Coun­cil con­sid­ers op­tions for Mill­park site fol­low­ing fire

The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A FIRE re­cently at Mill­park, Oban, may give Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil the op­por­tu­nity to sell off ex­cess land and al­low a devel­oper to move into the town.

A source close to the coun­cil lead­er­ship told The Oban Times this week that the au­thor­ity has al­ready started to con­sider sell­ing off the town cen­tre land and mov­ing the ma­jor­ity of roads and amenity staff to Jack­son’s Quarry.

The fire at Mill­park dev­as­tated coun­cil prop­erty to an es­ti­mated value of £ 5 mil­lion.

Prop­erty and a large stor­age build­ing for ve­hi­cles and equip­ment were de­stroyed. Neigh­bours as far away as Soroba heard ex­plo­sions of gas can­is­ters through the night.

Every mem­ber of staff who works on the site has been in­ter­viewed by po­lice as they try to de­ter­mine whether the fire was a crim­i­nal act.

Po­lice say it is un­likely the build­ing at the site will be able to be en­tered again due to its dan­ger­ous and frag­ile state and there­fore the crime scene will need to be de­mol­ished.

In­sur­ance loss ad­justers con­tinue to work with the lo­cal au­thor­ity, po­lice and fire au­thor­i­ties on the site to come up with an ac­cu­rate sum of monies lost.

Dis­grun­tled staff mem­bers have said they are dis­ap­pointed that se­nior mem­bers of man­age­ment have not been to visit the site in spite of it be­ing the largest and most dev­as­tat­ing fire to hap­pen in the area for decades.

One man said: ‘It is as if they are just not both­ered.

‘You will not believe the amount of pres­sure we are all work­ing un­der to con­tinue to deliver a ser­vice, but we haven’t had a thanks for pulling out all the stops from any­one.

‘To be fair, Coun­cil­lor McCuish has been up to see us. He has taken an in­ter­est at least.’

Staff mem­bers have been moved to Jack­son’s Quarry near the auc­tion mart.

Re­ports of ac­ci­dent near misses due to the huge in­crease in the num­ber of ve­hi­cle move­ments in the area were be­ing made by staff mem­bers in all the sur­round­ing busi­nesses.

A spokesman for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said: ‘It is too early to say ex­actly what will hap­pen with the site and what caused the fire.

‘The dam­aged build­ings are cur­rently in the process of be­ing de­mol­ished.

‘The fire ser­vice and the po­lice con­tinue with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion and we are in dis­cus­sions with our loss ad­justers about the next steps.

‘Staff are cur­rently de­liv­er­ing ser­vices out of Jack­son’s Quarry and the coun­cil of­fices on Al­bany Street.

‘Ob­vi­ously our im­me­di­ate fo­cus has been on restor­ing and main­tain­ing ser­vices.

‘Now that things are back on track, we will be­gin to de­velop fu­ture op­tions for the Mill Lane de­pot site.

‘We con­tinue to en­gage with staff who have been af­fected by the fire through our nor­mal in­ter­nal chan­nels.’

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