Con­fu­sion prompts call for more time to con­sider Caol road plans

The Oban Times - - West Highland Times - ELLIE FORBES eforbes@oban­times.co.uk

CAOL Community Coun­cil has called on the High­land Coun­cil to ex­tend the Caol link road pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod.

The dead­line for com­ments on the pro­posed road is June 10, but af­ter a meeting or­gan­ised by Caol community coun­cil on Mon­day (May 30) showed a lot of pub­lic con­fu­sion over the is­sue, the community coun­cil has asked for more in­for­ma­tion to be made avail­able.

Coun­cil­lor Al­lan Hen­der­son said: ‘The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod should be ex­tended to get a better rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what the community wants.’

The meeting, in Caol Community centre, was at­tended by around 25 peo­ple.

Community Coun­cil chair­woman Jane Young said: ‘We are do­ing this to get feed­back, so we can say to the coun­cil this is what we want as a community.’

But on Tues­day (May 31) prin­ci­pal plan­ner with the High­land Coun­cil, Tim Stott, told The Oban Times: ‘By law the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod only had to be six weeks. We have al­ready ex­tended this to 10 weeks. It’s not fair on other projects in the WestPlan who have had the same amount of time. If we ex­tended the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod for the Caol link road, we would have to do the same with ev­ery other project.’

Cur­rently there are two plans out­lined – an A82 by­pass and the Caol link road. How­ever, the community coun­cil has suggested plans for the by­pass should be taken off the ta­ble and no longer safe­guarded.

If the A82 by­pass is taken off the ta­ble the community will be left with just the Caol link road op­tion, which many are not happy with.

As a re­sult, the community coun­cil is call­ing for Lochaber res­i­dents to put for­ward new sug­ges­tions for the link road.

One at­tendee at the meeting said: ‘We need to stop ar­gu­ing with each other and make a de­ci­sion about what we want.’

One sug­ges­tion from Caol Community Coun­cil is a walk and cy­cle bridge link­ing In­ver­lochy, Caol and Cor­pach to the town centre. Mrs Young said: ‘The bridge would en­cour­age peo­ple to walk or cy­cle to work, in­stead of tak­ing their cars, which could re­duce con­ges­tion.’

It was thought there would be more fund­ing avail­able for this as it would en­cour­age healthy liv­ing.

Cur­rently there is no fund­ing for the link road.

Mr Thomp­son com­mented: ‘Coun­cil­lors asked for fund­ing for such a route ap­praisal to be dis­cussed at the next reg­u­lar meeting be­tween High­land Coun­cil and Trans­port Scot­land. The scale of works re­quired for the Caol link road, plus the fact it links two trunk roads, means fund­ing ought to come from Trans­port Scot­land, per­haps with a con­tri­bu­tion from High­land Coun­cil.’

Other po­ten­tial im­prove­ments suggested in the WestPlan is a sig­nalled con­trolled junc­tion at the A82 Belford hos­pi­tal junc­tion to the town centre. The coun­cil says this would re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple make U-turns at the Belford road round­about, but Trans­port Scot­land has yet to com­mit to fund­ing this.

Head to www.high­land.gov. uk to have your say.

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