Rescue association's Dornoch boat shed proposal is making waves
East Sutherland Rescue Association’s planned new lifeboat shed has been labelled “large and intrusive” by Dornoch Community Council, whose concerns are shared by Dornoch Area Community Interest Company (DACIC).
ESRA is seeking planning consent for the new building on land at Dornoch beach to the south east of the charity’s existing building, which is no longer fit for purpose but is to be retained for storage.
At two storeys high, the new boat shed will be just under twice the size of the existing one.
Planners have received 65 representations in support of the development with only two against.
The issue has been high on Dornoch Community Council’s agenda with members visiting the Royal National Lifeboat Institute stations at Lochinver and Inverness to look at and compare their facilities with the ESRA proposal.
They have also considered other emergency services building within Dornoch such as the fire station.
And now the community council is flagging up its concerns over the visual impact of the building, which members say will look like an agricultural unit.
In its submission to planners, the council states: “From visiting other emergency centres, the community council believe the floor space could be cut by at least a third....... if the building was to be constructed as a single storey, then the visual impact would be negligable to those who sit in the car park enjoying the open views on a daily basis.”
The community council has underscored its support of ESRA and the vital service the organisation provides.
But it concludes: “Our opinion is that this development could be located in a better position and be at least one third smaller. It could be located between their existing shed and the playpark with the open space north of the dip used for access and parking, taking away the bottleneck on entering the car park.”
Meanwhile DACIC too is of the opinion that the new build will “create a very large intrusion on our award-winning beach”.
And the organisation is querying why ESRA requires two training rooms measuring up to 72 square metres when there are various halls in the town with training rooms for hire
In a supporting statement to Highland Council, an agent for ESRA states that the location selected was most suitable as it was closer to the beach for launching the lifeboat.
The statement reads: “The new facility will provide an operations room for multi agency co-operation. We have looked at a number of local RNLI structures such as Lochinver, but as they have harbours and their boats are kept on the water all year round, they do not require a second storey structure.”