Residents slam proposal for new Glenshellach homes
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.’