Bare essentials make for a chairless environment
TABLES and chairs for public use were part of the plans for the ‘open space’ of the recently redesigned Stafford Street, an Oban councillor has claimed.
Iain S Maclean, the SNP councillor for Oban North and Lorn, said he had information that proved the provision of tables and chairs was part of the original plan for all of the pedestrian zone near the seafront at Oban.
Councillor MacLean said: ‘I have spent time with all of the Stafford Street traders at least twice each, and more with those who wanted me to report back.
‘Some said they were told by one councillor that there was no longer funding available for tables and chairs and some by another councillor that providing street furniture would be unfair to other George Street traders.
‘It seems to me to be a fatal flaw in Argyll and Bute council’s statement that it is to create a ‘cafe culture’ atmosphere in Stafford Street.
‘Fixed street furniture would by definition obviate the perceived problem with the youth ‘miss-using’ the terraces.’
Owners of the shops on Stafford Street agreed with councillor Maclean.
A member of staff in Room 9 said: ‘It’s very bare. It needs something. I know it’s for dancing, but it could do with some benches at least.
‘It’s a bare space. It could do with a bin also. I know there’s one at the other end, but we often have to pick up rubbish.’
Irene MacKinnon, of Kronks, said: ‘After seeing it finished, it looks beautiful, but there’s a design flaw.
‘Perhaps the seating should have been up the top in the bare area, but the problem with that is the coloured glass, you can’t see through it.
‘Having said that, I haven’t sat down up there, so you might be able to see over it.
‘It’s lovely seeing people sitting outside, but after the council said they were, then weren’t providing seating, myself and Pokey Hat decided not to put seating out this year as we were massively affected during the construction process, but we might next year when we’re better off.’
However, a spokesman for Argyll and Bute council defended the design, saying: ‘This project was about creating a great new public space for businesses, residents and visitors to use and enjoy.
‘There is some 90 metres of public seating within the design, which is already being very well used.
‘There is a tremendous opportunity for local businesses to use the flexible space the council has created to enhance the offering for their customers.
‘We would encourage them to take advantage of this space by making outdoor dining a possibility, as it is in other European cities. We are confident that local businesses will see the opportunities available and will approach the council to discuss the best way to provide an open air dining experience.’
The spokesman concluded by saying the seating provided by cafes was for their customers only.