Plans for 600 new homes at Dun­beg are given go-ahead

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

DUN­BEG’S dream of a Kirk Road up­grade and a new A85 round­about came a bit closer when coun­cil­lors ap­proved a blue­print for 600 houses north of Oban, but hopes for a new pri­mary school still seem a long way off.

Coun­cil­lors unan­i­mously ap­proved the ‘am­bi­tious’ Dun­beg Cor­ri­dor Strate­gic Mas­ter­plan at Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s plan­ning, pro­tec­tive ser­vices and li­cens­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing on April 26. The wish-list would al­low for 605 houses, plus shops, busi­nesses and play­parks, to be built be­tween Dun­beg and Gana­van, sub­ject to plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions be­ing sub­mit­ted and granted.

Phase one in­cludes 300 homes to be com­pleted over the next six years. The Link Group and West High­land Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion have al­ready fin­ished the first 75 af­ford­able homes on the site, in­clud­ing 50 in­ter­me­di­ate rent-to-buy prop­er­ties, and 25 so­cial rent homes. At least 25 per cent of the com­pleted de­vel­op­ment will be af­ford­able hous­ing.

The Dun­beg Cor­ri­dor Strate­gic Mas­ter­plan is part of the coun­cil’s Lo­cal De­vel­op­ment Plan, which out­lines ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture pro­pos­als for Ar­gyll and Bute for the next five years.

Fer­gus Mur­ray, the coun­cil’s head of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said: ‘It is of vi­tal im­por­tance in de­liv­er­ing much-needed hous­ing to this area. The boost in the num­ber of af­ford­able homes will make a real dif­fer­ence to the lives of many lo­cal res­i­dents.

‘ We have lis­tened to the views of peo­ple liv­ing in the area on these pro­pos­als and taken their com­ments on board. The coun­cil is com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to do so as plans progress. We are com­mit­ted to grow­ing our econ­omy and at­tract­ing peo­ple to live and work here.’

In Fe­bru­ary, an­gry Dun­beg res­i­dents voiced their de­ter­mi­na­tion to op­pose any new houses un­til there was a new round­about and school, cou­pled with bet­ter roads. The coun­cil said it has en­gaged in ‘ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion’.

Coun­cil plan­ning of­fi­cer David Moore told the meet­ing: ‘Phase one will be 300 houses ac­cessed off Kirk Road. Kirk Road needs to be widened and up­graded. There is a feeling the road is not fit for pur­pose.’ Phases two and three, he added, would be an ac­cess round­about on the A85 and the hous­ing de­vel­op­ment at Gana­van.

Coun­cil­lors voiced res­i­dents’ calls for a new pri­mary school to cope with the in­crease in pop­u­la­tion. Mr Moore re­sponded: ‘The education de­part­ment are sat­is­fied they can ac­com­mo­date the pri­mary chil­dren [for the 300 houses]. We have a pro­found com­mit­ment there will not be an is­sue for child spa­ces as the de­vel­op­ment pro­gresses.’

The ca­pac­ity for Dun­beg Pri­mary School is 141, and the cur­rent roll is 78, ac­cord­ing to coun­cil fig­ures.

A spokesper­son said: ‘In the short term, the mod­est level of pop­u­la­tion growth in the Dun­beg catch­ment area will be ad­dressed by en­sur­ing there is pro­vi­sion in the ex­ist­ing pri­mary school. This will be mon­i­tored and con­sid­er­a­tion will be given to any iden­ti­fied re­quire­ment to in­crease the cur­rent school ca­pac­ity.’

The coun­cil added that funding for the new homes and as­so­ci­ated works such as road im­prove­ments will be sought from the Scottish Gov­ern­ment’s Hous­ing In­fra­struc­ture Fund.

‘The de­vel­op­ment will be sup­ported by in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing to roads and education.

‘Re­tail and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment is also pro­posed for sub­se­quent phases of work, but in the mean­time safe and con­ve­nient path­ways will be cre­ated to link the 300 new homes with the ex­ist­ing shops in Dun­beg.

‘The Kirk Road im­prove­ments will be a boost to the Euro­pean Ma­rine Sci­ence Park at Dun­staffnage, which was opened in 2014 by High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise.

‘All works are sub­ject to plan­ning per­mis­sion, and pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted to the coun­cil must meet the mas­ter­plan vi­sion.’

An artist’s im­pres­sion of how the new hous­ing might look and, in­set, a de­tailed map show­ing their lo­ca­tion.

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