Bound­ary pro­pos­als at­tract ma­jor re­sponse from Ar­gyll res­i­dents

The Oban Times - - News - STAFF REPORTER editor@oban­

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL and un­pop­u­lar plans to re­draw coun­cil bound­aries have prompted a sig­nif­i­cant re­ac­tion from the peo­ple of Ar­gyll and Bute.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for Scot­land re­veal a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion at­tracted four times the level of re­sponse from the re­gion, com­pared to the rest of Scot­land.

The pro­posed new coun­cil bound­aries would move Ar­dr­ishaig, Tay­val­lich and the rest of Knap­dale into Kin­tyre, while lump­ing Lochgilp­head in with Dal­mally and Bridge of Orchy in a new Mid Ar­gyll ward. Other changes in­clude the abo­li­tion of the Cowal ward and merg­ing ar­eas as dis­persed as vil­lages near He­lens­burgh with oth­ers in Cowal.

Ar­gyll and Bute would lose three coun­cil­lors from the cur­rent com­ple­ment of 36, while one coun­cil ward would go.

A three-month pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, which closed last month, at­tracted around 4,000 re­sponses na­tion­ally. Of that num­ber, 300 were from Ar­gyll and Bute, which equates to a re­sponse rate four times greater than the over­all na­tional fig­ure.

When the sin­gle re­sponses of com­mu­nity coun­cils are con­sid­ered, the num­ber of peo­ple rep­re­sented within the 300 re­spon­dents grows fur­ther still.

Op­po­nents of the plans were de­lighted to hear the news.

One critic, Mid Ar­gyll coun­cil­lor Dou­glas Phi­land, said: ‘I can only hope the Scot­tish min­is­ters take cog­ni­sance of the strength of feel­ings as­so­ci­ated with the re­sponses and al­low the demo­cratic will of the res­i­dents of Ar­gyll and Bute to pre­vail.’

Fel­low Mid Ar­gyll coun­cil­lors Sandy Tay­lor and Don­nie MacMil­lan were in full agree­ment.

‘I am per­son­ally pleased to see that level of re­sponse as some­one who has pro­moted the need for com­mu­nity aware­ness and re­sponse to the con­sul­ta­tion,’ said coun­cil­lor Tay­lor. ‘ Know­ing how com­mu­ni­ties in South Oban, Bute and Cowal feel, this ex­cep­tional re­sponse comes as no sur­prise to me.’

Coun­cil­lor MacMil­lan added: ‘At present the pro­pos­als are not sat­is­fac­tory for Mid Ar­gyll. I hope the com­mis­sion re­sponds to what the peo­ple are say­ing.’

A spokesper­son for the com­mis­sion said: ‘ We will con­sider all re­sponses to the con­sul­ta­tion at meet­ings in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.’

Fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions will be sub­mit­ted to Scot­tish min­is­ters by May 2016.

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