Op­po­si­tion grows over bound­ary plans

The Oban Times - - News - STEVEN RAE srae@oban­times.co.uk

OP­PO­SI­TION to plans for a ‘lu­di­crous’ re­draw­ing of lo­cal ward bound­aries in Ar­gyll and Bute has won sup­port from the um­brella body for Scot­land’s coun­cils.

David O’Neill, pres­i­dent of the Con­ven­tion of Scot­tish Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties (COSLA), has said he fully backs op­po­si­tion to the pro­pos­als al­ready voiced by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, politi­cians from all tiers of gov­ern­ment, and a coali­tion of com­mu­nity coun­cils.

Un­der the pro­pos­als, much of the Oban North and Lorn coun­cil ward would be­come part of a much larger Mid Ar­gyll ward.

They all use, and rely on, a wide range of coun­cil ser­vices, health fa­cil­i­ties, lo­cal busi­nesses, so­cial clubs and trans­port links lo­cated in Oban. Other ar­eas of the pro­posed Mid Ar­gyll ward are much closer to Lochgilp­head, or even Dunoon, and as such do not share th­ese links with Oban.

Oban North and Lorn is also one of the wards set to lose a coun­cil­lor, as Ar­gyll and Bute faces re­duced elected mem­ber num­bers, from 36 to 33. At a meet­ing ear­lier in the year, ar­ranged by com­mu­nity coun­cil­lors in the af­fected ar­eas, coun­cil­lor for Oban North and Lorn, Iain An­gus MacDonald, called the plans ‘lu­di­crous’.

And in an ear­lier state­ment to the Bound­aries Com­mis­sion, Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil spoke of its ‘sig­nif­i­cant con­cern at the im­pact th­ese pro­pos­als will have on ex­ist­ing com­mu­ni­ties’ when it re­jected the pro­pos­als.

In a let­ter to the com­mis­sion’s chair­man, COSLA chair­man Mr O’Neill said: ‘In our view, for many rea­sons, th­ese pro­pos­als will not make sense at com­mu­nity level and this is a fa­tal flaw in the Bound­ary Com­mis­sion’s re­view.

‘The points made by Ar­gyll and Bute in its let­ter to you re­flect all of th­ese con­cerns in some de­tail and pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence of the ad­verse im­pact for the Ar­gyll and Bute area and the com­mu­ni­ties it serves.’

Fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions to Scot­tish min­is­ters by the com­mis­sion will be made af­ter the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tions in May of next year.

The map shows the pro­posed changes. The striped area, cur­rently

part of Oban North and Lorn, would move to the Mid Ar­gyll ward.

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