Work starts on new coun­cil of­fices

The Oban Times - - The Oban Times & West Highland Times -

WORK is due to start this week on new Fort Wil­liam coun­cil of­fices.

The for­mer sec­ondary school build­ing on Ach­in­tore Road is to re­place the cur­rent coun­cil head­quar­ters in the town cen­tre, sav­ing the coun­cil more than £ 375,000 a year.

A High­land Coun­cil spokesper­son con­firmed that con­trac­tors Robert­son North­ern would be start­ing ren­o­va­tions this week.

Speak­ing to The Oban Times, Fort Wil­liam and Ard­na­mur­chan coun­cil­lor Thomas MacLen­nan said: ‘Any­thing that saves the coun­cil money is a pos­i­tive thing. That build­ing has been an eye­sore for 40 years. It’s time some­thing was done.’

Sue Keen, Fort Wil­liam Town Team sec­re­tary, said: ‘The re­fur­bish­ment will bring the build­ing back to life.’

Fort Wil­liam and Ard­na­mur­chan coun­cil­lor Brian Mur­phy agreed. ‘I am pleased to see work start­ing,’ he said, ‘as it has been an eye­sore for many years.’

There has been some con­tro­versy over the de­sign of the new ex­ten­sion.

Mr Mur­phy said: ‘ From the road, the build­ing will look fine, but I wasn’t too happy about the de­sign of the ex­ten­sion. The de­sign team should have given more weight to what lo­cal peo­ple had to say about the ex­ten­sion.’

But Coun­cil­lor MacLen­nan claimed: ‘The vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple I have spo­ken to are happy about this eye­sore at the gate­way to town be­ing taken away.’

A High­land Coun­cil spokesper­son said: ‘ His­toric En­vi­ron­ment Scot­land ap­proved the de­sign with the mod­ern tra­di­tional split. A pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion last year brought some very pos­i­tive com­ments from the pub­lic with the vast ma­jor­ity be­ing very sup­port­ive of the coun­cil’s pro­pos­als to bring the grade B listed his­toric build­ing back into use.’

It has been con­firmed the ex­ist­ing coun­cil build­ings will be turned into flats. The coun­cil spokesper­son said: ‘There is a £2.9 mil­lion devel­op­ment of Tweedale in the town cen­tre to pro­vide 22 hous­ing flats for coun­cil rent by 2017.’

Com­ment­ing on the new flats, Mrs Keen said: ‘This devel­op­ment will mean more hous­ing for peo­ple in the cen­tre of town, close to all ameni­ties.’

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