrihanish village.'
This was written in 1972, but the eternal landscape values of which it speaks are as true now as then. I am confident that SNH would not now wish to withdraw a word of it. Perhaps even more protection is needed now as indeed this facility has constantly exceeded its original permissions and encroached further and further onto the Uisead beyond the old lifeboat station. This has brought an unwelcome sense of industrialisation to what was a secluded bay. While this is now a fact, a further large-scale encroachment on a quite different zone, over the small hill and round a blind corner to the point where the whole panorama of the Gauldrons, Rathlin and Northern Ireland is visible for the first time is quite unacceptable. This is the last piece of accessible landscape - not to mention beach - before the rugged 10-mile cliff stretch down to the Mull.
It is celebrated both in art and history. Machrihanish bred one of the world's most remarkable painters, William McTaggart, and this is the precise site of arguably his most famous painting, The Coming of Saint Columba - and of many others. Right beside the proposed site are the remains of the attachments of the mast from which Fessenden achieved the first ever transatlantic radio signal (rightly celebrated by a small notice by the Machrihanish bus shelter). It is literally 'the end of the land' ('Kintyre') before Ireland and then America.
As such it is greatly prized by townsfolk and visitors, as a 'lung' for walking and recreation wilder than anywhere else within a reasonable distance. It is private land but undoubtedly a community resource of great value. Walkers, sheep and cattle mix peaceably. This would be swept away by these proposals. The proposed rectangle of tanks, approximately 90m by 170m according to the plans, height as yet unknown, is a very large intrusion on the only fairly flat area. The proposal, true to form, envisages occupying the path of the existing well-defined track (not to mention the burn) and forcing walkers and drivers onto some new path at the water's edge. (I can only assume that the proposers have never seen a winter storm there. It is one of the very few stretches of the mainland where the prevailing SW wind brings a wave fetch all the way from Newfoundland.) There will no doubt be unsightly fencing, lighting and the general air of a concentration camp.
New roads will be required including, according to the plans, one over the small hill between the research station operatives' house and the old lifeboat station, destroying among other things a superlative drift of wild irises. There will presumably be a large and regular volume of heavy traffic taking the wrasse to their dinner of lice further up the coast. How this will be accommodated on a small and narrow, dead-end farm road I do not know.
The physical, salami-slicing encroachments however are dwarfed by the implications of the entire change in character of the sponsoring enterprise. Planning permission was originally given for a research facility to the University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture. This seems - with what notification I know not - to have mutated into a commercial enterprise of a vast New York Stock Exchange-listed enterprise (the wrasse are explicitly stated to be destined for farms producing salmon all up the West Coast). If there was some justification for the earlier research station it is hard to see how this can simply be extended to a major production facility.
To objectors that a site rather nearer the main customers, rather than one as far away as is possible on the mainland, might make sense some rather unconvincing arguments are adduced. It is really hard to see - and I admit to being no marine biologist - why a site such as the airport where space is abundant and an - admittedly competitor's - onshore salmon hatchery meets with general approval, cannot be considered. Job creation is of course always a desirable consideration: as the previous writer has said other nearby sites could provide equal opportunities for local people.
Finally, the consultation process in all this has been opaque. The first purported notice of application was deemed non-compliant and the applicants told to hold a proper consultation. I could not attend today's presentation at the Ugadale but am told it was barely adequate, with no information packs to take away and confusing and scanty answers given to questions. This doesn't seem the way to get the community behind them, or even to satisfy the legal requirements.
There is a false dichotomy sometimes between immediate commercial value and less easily-measured intangible values. As, again, the previous writer has said Machrihanish - and Kintyre in general - is an area heavily dependent on tourism, and eating away at irreplaceable scenic attractions is no way to preserve such value. It is a moot point whether more jobs might be lost in the hospitality businesses than gained in tending a presumably fairly automated plant.
Above all, the community would have lost something that makes it special, even unique, and a resource that has given solace to many generations of Campbeltonians. Please, everyone, consider this before it's too late.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby WC1 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:15 pm

Have to admit I wasn't too worried about this till I saw the artist's impression in today's Courier. This will completely despoil a beautiful part of the coast much loved by many, many locals and visitors. When there are brownfield sites available this should NOT go ahead.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby petewick » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:29 pm

Have to say I was the same WC, this would destroy the area
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby Nimps2 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:41 am

Hi folks,

I read with interest your responses to plan to build a wrasse factory at Lossit Point.

I too am dismayed so wanted to let you know that I have created a Facebook page, Save The Gauldrons, because, like the rest of you witing on this topic, I believe the Gauldrons is a special place for so many of us and should not be built on. I have started the page to create a structure/space for those who oppose the the proposed plans for Lossit Point - so far we have two local administrators and myself (based in Glasgow) and over a hundred "likes" in less than a day. Hopefully the page can be a place to share information and perhaps generate enough momentum to create a campaign group or at least encourage people to engage with upcoming consultations and to write to their elected representatives opposing the plans. If you are interested in helping out with the page just get in touch as your support is welcome. You can help by simply sharing any information/ opinions/images you have. Please visit and "like" the page.

I am not against development or the creation of much needed jobs in the area but just not at the Gauldrons, one of Kintyre's greatest and most popular natural assets.

Lets hope that, between us; locals, the Kintyrean diaspora and visitors to the area, we can join together to make sure that Lossit Point/The Gauldrons remains as it and that any future development takes place on a more appropriate sites.

Finally, I wondered if Dark Stranger, you would mind if we share a link to your post here on the K.F. on the Facebook page as I think lots of people would be interested in what you have to say? Let us know if you are ok with that, thanks!
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby Nimps2 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:34 am

I read with interest your responses to the proposed plans to build a wrasse factory at Lossit Point.

I too am dismayed so have created a Facebook page, Save The Gauldrons, which is intended to create a space for people opposing the current plans to share information/opinions/images and to generate some momentum for the possible creation of a campaign group, to encourage people to engage in any forthcoming consultations or to write to their elected representatives. So far we have two local administrators and myself (a Campbeltonian based in Glasgow) and more than a 200 "likes" in less than 24 hours. If you would like to help with the page you are very welcome to get in touch. You can also help by simply sharing information or tell us why the Gauldrons is such an important place for you.

I am not against development or the creation of much needed employment in the area but the Gauldrons is in no way suitable as it is one of Kintyre's most important natural assets for both locals and visitors.

Let's hope that together we, (locals, the Kintyrean diaspora and visitors) can join together in opposing the proposed plans and make sure that any much need development opportunities are located appropriately.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby darkstranger » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:22 pm

Nimps2 - I confess I am absolutely clueless about Facebook, am not 'on it' myself nor likely to join, but I warmly commend your initiative (I had heard of it a couple of days ago) and am very happy that my comments should be promulgated far and wide this way.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby giantredwood » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:54 pm

Maybe I'm in the minority but I believe this is an excellent proposal and makes absolute sense to site it close to the existing facility. others suggest placing it on the MACC site but surely this would mean installing a large pipe across the main Machrihanish beach to furnish a sea water supply. Maybe some of the existing infrastructure could be shared thus alleviating further disruption elsewhere. There's still going to be more than plenty room to walk and enjoy the view and I don't believe for one second that a single visitor to Kintyre will be put off because of this facility. The stark fact is this is an area which is severely lacking in quality employment opportunities so maybe some small sacrifices have to be made.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby Robert B » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:30 pm

I'm with you giantredwood. Employment is surely a key factor and also key to attracting families to the village? I've read a number of comments and have enjoyed a good chuckle at some of them. I wonder if any are residents? I wonder if any of them have thought how much wonderful the whole stretch would be if they Machrihanish coact was not blighted by housing? Wonder what it looked like before then, eh?
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby LANDROVER ROGER » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:35 am

This is probably a stupid question but I can not find any reference to Wrasse being used to keep Salmon clean of lice.Please enlighten this idiotic old git.Thank you.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby LANDROVER ROGER » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:37 am

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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby bill » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:36 pm

Robert B wrote:I'm with you giantredwood. Employment is surely a key factor and also key to attracting families to the village? I've read a number of comments and have enjoyed a good chuckle at some of them. I wonder if any are residents? I wonder if any of them have thought how much wonderful the whole stretch would be if they Machrihanish coact was not blighted by housing? Wonder what it looked like before then, eh?


Total agreement Robert.

Imagine if plans for the Machrihanish pit, that was, were to be put forward now. It was bad enough when they wanted to put up a few wind turbines off the coast.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby petewick » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:07 am

Agree that employment is important but they don't have to build it at the Gauldrons.
The MACC base is the only sight designated for industrial development.
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Re: Lossit Point Wrasse Factory

Postby Robert B » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:13 pm

I was hoping to read more on this from the objectors since the initial flurry of posts as this is an important matter. I found this post on facebook.



"This is a photo of the Gauldrons. A scenic view.

However, Marine Harvest are not building here or indeed have any proposal for development in the Gauldrons Bay as the short description of this website maintains. So there is nothing to save the Gauldrons from! As a consequence the raison ‘d’etre for this site is surely questionable.

Marine Harvest is proposing to build a wrasse hatchery on Lossit Ground that is an area of farmland adjacent to the crumbling concrete foundations of the Fessenden mast. An area that seems to have been a dumping ground for slag from the old Machrihanish mines. A rather unattractive and, with respect, an unkempt site in fact.

As a history buff myself, I agree the site is of historical importance and I feel sure that Marine Harvest would look to enhance the area by promoting the mast and the WW2 observation post as an historical site – maybe have a small museum centre. The company is not denying access to Gauldrons Bay and would in fact improve the access for disabled (very poor at the moment) and possibly highlight McTaggart’s Way in a way it would like to be remembered.

From the plans, MH are going to bank the site and plant with salt tolerant species of trees and shrubs which would act as a very attractive back drop enroute to the Gauldrons. In my view, better to talk through these issues rather than damn them – jaw-jaw better than war war i.e. Marine Harvest will benefit of having the wrasse hatchery and the public could benefit as well

I am not of the belief the development is a threat to tourism and indeed the area could be enhanced as an historical route on a loop of the Kintyre Way. Panoramic views would still be there and won’t be compromised in any way. The rural area will not be devastated. I am also not of the belief that it would involve much more increased traffic over and above the present rate.

The authors are quite right is observing that landowners are custodians of the land for future generations. Surely this is exactly what is happening. The landowner will facilitate the creation of employment as well as securing the future of the existing 8 jobs. Understanding the need to move on but at the same time maintaining a healthy respect for the past.

There are no alternative sites in the area. The MACC base is not a secure site for the wrasse hatchery. Please be informed that the wrasse produced start at about 4mm long and are very delicate creatures throughout. Marine Harvest intends to deploy them to all their salmon sites when they reach about 6” in length. To have this facility in the centre of an industrial park with trucks and heavy plant going about and next to a runway with potential space vehicles landing and taking off is not conducive to a successful hatchery. If we were producing inanimate objects then the MACC base would be an excellent location.

Marine Harvest are prepared to spend £6m in the Machrihanish area and if they do they will have to be sure that the development has a long term viable low risk future which will not be compromised by an insecure pipeline, vibrations, excessive noise and insufficient biosecurity. There are other sites available within the UK, which do meet their criteria for development. So if Marine Harvest can’t develop here as a result of public opinion, they would respect this and relocate outside the Kintyre area. This is the reality.

If this does happen, I hope the authors of this page can explain to the school leavers and young couples with families whom want a decent wage, why a potential number of jobs that were on offer in the local area have now been taken away. And more to the point explain to the existing Marine Harvest staff why they should have to uproot themselves and their families to a development outside the area.

South Kintyre does need inward investment. But to have this denied by misunderstands and not being in full possession of the facts will be a travesty in itself. People have been talking about environmental devastation to the area but forget to mention the economic devastation to the area if developments like this are not allowed to go ahead. I fully respect objections based on a reasoned argument but I don’t think this is the case here – especially as the area could be enhanced for public use and access

I would hope therefore that all the good folk that have liked this site would have a re-think, examine the facts for themselves and come to a considered opinion.

Paul Featherstone"
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