Community councillors have objected to ambitious plans to redevelop Rhu Marina.
A masterplan drawn up for the area by the Crown Estate and Rhu Marina Developments Ltd would include a marina, bar/restaurant, convenience store, housing and a hotel, as revealed here in March.
Rhu and Shandon community councillors carried out a survey of 110 visitors of visitors at an open event earlier this month, followed by an open meeting last Monday (April 15) attended by 140 people.
They say there is significant support for redevelopment of the marina but many of those in favour have strong reservations about some aspects, while many other residents are against the plans.
The community council has objected for the following reasons:
- Land reclamation is felt by the community to be unnecessary, contrary to council policies and could be detrimental to the behaviour of the tides and water flows, and the biodiversity of Rhu Bay
- The site is in the conservation area of Rhu village, and the size and scale of the proposed buildings are considered by many residents to be too , buildings mass and scale are widely thought to be generally inappropriate and in particular many of the building elevations are unacceptable, being up to 18m high
- The development will severely impact the panoramic qualities of the views of Rhu Bay – ‘an iconic view, jealously guarded by the community’
- There is a strong belief that the marina site should be developed in a manner which supports and enhances its fundamental purpose of being a marina – a development of 20 residential units is considered to be medium-scale and therefore not appropriate for a village setting.
- A clubhouse is thought to be appropriate provided a local club will adopt it, as is a restaurant, but there is already excess capacity in the village at existing hotels, and B&Bs
- The separate office block appears to be speculative with no obvious marina link given that the facilities building has office accommodation.
- The facilities building is unacceptable in terms of overall mass and elevation.
- The convenience store seems excessive given other provision in the village.
- The provision for boat storage and parking seems inadequate and not to required standards.
- There are concerns over traffic flows in and out of the marina area, and generally on road access on the A814
Community councillors also say a significant failing of the Masterplan is that it does not make clear future provision for some of the current marina activities. Continued long term use of containers as stores, workshops and welfare facilities is not acceptable, they say, and proper provision must be made in the masterplan.
The statement adds: “There is considerable support in the village for development and improvement of the site, with some believing that it will improve the site and the amenity of the village.
“Even amongst those expressing support, concerns remain around the height and mass of the buildings proposed, and the impact of the shop, hotel, etc on existing local businesses.
“Whilst the recently published masterplan is a major step forward it has deficiencies and as such does not yet represent an agreed overall plan for the marina area.“
There is also a planning application by GSS Ltd for temporary facilities including a modular office building, containers, fencing and a pontoon at Rhu Marina. The Masterplan is linked to this application (12/01696/PP) within the council planning system but because of its significance it is addressed separately from the application.
The community council has also objected to this plan, saying they ‘wish to encourage local businesses and appreciate that this application is designed to provide a temporary facility for a key local employer’.
But they say they are reluctant to support a temporary solution which is not strictly limited in time so have continued their objection pending agreement on the masterplan, adding:
Whilst the recently published Masterplan is a major step forward it has deficiencies, particularly in respect of clear provision of long-term permanent facilities to replace the temporary facilities proposed under this application.
The fact that this is a temporary application is irrelevant as the policy does not distinguish between temporary and permanent development proposals.
The proposal introduces a potentially ugly development into a conservation village and better provision should be made to screen or improve its appearance, even if it is temporary.
More information, including guidance on how to comment on the applications, is on the community council’s website here.
Scores of objections have already been lodged on the council’s website here – search for reference number 11/00789/PP.