Petition and Facebook bid to fight marina development

A petition and Facebook page have been launched by villagers campaigning against plans to develop Rhu Marina.

A masterplan for the site is recommended for approval by Argyll and Bute Council planners – despite opposition from the village’s community council.

The proposals for housing, a bar/restaurant, marina and apart/hotel will be decided at a local hearing in late August.

SOS - villagers want to save Rhu Bay
SOS – villagers want to save Rhu Bay

But now villagers including Alastair Moore are trying to highlight the development in Rhu, a conservation village.

More than 150 people have already supported a Facebook page which was set up on Saturday afternoon.

“The feedback has been quite encouraging, a lot of people still don’t know what is going on,” said Mr Moore.

“Many people do feel there is something that needs to be done – it is grabbing people’s imagination – it’s a big thing in a small village.

“A lot of interest has come from people who have been to the area on holiday or are from the area originally. “

He said locals were infuriated by plans to infill the sea and for tall buildings ‘which would blight and change the beautiful Conservation Village for ever’.

“The overwhelming views on this proposed expansive masterplan at Rhu Marina are ‘This is a small marina and that’s all, and should stay that way’,” he added.

The ‘Save Our Rhu Bay’ petition reads: “Developers have acquired the entire shoreline of Rhu Bay and Rhu Marina.

“They have applied to infill the sea area of Rhu Bay and build three storey apartments blocks, a three storey hotel and much more along with an allowance for 400 cars which is a major strain on the narrow A814.

“We don’t want a massive infill to the sea increasing the ground area to 12 acres along the front of Rhu. Do we?

“We don’t want a range of big tall buildings at the front of Rhu. Do we? We don’t want this beauty spot getting into the developers’ hands. Do we?

“Certainly not in our Conservation Village. What do you think? Our SOS message goes out to all to Save Our Shores.”

The hearing into the masterplan – and an application by GSS Ltd for a temporary building – will be held in Rhu Community Centre at 10.15am on August 27.

A mail box is provided at Rhu Post Office and is available for the public to drop sealed letters and register on the petition before then.

Alternatively email with your full name and postcode to or search for ‘Save our Rhu Bay’ on Facebook.

For background on the application see the stories below:

Below: the way it is now – views of scenic Rhu and the marina.

© The Lochside Press 2013


  1. Please please please…save our village from ruin. It is a beautiful and scenic area that will be spoiled forever with high buildings, car parks …and why? So that the fat cats who don’t even live here can line their pockets from profit at the village’s expense! It’s a total and utter travesty!

  2. Actually, the developer does live here and is from a local family. I am concerned that people are unwittingly joining a campaign through fb by being added and not joining voluntarily. I am all for public freedom of speeck and lobbying, but this page is not well thought out. It does not have links to the council website with full details of the plans along with all the supporters and objectors. People are not in full possession of the facts before they click the button to ‘join’ the campaign – if indeed that is what is happening. Let people make informed decisions. Aside from considerations regarding height of buildings which I think are reasonable for people to think are contentious, the plain fact is that the marina is a mess. The organisation running it do not keep it in an attractive way. This could be a fantastic tourism asset – god knows we need one here.

    • Mandy, Gillian:
      Just for information – the situation is complicated a bit because the council decided to defer a decision on GSS’ application (for a temporary office building) until the masterplan was decided, so the two issues are effectively being dealt with together. GSS is locally owned I think (was that the person you refer to Gillian?). The rest of the marina site is divided between Rhu Marina Developments Ltd, the shareholders of which are a small group of individuals (again, local as far as I know) and the Crown Estate – certainly not local, but it is committed to returning profits to the public purse. On the council website the applications are found by using reference numbers 12/01696/PP (GSS) and 11/00789/PP (master plan).
      Hope this helps!

  3. Indeed the marina doesn’t look very good and hasn’t for years. Responsibility for that is whose? Crown Estate? So do they profit from their neglect?

  4. The people of Rhu need to take a good look around, the village is in the 18th century and unless you want to see it remain there then something needs to be done. When objectors complain about taking views away can I remind you from the council “No one is entitled to a view” and objecting to the loss will have no effect to the planners decisions. The whole area of Rhu and Helensburg is in a great deal of development and unless something is done and quickly. Then the whole town and surrounding areas will just die. So wake up and stop these ridiculous partitions. Do you really think the planners will take any notice of a stupid FB petition?

  5. I recall at least 2 similar applications from the previous owners of Rhu marina(who were locals); both were summarily dismissed by the planners. Why should this one be any different? The marina is a decade or more overdue for a facelift, but including it with a large(arguably overscale for the location) hotel and housing development of dubious merit is a surefire way of mobilising opposition locally. Given the similarity to the ‘Potemkin village’ at Iverkip it’s hard to argue in favour aesthetically.

    • Pot and kettle come to mind re comments on developments in the area .
      You need to make a comparison here- a marina development that WILL bring tourists and boost the local economy for many generations to come ….or a wind farm that MAY enrich a small part of the local economy – which has more merit?
      I grant the plans may need some amendments – but three storeys high is nothing compared to 300 feet high turbines proposed on the other side of the hill – which are also adjacent to a conservation area and may affect wildlife to a considerable degree.
      Of course, the folk who might want to stay at the new marina complex could decide against it if they don’t like the odd flickering effect they will be subject to from the wind farm if allowed to proceed as submitted.

      • I’m in favour of one and have no strong opinion of the other, but then I don’t live in Rhu nor can I see the marina from where I live. I recognise the need for development, but the large scale of the proposal is going to raise a lot of opposition and the architecture is uninspiring to say the least.

        Whatever flickering there may be, it will not be visible from the marina as there is no sightline.

  6. It’s good to read the various comments on this issue.
    If you object to The Developers moving into Rhu Marina and spreading the frontage Of Rhu with unneeded tall buildings simply give the locals your support by putting your name to the Petition to Stop The Developers.
    The email address to object or make a comment is

  7. The June 19 story stated “And the developers accuse the community council of failing to represent views of local people”. Looks like there’s even less evidence for that accusation now

  8. Sadly these forums attract trolls as that’s all they are, to try & dissuade objectors, there are real issues here and they will affect this area dramatically if the are to go ahead in the form that’s proposed. Locally there is little opposition for improving sailing facilities and the required hospitality support to make it a success, but to take this proposal into hotels, flats & shopping malls is purely driven by commercial/financial/personal gain of the ‘local’ section of the development group. So anyone who feels intimidated by those on here who support this monstrosity, don’t be put off objecting, this proposal needs to be challenged in the strongest terms. A 12 acre infill of Rhu Bay is nothing short of environmental vandalism, for the benefit of a select minority at the huge expense of the local majority. A 3 storey flatted development will make the place look like every other crassly built, expensively marketed for profit eyesore. Why should we have to bear this? A&B Council planners have seriously misinterpreted planning legislation in approving the master plan, and the question has to be asked is this incompetent or deliberate? So if you want to see the desecration of this beautiful area, destroyed for all time by this development, then do nothing and believe those on here who have nothing better to say about Rhu than to its detriment. Those who love this place know why this is just so wrong, keep saying NO.

  9. It is disappointing to see the word troll here. This particular forum is in response to an even handed article by the Lochside Press who are very good at reporting in an unbiased way about the issues affecting our local area. Therefore I think it entirely appropriate for people to comment on their own points of view either for – or against this particular project. It is clear that works do need to be done to the marina in order to improve its offer to local sailing enthusiasts and if the Marina can also be improved as a tourist destination whilst maintaining the current level of employment – or even increasing it slightly this has to be a good thing. The issues to do with heights of buildings, infill of land etc are indeed contentious issues and people are right to be concerned about them. To call council planners incompetent or worse is a shot across across the bows of scottish governmental policy as it is those guidelines to which they are adhering. We all have the power of free speech and we all have the power to use it whether that be to agree, disagree or see some ground in the middle – which would appear to be the case in this instance.

  10. “Sadly these forums attract trolls as that’s all they are” So what would you call a face book objection? I can’t see this is recognised has a genuine and proper way to make an objection to AAB Planners. In fact I personally think it is the most stupid of ideas. Would it not make more sense and visit property’s in the area and get a proper and correct account from people and then make these available to the planners.

  11. After walking along the complete Rhu main road today and looking at the properties opposite, I just can’t seem to understand why these are objecting. Every property has trees/edges, some over 100 feet in height blocking the view. So if you can’t see the marina then why object? When people state unsightly buildings, then before you do take a look at some of your edges in front of your properties. These are over hanging some parts of the pavement some 3-4 feet. So do you think this looks good in a conservation village? I think not. You also open yourself up to personal claims if any member of the public is injured due to this. So before moaning and ranting on about your beautiful village being spoilt by the marina, take a closer look at home.

  12. People complained that The Clyde Bar’s colourful paint job was ruining the look of the sea front, what on earth is this development going to look like! There are plenty of B&Bs in Helensburgh for tourists to stay in. Also there are unused flats in Rhu on Lineside Walk (up Smugglers Way) that could be put to better use if knocked down or done up. Allowance for 400 cars? Kidston Park only holds about 30 cars so multiply that by 13 times in size and that will be the land used for parking alone, not to mention the hotel, apartments etc!
    The whole idea is preposterous.

  13. As a Rhu resident, I can only support any moves to improve the eyesore of the marina – however the excesses of this plan seem to me to be more about personal gain (at everyone else’s expense) rather than a well-considered enhancement of a Conservation Village. The previous comment about the area required for 400 parked cars gives some hint at the scale of the intended development, and the bay infill required. Crazy!

  14. 30 cars and 400 cars, I think the person needs to go to speck savers if one thinks you can only get 30 cars into Kidston it’s infact approx 70. I’m sure AAB council will confirm this.

    • In reality it’s about 50 (I checked). So we’d only need an area 8 times the size of the Kidston car-park. So no biggie, then ….

  15. Yes good to see some action here, hope it leads to the whole truth being exposed, Mr Parker had to walk by the sounds of things for the first time along the front of Rhu, to see what is now proposed, so why Mr Parker come on here and spout off your opinions in favour of developers when you didn’t even actually know the place? Trolls, think you must be a plant for the developers. It’s not nor should it ever be all about building, there are places around the country & the people of those places who are quite happy with how their towns/villages are now, and not just that, it’s the environment, quality of life, outlook, peace, nice trees, hedges & oh yes its supposed to be ‘conservation”
    And Ms Barclay we all know it is a couple of so called local folk who are involved in this & why? Because they are speculators, it doesn’t matter that they live in or around the village, it’s quite obvious they don’t have the village’s best interests as their priority. As to the actual plans, so why is it about 10yrs on there is no development at Helensburgh pier head? Why did it take nearly as long to allow Waitrose to build? Then why has it been so easy to get the planners to agree this masterplan? The planners are short on answers & thats why it’s easy to call the local planners actions into question, this stinks. As to what’s proposed, how can this shore be called a ‘brownfield site’? It’s a shore, a coast and it belongs to the community, it’s for sure not anything that’s been built on before, so its not brownfield! We do know the existing ground the marina stands on was reclaimed from the shoreline & yes it is a mess, so what guarantee is there that any new development won’t end up as a big white elephant & by then, the damage will be well & truly done & we definitely don’t want that. So it’s theft from the community, of their conservation status, their right to enjoy whats left of our beautiful coastline, we have a right to maintain that. This is the last part one the Garelochs eastern coast that has not been concreted over, Faslane has stolen the bulk, the rest has the RNYC, the HSC & you want more? Don’t think so, not at our expense……..

  16. DMC you are quite a detective. However I would love to know how you worked out I don’t stay in the area and never have. In fact I’ve lived here for 35 years and stayed in Rhu for some 10 of these. If you think so much of your conservation village then why not let it proceed in to the future instead of being left behind in the dark ages. Progress is what the whole area needs and as long has you have stupid petitions like this then I’m afraid the area is doomed and will end up like a one horse town.

  17. Mr Parker would not want to get into some form of slanging match with you, you are not of this area originally & your views are somewhat dismissive of those who do care about this area. Not everything has to change, people here like the village the way it is, in fact the village has suffered huge obtrusive & insensitive change since the expansion of Faslane, as has Helensburgh, and I cant say its progressive. Saying that ‘stupid petitions’ will cause our area to be ‘doomed’ is really quite naïve & disrespectful. It wont be doomed, it will survive quite finely, without this unnecessary development. There are hotels in Rhu, Garelochhead & some in Helensburgh who are finding it hard enough to survive, and as for the shops….perhaps it would end up in only attracting charity shops, coffee shops & pubs, that’s all that’s surviving in this area. To build 3 storey expensive seafront flats obstructing & destroying Rhu bay is totally unacceptable, they will only be for folks with big bank books, these are the types the developers of this project are wanting to attract. No we don’t need this so called ‘progress’ because it is at the expense of the bay, which in itself an age old appreciated feature of our area, it is the coastline and it belongs to the community in perpetuity. Not a corridor of buildings along to Spys Lane from Artarman Road & out into the bay at Rhu nearly as far as where the current pontoons are positioned, it is nothing more than greed at its worst, its certainly not to ‘progress’ or to improve, in fact we really don’t think Rhu needs any improvement thanks, but more than that it doesn’t need environmentally mugged….


    Proposed Development at Rhu Marina and along the front of the bay with sea infill and tall buildings.

    The Village residents of Rhu and local areas have digested, considered all the facts, discussed and debated and without doubt and as a matter of fact their is no desire or demand for this out of character huge development on the frontage of The Village Of Rhu.
    The locals, residents and custodians of Rhu Village do not want this in their conservation village.
    The Rhu And Shandon Community Council have also objected.
    So a NO to this planning application on the 27th of August 2013 is a must.

    If your with The Crown Estates or the three guys who call themselves Rhu Marina Developments the locals will give you support for a plan to develop and tidy up The Marina sympathetically in the current ground you have,
    with no infill of the sea and a few buildings of one level high in the keeping and character of the conservation village of Rhu.

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