Res­i­dents slam de­vel­op­ments

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

RES­I­DENTS and neigh­bours in the Glen­shel­lach area of Oban say the den­sity of hous­ing and peo­ple with very few ameni­ties is a ‘de­vi­a­tion from Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s lo­cal plan’.

But Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said the num­ber of houses were in the hous­ing al­lo­ca­tion as part of the de­vel­op­ment of the area. Res­i­dents ap­proached The

Oban Times say­ing they had be­lieved they had bought or rented their ‘for­ever’ homes but as the rate of de­vel­op­ment in the area con­tin­ues they now be­lieve it is more densely-packed than the guide­lines laid down in both Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion and in the lo­cal plan.

Robert Ma­cLean, who rents a home on the es­tate, said: ‘I moved down here into a small house and I was de­lighted to be in the midst of all these new homes. But as time has gone on, I have stopped liv­ing in the coun­try and started liv­ing in the mid­dle of a tightly-packed es­tate.

‘I sup­pose the traf­fic zoom­ing through the area has also caused prob­lems.’

Mr Ma­cLean was re­fer­ring to traf­fic rerouted through the es­tate rather than us­ing the top road which was blocked off with large stones some months ago.

Another per­son, who didn’t want to be named, said: ‘Houses in this area were lim­ited to one-and-a-half storeys, as is the gen­eral con­di­tion through­out the area.

‘All of a sud­den the spa­ces for houses have now turned into a place for flats that will dom­i­nate the land­scape and over­look our houses. It seems de­vel­op­ers are able to do what they like. To me, it seems that what we have on this side of the road is be­com­ing as densely-packed as the other side of the road in Soroba.

‘The area at Glen­shel­lach is of out­stand­ing nat­u­ral beauty on a land­scape only avail­able once. That land­scape is slowly be­ing eroded. ’

A spokesman for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said: ‘A hous­ing needs anal­y­sis was car­ried out and the re­sults showed that more hous­ing is needed in the Oban and Lorn area. As a re­sult, the lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan (LDP) iden­ti­fied ar­eas through­out Oban and Lorn for hous­ing de­vel­op­ment, two of which are in this part of Glen­shel­lach.

‘The LDP pro­vides in­dica­tive fig­ures of 11 prop­er­ties in one of these ar­eas and 90 in the other. The coun­cil has since re­ceived two plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions for de­vel­op­ments in these lo­ca­tions. The first ap­pli­ca­tion is for 18 prop­er­ties – seven over what is iden­ti­fied in the LDP. The sec­ond ap­pli­ca­tion is for 24 flats; 78 have had plan­ning per­mis­sion granted – this would re­sult in an in­crease of 12.

‘The hous­ing pro­vi­sion num­bers are in­dica­tive and in ap­pro­pri­ate cir­cum­stances may be var­ied at the dis­cre­tion of the plan­ning au­thor­ity.

‘It is im­por­tant that peo­ple are aware that no de­ci­sions have been made and these ap­pli­ca­tions will be sub­ject to our vig­or­ous plan­ning pro­ce­dures. It is also vi­tal that peo­ple know they can have their say on the ap­pli­ca­tions and make their views heard.’

Alas­tair McGre­gor, chief ex­ec­u­tive of ACHA , the or­gan­i­sa­tion mak­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion for hous­ing, said: ‘ ACHA has built 40 homes for af­ford­able rent in Glen­shel­lach and we are cur­rently build­ing a fur­ther 17.

‘The area is zoned for hous­ing de­vel­op­ment and ACHA is com­mit­ted to build­ing new homes to meet the press­ing hous­ing need in Oban at the present time. The as­so­ci­a­tion does not be­lieve its pro­pos­als put pres­sure on ameni­ties or cre­ate un­rea­son­able lev­els of den­sity. The as­so­ci­a­tion sub­mits plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions which we be­lieve are con­sis­tent with the lo­cal plan, in­clud­ing any rea­son­able amend­ments.

‘Oban’s peo­ple need ac­ces­si­ble, af­ford­able hous­ing and the as­so­ci­a­tion will con­tinue with its part­ners, Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, to de­liver this.’

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