Confusion prompts call for more time to consider Caol road plans
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.