Dunbeg urged to resist build
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.’