Com­mu­ni­ties call for seat at A82 talks

The Oban Times - - Lochaber Times & Oban Times -

SOUTH Lochaber com­mu­nity coun­cils are call­ing for a seat at the ta­ble at the A82 sum­mit in June, writes El­lie Forbes.

Last week Trans­port Min­is­ter Humza Yousaf an­nounced the meet­ing which will bring to­gether var­i­ous groups with an in­ter­est in the oper­a­tion of the trunk road which links Glas­gow to Fort Wil­liam and be­yond to In­ver­ness.

Mem­bers of some south Lochaber com­mu­ni­ties coun­cils have ex­pressed their de­sire to en­sure their com­mu­nity’s voices are heard.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of South Lochaber Com­mu­nity Coun­cils, made up of Bal­lachul­ish, Nether Lochaber, Kin­lochleven, Duror and Ken­tallen, and Glen­coe and Glene­tive com­mu­nity coun­cils, hope to speak as ‘one voice’ at the sum­mit.

Iain Jen­ner of Nether Lochaber Com- mu­nity Coun­cil told the Lochaber Times: ‘We are re­quest­ing our com­mu­ni­ties have a say in these dis­cus­sions. Our com­mu­ni­ties have been lob­by­ing for the A82 for years. We are aware of the is­sues that are on­go­ing in our com­mu­ni­ties so we should be in­volved in dis­cus­sions.’

Chair­man of the as­so­ci­a­tion and Bal­lachul­ish Com­mu­nity Coun­cil Kevin Smith had con­cerns about peo­ple com­ing up with ideas for an A82 up­grade who have not met with the com­mu­ni­ties which are af­fected by the prob­lems.

He said: ‘The A82 has been on the agenda for more than 30 years. It’s an is­sue which af­fects the whole area and our tourism.’

The as­so­ci­a­tion wants to look at the op­tions for up­grad­ing the road be­tween Bal­lachul­ish and Fort Wil­liam. Mr Smith said: ‘ We have real con­cerns about the width of the road, es­pe­cially with the num­ber of ar­tic­u­lated lor­ries on it. To get a road 7.3 me­tres in width all the way from Fort Wil­liam to Glas­gow would be phe­nom­e­nal but not with­out dif­fi­culty.’

Ms Smith high­lighted the po­ten­tial im­pacts the Lochaber smelter could have on the A82, with ad­di­tional hous­ing mean­ing more peo­ple trav­el­ling on the road. Lochaber MSP Kate Forbes told the

Lochaber Times: ‘I meet with com­mu­nity coun­cils reg­u­larly and I met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Bal­lachul­ish and Nether Lochaber Com­mu­nity Coun­cils last week. Trans­port was high on the agenda. I hope com­mu­ni­ties will con­tinue to drive progress on the A82 and are in­cluded and in­volved at ev­ery stage of the de­ci­sion mak­ing process.’

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