A developer’s request to buy the site of Stornoway abattoir on a lease-back agreement has been considered by councillors.

At a meeting of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s  policy and resources committee on Tuesday (October 2nd) councillors were told of plans to redevelop the Newton area  by a partnership including CnES, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Stornoway Port Authority and several private developers.

One of the developers had put forward a plan for development of a Newton Enterprise Park, embracing an area next to the current site of the abattoir. The proposal included purchase of the abattoir site, which would then be leased back to the Comhairle for three years so that the current business could have time “for a relocation of the abattoir to a more suitable location”.

According to the report, provided by directors of development and of technical services for councillors, the abattoir site is: “in a prime location in the Newton area but the current use is not conducive to existing and new activity in the industrial heart of Stornoway.” The report also refers to the deteriorating condition of the premises.

Westside and Ness Councillor Kenny Macleod said: “It was made clear that we want proposals for a new abattoir site and development plan before we do anything.

“The committee agreed that plans would have to be in place before we would consider any proposal to sell the site.”

Councillor Macleod accepted that the abattoir premises are getting older and are in need of improvement, and that crofters had been worried about possible changes.

But he said that crofters should have no concern about a threat to the service the abattoir provides. He said: “There is not a chance of any progress on this plan without a proposal in place.  Not a single councillor spoke in favour of the proposal and our views were quite clear.”

The abattoir is currently in use between August and December each year, providing facilities for slaughter of island livestock without the need for transportation off-island.

It was agreed the Comhairle authorise the Director of Development, in consultation with the Director of Technical Services and the Director of Finance and Corporate Resources, to engage with the appropriate parties with a view to presenting options for the future use of Stornoway Abattoir and provision of abattoir services to the Policy and Resources Committee on December 12th.

And, arising out of consideration of this item, it was agreed that the Director of Development submit a Report detailing the Comhairle’s range of support to crofting to a future meeting of the Crofting Joint Consultative Committee.