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.