Sup­port grows

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID MCPHEE dm­cphee@oban­

AL­MOST 400 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion ask­ing Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil to find an engi­neer­ing firm a new yard, af­ter it was evicted.

AL­MOST 400 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion ask­ing Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil to find an engi­neer­ing firm a new yard, af­ter it was evicted from its North Con­nel premises.

Sara Stephen­son started the cam­paign af­ter PMG Ser­vices was told that it would have un­til Septem­ber to find a new site.

The coun­cil is­sued the busi­ness with a ‘ plan­ning en­force­ment no­tice to va­cate the premises’ ear­lier this year, fol­low­ing a num­ber of com­plaints, af­ter the busi­ness was es­tab­lished in 2010 with­out the re­quired plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Ms Stephen­son, who lives in Aus­tralia with her boyfriend, said: ‘ My part­ner has worked with PMG since early on. He served his ap­pren­tice­ship with them, and has worked with them since. They have also kindly kept his job open for when we ar­rive home.

‘The coun­cil go on about want­ing to keep young peo­ple in the area, and the ma­jor­ity of those who work for PMG are young.’

PMG Ser­vices em­ployed eight mem­bers of staff, two of whom were ap­pren­tices.

‘It would be aw­ful for these skilled young guys to lose their jobs,’ Ms Stephen­son added. ‘Es­pe­cially in an area where sim­i­lar jobs are few and far be­tween.

‘The coun­cil would be mak­ing a huge mis­take not help­ing PMG out as it’s a grow­ing busi­ness and there­fore plays a vi­tal part in the lo­cal econ­omy.

‘The pe­ti­tion gained a good amount of sup­port the first week, sit­ting at about 400 sup­port­ers just now, but I would love to get to 500.

‘I’d like to see the coun­cil putting in a real ef­fort to find a so­lu­tion, ei­ther by find­ing PMG new premises or al­low­ing them more time in their cur­rent premises.

‘It would be a great shame to see this, young, suc­cess­ful busi­ness have to close its doors due to Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil be­ing un­able to as­sist.’

Peter MacGre­gor, who owns the com­pany, said that noth­ing has changed, and he is no closer to find­ing an al­ter­na­tive site. He was orig­i­nally told that there would be place for him in Oban air­port, but this fell through.

‘They [the coun­cil] have left me with three months to move some­where and there are no other sites,’ he said.

Ar­gyll and Bute MP Bren­dan O’Hara said: ‘I pledged to put the eco­nomic re­gen­er­a­tion of Ar­gyll and Bute first and fore­most prior to the gen­eral elec­tion and that re­mains my com­mit­ment.

‘I will do ev­ery­thing I can to as­sist our lo­cal busi­nesses to thrive, par­tic­u­larly in these tur­bu­lent times. I am very keen that all stake­hold­ers have open di­a­logue and I re­main cer­tain a so­lu­tion can be found for PMG.’

An Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil spokesman added: ‘We have been in dis­cus­sions with the owner of the busi­ness and con­tinue to of­fer ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port and as­sis­tance.’

Peter MacGre­gor, right, with some mem­bers of staff at the yard in North Con­nel.

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