Dun­beg res­i­dents hit out at lack of in­fra­struc­ture

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

AN­GRY Dun­beg res­i­dents are de­ter­mined to op­pose any new houses be­ing built un­til there is a new round­about, school and im­prove­ments to roads.

A ‘mas­ter­plan’ en­vi­sion­ing 600 new houses be­tween Dun­beg and Gana­van as a ‘gate­way’ to Oban was un­veiled at a pub­lic meet­ing on Fri­day Jan­uary 13.

If en­dorsed by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, the Dun­beg Cor­ri­dor Mas­ter­plan will al­low de­vel­op­ers to build ‘a mix of for-sale units and multi-ten­ure af­ford­able homes’ on va­cant land north of the A85 be­tween Dun­beg and Gana­van. So­cial land­lord Link Group set out its vi­sion to ex­pand both by ‘a se­ries of new neigh­bour­hoods’ in a ‘coastal wood­land set­tle­ment’, to act as a ‘cat­a­lyst for an­cil­lary shops, cafes and com­mu­nity uses’ and ‘in­crease em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties’.

How­ever, res­i­dents ar­gue that more de­vel­op­ment re­quires a big­ger pri­mary school – the cur­rent one will be close to ca­pac­ity next year – and a round­about at Dun­beg’s busy A85 junc­tion, de­scribed as a ‘death trap’ ac­cord­ing to a 900-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion. Res­i­dents are also call­ing for an up­grade to the rut­ted Kirk Road, used by hun­dreds each day driv­ing to SAMS, the Euro­pean Marine Sci­ence Park, a WHHA hous­ing es­tate and Dun­staffnage Cas­tle.

Frus­tra­tion boiled over last Thurs­day at Dun­beg Com­mu­nity Coun­cil’s heated pub­lic meet­ing to dis­cuss the mas­ter­plan.

One res­i­dent said: ‘They said years ago the in­fra­struc­ture would go in, but it was all pie in the sky. No more houses un­til the roads and school are fin­ished.’

Chair­man Sean MacIn­tyre agreed, say­ing the com­mu­nity feels let down by con­fus­ing, con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion, ad­ding: ‘The com­mu­nity coun­cil is as much in the dark as you are. We did ask a cou­ple of peo­ple if the round­about is go­ing ahead. One said yes and one said “no – we need fund­ing”. We were told the roads were go­ing in first, then we were told they will be built at the same time.

‘At the mo­ment [the coun­cil] will not adopt that bit of Kirk Road be­cause they do not own it. They do not want to build a new school or shops. We feel the com­mu­nity is get­ting led up the gar­den path. We do not want any more houses un­less they put the in­fra­struc­ture in.’

Com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor Mar­ion Power said: ‘We did not even know this meet­ing [Jan­uary 13] was hap­pen­ing un­til some­one told us. What the peo­ple of Dun­beg are say­ing is, “Treat us with re­spect”. Do not think we will lie down.’

One res­i­dent added: ‘We are not against houses but it is the way they keep go­ing about it.’

An­other added an­grily: ‘They did not give us enough time. They do not care about this vil­lage or the peo­ple in it. They will just take the money and leave us.’

The mas­ter­plan be­gan with a pre-ap­pli­ca­tion con­sul­ta­tion in May 2015, which was sub­mit­ted to Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil on De­cem­ber 15, which has granted an ex­ten­sion for com­ments be­yond the statu­tory pe­riod un­til Fe­bru­ary 17. Res­i­dents be­gan can­vass­ing views door to door on Mon­day.

A coun­cil spokesper­son ex­plained: ‘It is now likely the sub­mis­sion will be con­sid­ered by the plan­ning com­mit­tee in March. Master­plans are vi­tal strat­egy doc­u­ments that give real cer­tainty. If ap­proved, this mas­ter­plan will show how the site will po­ten­tially be de­vel­oped, if and when de­vel­op­ment goes ahead.

‘The coun­cil pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied two prospective in­fra­struc­ture projects which would en­able the ex­pan­sion of Dun­beg – the wi­den­ing of Lorn Road/ Kirk Road and the in­stal­la­tion of a round­about and junc­tion off the A85 at the Half­way House. Both projects are be­ing ac­tively pur­sued.

‘With around 600 houses be­ing de­vel­oped we will, of course, look at our ed­u­ca­tion pro­vi­sion in Dun­beg.’

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