Com­mu­nity coun­cil claims of­fice plan con­cerns have been ig­nored

The Oban Times - - News -

AMENDED plans for new High­land coun­cil of­fices in Fort Wil­liam have ‘com­pletely ig­nored’ con­cerns raised by the town’s com­mu­nity coun­cil.

Neil Clark, chair­man of the Fort Wil­liam public group, said the up­dated pro­pos­als for the old Fort Wil­liam high school pre­sented dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion last week haven’t ac­counted for any com­plaints the com­mu­nity coun­cil orig­i­nally made.

He said: ‘We were very dis­ap­pointed when the plans were pre­sented to us be­cause it looks like we have been com­pletely ig­nored. The school is a listed build­ing which just isn’t suit­able for the ex­ten­sion the coun­cil has planned. The ex­ten­sion looks like an agri­cul­tural me­tal shed and it’s far too im­pos­ing on the nearby ho­tel.

‘The coun­cil has land just 50 yards from this site [the for­mer Fort Wil­liam pri­mary school] which could be used much more ap­pro­pri­ately. I think this has all been cost- driven and the build­ing will be fall­ing apart in 40 years. The public con­sul­ta­tion has been a sham.’

The for­mer Fort Wil­liam high school, at the south en­trance to the town, has been empty for more than 25 years.

A High­land coun­cil spokes­woman said the build­ing de­sign has been al­tered to ac­com­mo­date public opin­ion. She added: ‘The ethos of the de­vel­op­ment is to cre­ate mod­ern flex­i­ble of­fice ac­com­mo­da­tion which sup­ports ser­vice de­liv­ery for our staff and cus­tomers.

‘The pro­ject team has en­deav­oured to pro­vide the most ap­pro­pri­ate so­lu­tion, which will re­sult in the re-use of the old derelict build­ing and have a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to Fort Wil­liam’s im­age.

‘The re­cent public ex­hi­bi­tion in the West End Ho­tel brought some very pos­i­tive com­ments from the public with the vast ma­jor­ity be­ing very sup­port­ive of the coun­cil’s pro­pos­als to bring the old his­toric build­ing back into use.’

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