Timber extraction from Auchenlochan forest. Tens of thousands of tonnes of timber are proposed to be taken out of Tighnabruaich via the unclassified Poltalloch Road which leads directly across the access to Tighnabruaich medical centre and Tighnabruaich primary school. An alternative route has been offered by KCFC under a servitude agreement across Kilfinan community forest land. This alternative route would negate any timber lorries crossing this main access route. Argyll & Bute Council must take into account the importance of maintaining safe access to two vital community services. Indeed since the main demographic groups using the medical centre and the school are elderly and young children, crucially health & safety implications must be considered.
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The owners of Auchenlochan plantation are revisiting plans to extract timber along the Poltalloch road to the A8003. This will mean that during the harvesting period there will be 20-30 HGV movements a day along a road which has no proper pavement, and an important pedestrian route for the school and Kyles medical centre. In short, the area of the village with the highest concentration of vulnerable pedestrians will become a major HGV turning area. This is in addition to the damage that will inevitably be caused to an adopted road that was simply not designed for this kind of traffic.
This legacy – along with the problems it will cause – have long been known about, to the extent that Auchenlochan’s timber agents, Tilhill FIM, started two years ago to investigate alternative 'routes out'. A logical solution presented itself, in that a spur road crossing KCFC land could be built, joining an existing access route out of the village, and therefore the timber lorries could avoid the school/ medical centre junction altogether. Tilhill FIM and KCFC agreed terms very quickly, however the last 100m of the KCFC access road down to the A8003 is owned by the council. Unfortunately, the council’s "special project and quality improvement" department have, over the past 18 months, been unable to bring forward proposals that reflect the realities of the situation, and a settlement has not been reached. On the face of it, Argyll & Bute Council’s approach to dealing with this situation has been to adopt one narrow interpretation of the legislation to stand in the way of a solution which, if viewed in a wider context, would deliver a far better social outcome.