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Stena to push ahead with Port Plan

STENA LINE has been given the go ahead to start work on its new £70 million port north of Cairnryan.

Councillors unanimously backed the ferry giant's application to begin preparatory work on a new terminal at Old House Point, which will replace the current services in Stranraer.

The work involves improving the site entrance to allow better access for HGV's. Stena will also create a temporary area of hard standing and carry out infill works to allow effective dredging of soft material.

But this is only the first step of the process, as the company still has to submit an environmental impact assessment and seek a Harbour Empowerment Order from the Government.

Councillors attached 15 conditions to the planning approval, including measuring noise emission levels and strictly adhering to set working hours.

However, some Cairnryan residents have expressed concerns over issues such as excessive noise and traffic in the village during the development.

The Council's Area Planning Manager, John Ferguson, estimated that about 25 per cent of all vehicles that passed through the village last year were HGVs, and that figure will increase as a result of the development.

He said there would be between 60- 80 lorry loads a day coming in and out of the village, carrying about 1200 tonnes of material. One resident said:

"Stena say they want to be good neighbours to the people of Cairnryan, but if that were true they would have approached us first.

"Now we will only get a chance to voice our concerns after work has commenced."

Another worried resident said she feared the village could become effectively cut off with so many HGVs passing through it.

Residents also called for the speed limit to be lowered in the village while works are being carried out.

Local councillor Alistair Geddes said he fully supported the application, but added that councillors must do whatever they can "to mitigate the impact the development will have on the people of Cairnryan".

Councillor John Dougan echoed Mr Geddes' remarks.

"While it is vital that this application is passed, it is also important that we have good communications with the community of Cairnryan throughout the process," he said.

Councillor Robert Tuckfield said:

"While it is tragic that the development will have such a great impact on the community of Cairnryan, it is hugely important to the local economy that it goes ahead."

And Councillor Iain Dick said the new port would give the region an added edge as the leading gateway into Scotland from Ireland.

Stena's current facilities in Stranraer restrict the size of vessels that can operate out of Loch Ryan.

Stena hope the new development will provide additional port capacity and allow them to operate larger vessels.

The new port was recently added to the Government's list of top 12 national projects in Scotland. Once it is completed, plans to redevelop Stranraer's waterfront can move forward.

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