Dunbeg residents hit out at lack of infrastructure
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.’