Pier Pressure

We recently completed an options study for Taynuilt Community Council (TCC). This has been an interesting commission which arose from Taynuilt residents’ concern about the increasing misuse of the formTaynuilt Pierer ferry pier and adjacent ground. The pier and ground are currently in private ownership having been until recently used for a mussel farming business, now abandoned.

Twelve miles outside Oban the former crofting village of Taynuilt is now a comfortable residential community with a popular primary school, post office, grocer, hairdresser, butcher, tea shop, village hall, golf course, tennis court, sports pitches and a hotel. But Taynuilt is also just over a mile from the shores of the stunningly beautiful Loch Etive and the local pier area is a popular stopping place not only for local dog walkers and family bike rides but also for visitors, including wild anglers, kayakers, campers and camper van enthusiasts. A misuse of the area by a growing minority has included toileting, damage to the shoreline and verges and general littering as a result of parties and stopovers exceeding the spirit of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

TCC are concerned about the growing social and environmental issues and wanted to consider ways to manage and address them including the potential for a community buyout of the pier and surrounding area. They secured funding through Argyll and the Isles LEADER and Lottery’s Investing in Ideas and following a tender process appointed a team including CLS, Beaton and McMurchy Architects, Gregor Cameron Consultancy and EnviroCentre to assess local and stakeholder opinion and consider both the physical and management options.

The more we researched the matter the more we understood the complexity of the issues, which were classic issues relating to the conflict between encouraging leisure and preserving peace and quiet, and encouraging local management requiring a lot of individual commitment. Additionally the area under consideration cannot be considered in isolation; whatever decisions are taken in this location will impact on neighbouring shoreline, approach road and farmland.

We had a good, if cautious, response from local people and consulted widely with agencies including SNH, Forestry Commission Scotland, moorings associations, Taynuilt Common Grazings, Argyll and Bute Council access, biodiversity, harbours, roads and planning sections, Stramash, Taynuilt Sports Council, paddle sports and angling interest organisation, Kerrera Community Development Trust, Lochranza Community Interest Company, Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the District Valuer. We considered issues ranging from compost toilets, fire pits and car park height restrictions to slipways, pontoons and camper van service points, together with management options, from volunteer tidy ups and friendly signage to buy out and community enterprise.

A number of conclusions and recommendations were made which are currently being considered by Taynuilt Community Council. Community buy out, early simple improvements and light touch management would be a positive move for the future of the area but there are also opportunities for enterprise and local jobs subject to the capacity and commitment of the local community.

Filed Under: Business Plans, Funding

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