Councillor apologises over ‘disused scrap yard’ row
AN OBAN councillor has apologised after neighbours objected to his ‘despicable’ plans to keep a ‘dangerous’, ‘shambolic heap of junk’ next to their homes.
In January, Oban North and Lorn councillor Iain MacLean applied to Argyll and Bute Council for a certificate of lawfulness to use his land by Falls View Apartments in North Connel for ‘general storage purposes’.
Since then the application has drawn many objections, including from his fellow councillor Kieron Green who argued residents ‘are extremely disappointed by the failure of the applicant to comply with polite requests, and more recently a voluntary arrangement, with the council to tidy the site.
‘This situation has been ongoing for many years now, with residents trusting the applicant would be true to his word. The impression now given, that the applicant will do anything to shirk responsibility and claiming that this has been tolerated as ground used for general storage, reflects badly both on him, and unfortunately by extension on the council as a whole due to his connection.
‘This cannot be tolerated any longer and a firm signal must be sent that the planning system cannot be abused in this manner.’
Immediate neighbours have also lodged objections, with one arguing: ‘ We have had to put up with views of decaying caravans, a portacabin, dead cars and junk which would make Steptoe’s yard look organised. Please Mr MacLean start being respectful of your neighbours.’
Another added: ‘ This shambolic heap of junk should never have been allowed to accumulate in an established residential area.’
Others said: ‘The area is already full of scrap and the council has already asked the owner to tidy up this and nearby scrap cars. So far the order has not been complied with.’
‘Making this a legal piece of ground for further storage is a disgrace,’ another neighbour agreed: ‘Not only does it devalue my and neighbouring properties, it is also a hazard for my children to play in locally and an eye-sore.’
One neighbour 100m away deemed the site ‘full of debris likely to cause vermin infestation and disease’: ‘I am friends of people who are living in the flats and know first hand how their lives are affected by the inconsideration of this man. For a councillor to act in this roughshod way is despicable. What he is storing is dangerous and a health hazard and envi- ronmental hazard and [ I] do not want this to spread to other land which he owns.’
Another nearby called it a ‘disused scrap yard’ and a ‘blight on the local amenity’, ‘ clearly visible from both Connel and North Connel, adding: ‘If this application is supported then you will be opening the flood gates for others and encouraging what is no better than fly tipping.
‘I think it is a disgrace that an elected official, paid from the public purse, has such disregard for the area in which we all live.
‘At a time of cuts to refuse collections and the increasing problem of fly-tipping, surely this application must be refused and an enforcement order put in place to have all the rubbish removed without further delay.’
Ardchattan community councillor Breege Smyth said: ‘It would be an abuse of the planning system to make legal what is in practise a rubbish dump and scrap yard.’
Responding to these objections, Mr MacLean told The
Oban Times: ‘I am acutely aware of neighbouring concerns and wish to publicly profusely apologise to everyone for the delays in the regularising process to achieve tidy storage, in an area used as such for many, many years.
‘This has been, in the main, due to circumstances which I have been unable to control.’
Neighbours have objected to Iain MacLean’s plans to keep a ‘shambolic heap of junk’ next to their homes in North Connel.