Dun­beg urged to re­sist build

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

DUN­BEG res­i­dents are be­ing urged to rise up in peace­ful protest to stop any of the mas­ter­plan’s 600 houses be­ing built be­fore Kirk Road is up­graded.

Trust seems to have bro­ken down be­tween vil­lagers and Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, which held a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion event at Dun­beg Pri­mary School last Thurs­day to ex­plain its de­signs to up­grade the busy, sin­gle-lane, un­lit road run­ning from the 1,000-pop­u­la­tion vil­lage to new homes at Marine Court, of­fices at SAMS and the Euro­pean Marine Science Park, and Dun­staffnage Cas­tle.

In April, coun­cil­lors ap­proved the Dun­beg Cor­ri­dor Mas­ter­plan en­vis­ag­ing 605 houses and shops on va­cant land north of the A85 be­tween Dun­beg and Gana­van, with Link and West High­land Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tions al­ready com­plet­ing the first 75 homes.

But res­i­dents ar­gue that Dun­beg’s in­fra­struc­ture can­not cope with any more houses, un­less Kirk Road is up­graded, the near-ca­pac­ity pri­mary school is ex­panded and a round­about re­places the junc­tion on the A85.

Last Thurs­day, the coun­cil’s in­fra­struc­ture de­sign­ers ex­plained their plans to widen Kirk Road into a two-lane route for 550m from the Lorn Road junc­tion to Marine Court, with street­lights, a cy­cle- and foot-way, a ‘yet-tobe-fi­nalised’ 20mph limit, and five pairs of ‘speed cush­ions’ to re­place ‘trou­ble­some’ chi­canes. Ex­tend­ing the up­grade beyond Marine Court would form a sec­ond, sep­a­rate pro­ject, they said.

De­sign tech­ni­cian Nigel But­ton ex­plained there were three hoops the coun­cil had to jump through – first, the de­sign, then a ten­der process to get a price, and then a fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment. He said: ‘It is quite com­plex. It is all about fund­ing. It may hap­pen.’

Fer­gus Mur­ray, the coun­cil’s head of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic trans­porta­tion, said: ‘We are try­ing. We are want­ing to take for­ward the first stage of this mas­ter­plan to up­grade this road. There is a small num­ber of houses that could be built with­out im­prove­ments but we are close to that num­ber. We have de­signed it past the junc­tion of the houses. With that, we can take for­ward the limit of houses.’

Once that limit is reached, he added, the round­about will in­crease the limit of houses again, adding: ‘This is the only way we can im­prove Kirk Road to the stan­dard that the com­mu­nity want to see. We hope to get the ap­pli­ca­tion in soon, but we hope they will make a de­ci­sion over the sum­mer. It is in the hands of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.’

Lorn Arc pro­ject man­ager David Gunn said that if successful, work could be­gin on Kirk Road this win­ter, but the round­about it still far off. He said: ‘Trans­port Scot­land’s opin­ion is the present junc­tion is fine as it is, and that is what we are pro­ceed­ing with.’

One ‘fed up’ res­i­dent, Don­ald Clark, said: ‘We were told be­fore the last set of houses there would be a big­ger road, then they built the houses. We have been lied to and lied to. I do not be­lieve any­thing they say. It is chaos.’

He urged res­i­dents to join him in a non-vi­o­lent protest to stop lor­ries trav­el­ling down Kirk Road to ser­vice the build­ing of more houses un­til it is widened.

A Dun­beg Pri­mary par­ent said: ‘It is un­be­liev­able that they are not putting in a round­about. Does it have to take a fa­tal­ity be­fore they change their minds?’

Com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor Bill Har­vey, a for­mer chair­man, said: ‘This is just a joke. What we are scared of is peo­ple dy­ing. We can­not go on like this.

‘You get four buses in the morn­ing go­ing out there, you get peo­ple com­ing into work, into school, and you get the same in the evening, and you get cars do­ing 60mph go­ing down that stretch [of A85] with­out a round­about. There will be peo­ple killed.

‘There are lots of an­gry peo­ple in the vil­lage. The coun­cil are not lis­ten­ing. If they are say­ing Trans­port Scot­land have passed it, then we need to go to the min­is­ter and the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.’

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