Res­i­dents slam pro­posal for new Glen­shel­lach homes

The Oban Times - - NEWS - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­

THE coun­cil was ‘ wrong’ to build so many houses in Glen­shel­lach and should in­stead build on the other side of Oban near Dun­beg, a coun­cil­lor on the plan­ning com­mit­tee told a pub­lic meet­ing on Wed­nes­day.

All eight lo­cal area coun­cil­lors held a joint surgery on Novem­ber 2 in the Cor­ran Halls to hear views and an­swer ques­tions from mem­bers of the pub­lic. The dis­cus­sion quickly fo­cused on Glen­shel­lach, where Ar­gyll Com­mu­nity Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion plans to build 24 flats and 12 houses.

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s Plan­ning, Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices and Li­cenc­ing com­mit­tee (PPSL) is due to de­cide whether to grant or re­ject the two plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions at a lo­cal hear­ing in the parish hall on Glen­cruit­ten Road on Mon­day Novem­ber 14 at 11.30am

At Wed­nes­day’s surgery, one au­di­ence mem­ber asked: ‘Catalina Av­enue is get­ting big­ger and big­ger. Where is the traf­fic go­ing to go to get to all these houses?’ Sim­i­larly, an­other asked: ‘Surely they can not be plan­ning more houses un­til they do some­thing about the road?’

Coun­cil­lor Julie McKen­zie ac­knowl­edged: ‘There are big prob­lems in Glen­shel­lach. It gets worse by the day. I can spend 40 min­utes driv­ing into the town.’

Coun­cil­lor Kieron Green ob­served: ‘When you look at the traf­fic in Oban, there is a bot­tle­neck in the cen­tre of Oban. The seafront is not up to that. It is not go­ing to be a quick fix.’

A third mem­ber the pub­lic asked: ‘What can the coun­cil do about it?’

‘We are too late,’ ad­mit­ted Coun­cil­lor Neil MacIn­tyre, who sits on the PPSL. ‘ They have messed up the park al­ready. We have made the wrong de­ci­sion to put so much this side. There is no room to swing a cat.

‘We have a hous­ing list that is through the roof. The coun­cil has to find peo­ple a house. We have to do some­thing. We have to think out­side the box. We can­not build in the town. We have to move out.

‘We can­not de­velop this side of the town any more, un­less we build up the Dun­beg cor­ri­dor. There is no room to go, but this side [Dun­beg].’

Coun­cil­lor Roddy McCuish, who also sits on the PPSL, told the meet­ing there is a will to put houses in Dun­beg, but more in­fra­struc­ture would be needed. ‘In the back to front way we do things in this coun­try,’ he ex­plained, ‘we get the plan­ning per­mis­sion, we put in the houses and then we put in the in­fra­struc­ture.’

Oban com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor Ken MacColl com­mented: ‘Dun­beg has ex­actly the same prob­lem as Glen­shel­lach: the traf­fic gen­er­a­tors are SAMS and UHI at the end of the road, and I un­der­stand that is the block.’

An­other mem­ber of the pub­lic said the coun­cil ‘should have a mas­ter­plan – but at the mo­ment it is bit by bit by bit. This is the only town with an in­dus­trial park at the end of it. What pro­fes­sional plan­ner would put in an in­dus­trial es­tate on the end of a hous­ing es­tate?’

Coun­cil­lor Iain MacLean then ap­pealed: ‘What we need to do is bring back more con­trol to our area. This jug­ger­naut of a sys­tem can­not be moved. We re­ally are in trea­cle.’

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