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Skye residents welcomes chance to air concerns as Highland planning commitee defers plans for controvertial fish farm

Neil Scott-Moncrieff, 45, Emma Beaton, 22, and Joan Beaton, 57 from Flodigarry
Neil Scott-Moncrieff, 45, Emma Beaton, 22, and Joan Beaton, 57 from Flodigarry

Residents of a Skye village have been given the opportunity to voice their concerns over plans for a new fish farm to the north of the island.

Organic Sea Harvest lodged plans for a new marine fish farm for Atlantic salmon at Flodigarry in July, attracting dozens of objections

During a North Planning committee meeting in the council chambers yesterday councillors voted unanimously to defer the plans to hold a hearing in the New Year, giving concerned locals the chance to “address their concerns directly to members.”

Chairwoman Maxine Smith said: “For me it’s about Skye itself, this area is of such crucial importance to not only Skye but also the Highlands in terms of tourism. It could be sensitive if we grant something today and we make a mistake. “

Emma Beaton, 22, from Flodigarry welcomed the decision.

Emma Beaton was among several members of the community who made the 133-mile journey from Skye to hear the committee’s verdict.

The 22-year-old said the community welcomed the chance to have the voice of the community heard.

She said:  “It buys us a bit more time. We are not completely out of the dark yet but there is still a lot to prepare now but it’s something, we are by no means celebrating yet.

“Our community voice does matter and I don’t think we should have having something forced upon us that we really don’t want.”

The hearing has been scheduled to take place on January 21.

Councillor Alister Mackinnon and a director for Organic Sea Harvest said he was content with the decision and was looking ahead to the next meeting to ‘state their case’.

He said: “We have all said we will be open, honest and transparent with everything that we are doing in relation to our applications and we have done that.

“We have had consultation up in Flodigarry and Staffin and in Flodigarry three people turned up. It was an open day, plans and everything were there to consult but they didn’t take advantage of it. Unfortunately social media has taken off again but that’s fine. I am confident that everything we have done is transparent and above board.”

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