Coun­cil­lor apol­o­gises over ‘dis­used scrap yard’ row

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­

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.

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