Surprise, surprise … electoral upset
SO, THE dust has settled on the local election held last Thursday.
The biggest surprise was that people were surprised at some of the individuals elected to serve on Argyll and Bute Council.
The poll contrived to produce some unexpected successes, particularly Andrew Vennard, for the Scottish Conservatives in ward five, Oban North and Lorn. Mr Vennard managed to see off the challenge of the SNP’s Breege Smyth, who many pundits predicted would be elected,
But if plebiscites of recent times have proved anything, it is to expect the unexpected (think Brexit and the US presidential election of last year).
The make up of the local authority now looks to be intriguing with a finely balanced political composition.
The SNP has the biggest party representation, with 11 elected members, but is closely followed by the Conservatives on nine. However, there is a very healthy cadre of independent councillors – 10 of them – and half a dozen Lib Dems, so the major parties may find it difficult to pass policies.
There is a point of view – to which I would subscribe – which holds that councils should not be run along party political lines. That said, it is wishful thinking to hope for anything else.
What is most important is that our councillors – old and new – realise that they are elected to represent the interests of local people – not their party bosses in the cities.
We will hold them to account for their actions.
Village deserves safer crossing
ROADS are a hot topic these days, with much emphasis on safety – or the lack of it.
We at The Oban Times have been campaigning hard for measures to be taken to reduce the accident rate on the A85 between Oban and Connel.
Now, as we reported last week and again this week, parents of children at Lochnell primary are genuinely fearing for their wee ones’ safety in accessing the school from the car park across the busy A828.
I drive up through Benderloch on a regular basis and can testify to how busy the road can be, particularly at peak times.
As one parent –D J Barr – told us, there are around 160 child traverses of the road every day. And other parents have spoken to us about the ‘nightmares’ they have regarding their children’s safety.
I certainly would not want my children to have to cross this trunk road twice a day.
BEAR Scotland, which manages and maintains the road, has said it considers the current crossing arrangements to be appropriate. No, they are not. The good folk of Benderloch want a pelican (traffic lights) crossing. How hard can that be to install?
It would be tragic if it takes a serious accident to get BEAR Scotland to act.
What is the truth about Dunbeg?
WE WERE assured by the council last week that there is plenty of capacity for additional pupils at Dunbeg Primary School, given the prospect of as many as 600 new houses being built in the area.
However, we now learn that the council’s figures have been called into question. The council says the school capacity is 141 with a current roll of 78. Our source says the capacity is, in fact, 116 and the current roll is 90, and expected to rise in August to 98.
Is someone in the council lying to push through the planning application?
What do you think?
Do you have something you want to share? Let me know by writing to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The inadequate crossing at Lochnell Primary School