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Kyles Ark granted permission to stay

The sculpture has been granted retrospective planning permission

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By Megan Bonar
Kyles Ark granted permission to stay

Argyll and Bute Council ruled that the Kyles Ark won’t need to come down two by two, after granting the sculpture retrospective planning permission.

The decision was made to approve the sculpture at a meeting of Wednesday’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee.

It now has permission to stay in place for at least five years, given that the structure doesn’t fall into disrepair after exposure to the elements. Yearly reviews into the condition of the Ark will be required.

The applicant, David Blair who built the ark said: “The Ark was built to raise awareness of the scale and urgency of the climate and ecological emergency, it was designed to start conversations and inspire action. I propose it stands until 2045 when the Scottish Government have committed to Scotland achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

“Built at a scale that reflects the purpose of an Ark, it is 22m long 8m wide including the supporting structure and 6m high. The Ark is built from locally milled European Larch which is a naturally durable timber that should remain structurally sound for over 20 years.”

The application attracted just one objection, which raised issues such as the structure being a political statement and the impact of the Ark on the skyline.

Most of the issues raised were said not to have material bearing upon the planning aspects of the case but an officer did add this was an ‘exceptional case’ and the sculpture does not interrupt views of the vista.

At the meeting, Councillor Roddy McCuish said: “This is within the national scenic area, would we allow a pod, a house or dare I mention a wind turbine to be built there?

“With the greatest of respect to the artist, if I was to look at it, I would think it was a half-completed building.”

Councillor Jean Moffat added: “I’m very surprised this only received one objection. This is a marmite art installation, some people love it and some people hate it.

“I don’t mind it at all. It looks like an ark, it doesn’t look like a half-finished building.”

She jokingly added: “Do SEPA have any objections?”

SEPA of course is the Scottish strategic flood risk management authority, who unfortunately were not consulted.

The ark has become a popular visitor attraction, with school trips being organised to visit it.

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