Councillors are disappointed that plans for a waste transfer station in Inverness will now go ahead.
The Scottish Government’s reporter granted permission for the rubbish sorting centre earlier this month after it was rejected by members of Highland Council.
Alness-based Munro Construction will create the station beside the scenic Caledonian Canal, prompting fears that tourists would be discouraged from visiting the area.
More than 30 local businesses, Scottish Canals and Merkinch Community Council – which covers a nearby housing estate – objected to the proposals to build a waste transfer station at Carsegate Road.
And last year, Highland Council’s south planning committee voted to reject the scheme.
Councillors at the south planning committee had their first chance to discuss the reporter’s decision yesterday.
Councillor Richard Laird, Inverness Central, said he felt the council was a “victim of timing” because the authority’s Muirtown and South Kessock development brief was in the process of being finalised.
He also said that the Longman industrial site was previously identified as suitable for such a use.
He said: “This was a judgment call and was not clear cut. The decision is a lot of rubbish.”
He added that it was a constant frustration that communities could not appeal against government planning decisions.
His views were backed by Councillor Donnie Kerr.
He said: “It is so bitterly disappointing when so much local opinion and knowledge, including the majority of traders on the estate were against it.
“Their views were worth nothing.”
The plans will allow almost 25,000 tonnes of rubbish a year to be transported to the building before it is sorted and moved to landfill and recycling centres.
Munros has said the scheme would not cause problems for the local area.
It stressed that all waste would be stored inside an existing large shed to reduce smell nuisance.
The company wants to convert the building to handle waste from its skip-hire business and Highland Council’s collections.
About 15 vehicles a day would bring the refuse in, with a further eight bulk carriers taking it away from the city.