News from the districts – March 26, 2021

Castle Toward.

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Isle of Jura

Plans for a 15-metre high communications tower on the island of Jura have been given the go-ahead by council chiefs.

The plans by WHP Limited and the Scottish Futures Trust are for a site north west of Ardlussa House, and also include the construction of other telecommunications equipment.

No objections were received from members of the public to the proposal.

A council planning officer said: ‘The choices of sites for this important infrastructure project are limited and although the upper part of the tower may be visible in the skyline from some aspects in the panorama, it is deemed acceptable.

‘This infrastructure increase will help address the identified issue of retaining and increasing the active population in this remote rural area in line with the council’s strategic vision of this outward looking, adaptable island while retaining its outstanding natural and historic environment.’

Argyll and Bute

The winners have been declared in Argyll and Bute Council by-elections following the recent passing of councillors Ellen Morton (Helensburgh) and provost Len Scoullar (Isle of Bute).

Declared on Friday March 19, independent candidate Liz McCabe triumphed in the by-election for the Isle of Bute ward, while Conservative Gemma Penfold was named as the winner in the Helensburgh and Lomond South ward.

Mrs McCabe was elected at stage five of the ‘single transferrable vote’ count, which was held in Lochgilphead.

The Bute election was held after the death of the council’s Provost Len Scoullar, who was also an independent, in November at the age of 81.

Ms McCabe is about to retire from her day job running a restaurant in Rothesay.

She said: ‘I am aware of the many issues and challenges facing us here on Bute, including care facilities for the elderly with dementia.

‘I am an extremely hard worker and not afraid of a challenge. I have good communication skills and am not afraid to voice my opinion.’

Gemma Penfold said she was ‘over the moon’ after winning at the first stage of counting, receiving more than 50 per cent of all the ‘first preference’ votes cast under the single transferrable vote process.

The by-election was held after the death of the area’s long-serving Liberal Democrat councillor, Ellen Morton, in October.

Ms Penfold, who runs a dance school, said: ‘It’s been a bit overwhelming as this is the first time I’ve run.

‘We are coming out of Covid, so for me it is important that we help the town rebuild and help businesses rebuild.

‘That’s the main priority right now – trying to get people back into jobs and restoring the stability businesses had before Covid.’


A country house and former outdoor education centre could be heated by green energy in place of oil.

Plans to use heat from the Firth of Clyde to power 19th century Castle Toward have been submitted to Argyll and Bute Council.

The owners of Castle Toward Estate, near Dunoon,  propose a new building to house an ‘energy centre’ at the estate gatehouse.

A design statement for the proposed facility says it will contain a heat pump for the low-carbon generation of heat for estate buildings. The proposed equipment will replace oil boilers.

The council is expected to deliver a decision on the plans by the middle of May.

In the design statement, the architects’ representative explained that a heat pump in the new building would take the latent heat in the water of the Clyde and step it up to create a clean, low carbon source of heat, replacing oil heating which currently costs around £20-25,000 each month.