U-turn wel­comed over A82 sum­mit

The Oban Times - - News -

LOCHABER MSP Kate Forbes has said com­mu­nity coun­cils in the north and south of Fort Wil­liam will be in­vited to next month’s A82 sum­mit.

Last Tues­day, May 23, there was out­cry from Lochaber com­mu­ni­ties fol­low­ing a let­ter from Trans­port Scot­land stat­ing CCs would not have a seat at the ta­ble in dis­cus­sions.

Fort Wil­liam and Ard­na­mur­chan coun­cil­lor An­drew Bax­ter raised con­cerns that com­mu­ni­ties would be ex­cluded from the meet­ing in Cri­an­larich on June 23.

With the 167-mile A82 cov­er­ing dif­fer­ent lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, or­gan­iser Trans­port Scot­land had said not every­body in­volved in the A82 could be in­vited.

How­ever, Ms Forbes has en­sured there will be rep­re­sen­ta­tion of com­mu­nity coun­cils after rais­ing the mat­ter per­son­ally with Trans­port Min­is­ter Humza Yousaf.

She said: ‘ To make tan­gi­ble progress, it’s clear that not ev­ery sin­gle per­son who lives or works on the A82 net­work can be in­vited to a meet­ing but I agree that there should be lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

‘I have rep­re­sented the views of com­mu­nity coun­cils and spo­ken to Humza Yousaf and to Trans­port Scot­land, who con­sid­ered my views.’ Mr Bax­ter told the Lochaber

Times: ‘The gov­ern­ment clearly saw a traf­fic jam ahead fol­low­ing its de­ci­sion to ex­clude com­mu­nity coun­cils from the A82 sum­mit and has now ex­e­cuted a speedy U-turn.

‘There was wide­spread dis­ap­point­ment and anger among com­mu­nity groups that they were be­ing prevented from hav­ing their say di­rect to the trans­port min­is­ter. I hope the gov­ern­ment gen­uinely lis­tens to lo­cal opin­ion.’

Iain Jen­ner, on be­half of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South Lochaber Com­mu­nity Coun­cils, said: ‘It is re­as­sur­ing that they [the gov­ern­ment] have em­braced the spirit of the Com­mu­nity Em­pow­er­ment Act, 2015, in be­ing in­clu­sive in this way.’

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