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Councillors have given the green light for an extension to a Kilmartin sand and gravel quarry after controversy over the plans.
Objectors had claimed that the move could scupper the archaeologically-rich Kilmartin area’s vision to become a world-class travel destination.
The main concern was the potential for noise after Argyll and Bute Council officers allowed an increase to the quarry’s maximum decibel limit from 34db to 45db in May 2020, which villagers claimed was done despite requests for a public hearing on the matter.
Around 50 objections were received to the planning application by the quarry’s operator MacLeod Construction Ltd.
When the company applied to extend the quarry later that year, calls grew for a public hearing.
In response to the objections in December 2020, Jane MacLeod of the Lochgilphead-based firm said that output from the quarry, traffic levels and noise levels would not increase as a result of the extension.
At a discretionary planning hearing on June 28, Argyll and Bute council members approved the extension application, which had received more than 200 letters of support.
Mairi Coleman of MacLeod Construction Ltd said: ‘We are pleased that our planning application to extend the Kilmartin quarry was approved unanimously by Argyll and Bute councillors.
‘The quarry has been operating in the area since 1982 and is a valuable resource to residents and businesses in the Mid Argyll area.
‘There are two full-time permanent employees at the quarry itself, while quarry products support four lorry drivers, four mechanics, five machine operators, administration and management staff and, of course, a construction workforce of approximately 200 – as well as external consultants and many hundreds of sub-contractor employees.
‘We are more than happy to agree to meet with Dunadd Community Council on a twice-yearly basis to discuss operations in the quarry and how we maintain strong communication links with the community.’
Conditions attached to the council’s approval maintain the noise rating limit of 45 decibels at any residential property and include requirements to limit dust, control pollution and maintain access to public paths.
Quarrying works are restricted to between 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday with no routine work on Sundays and public holidays without the council’s advance permission.
No new ground can be broken without archaeological involvement and, after extraction is completed, reinstatement works should be carried out within nine months.