A planning appeal to establish a yard for an expanding Western Isles building company
has been rejected by a Scottish Government planning reporter.
O’Mac Construction sought to move to a new base with workshop store buildings, offices
and car parking in the rural settlement of Steinish about a mile outside Stornoway.
Western Isles planning officials recommended approval but councillors refused planning
permission after around 110 objections over traffic and safety problems on the single
track road, blotting the landscape, loss of quality agricultural land and impact
on the neighbouring auction mart.
O’Mac appealed to the Scottish Government which despatched planning reporter Timothy
Brian to Lewis to inspect the site on a croft off the village road, beside the Lewis
and Harris Auction Mart.
The firm - which employs around 43 islanders - pointed out it struggled to find an
Mr Brian has now agreed with the council’s decision.
He concluded: “I share the concerns of local residents, in particular, that: the
proposed development is not in keeping with the crofting settlement of Steinish;
the single-track road is inadequate to cope with the traffic associated with the
development; and the builder’s yard should be located within a designated industrial
He added: “ I do not consider that the economic benefits of the proposal, or the
challenges of identifying a suitable alternative site, warrant developing a builder’s
yard on the appeal site.
Mr Brian said: “I conclude that the grant of planning permission for the auction
mart on adjoining land should not be regarded as setting a precedent for the proposed
development of a builder’s yard at Steinish.
“Indeed, it might be argued that the establishment of a builder’s yard in this location
could itself set an undesirable precedent for further commercial development proposals
in the future.”
He did not concur there would be impacts on wildlife, water pollution, noise or dust.