At Ran­dom

The Oban Times - - Districts - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­

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 mlaing@oban­

The in­ad­e­quate cross­ing at Lochnell Pri­mary School

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