Oil de­pot near trav­ellers’ site rec­om­mended for ap­proval

De­vel­op­ment: Res­i­dents claim they have been dis­crim­i­nated against

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News - BY RITA CAMP­BELL

Con­tro­ver­sial plans to put an oil de­pot next to an Ar­gyll trav­ellers’ site have been rec­om­mended for ap­proval.

Res­i­dents of the Ledaig Trav­el­ling Per­sons Site next to Oban Air­port claim they have been dis­crim­i­nated against and have not been af­forded the same re­spect as peo­ple liv­ing in con­ven­tional homes.

On Wed­nes­day Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee will con­sider an ap­pli­ca­tion by Oil fast Ltd for two por­ta­ble build­ings, four tanks and fenc­ing in the yard at Oban Air­port.

The site, a for­mer coun­cil roads de­pot, is right next to the homes of the trav­el­ling peo­ple. It is also on the path of the Oban to Fort Wil­liam cy­cle route.

Bren­dan O’Hara MP has ob­jected to the pro­posal, as have three lo­cal coun­cil­lors and 20 in­di­vid­u­als.

The main con­cerns of ob­jec­tors in­clude the threat of tankers to pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists, noise pol­lu­tion and fears about flammable fu­els be­ing stored close to car­a­vans.

Coun­cil­lor Julie McKen­zie said: “I’m in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed that the coun­cil’s plan­ning depart­ment have con­tin­ued to push for­ward with this ill-con­ceived pro­posal. It ap­pears that they have lit­tle re­gard for this vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­nity or for pub­lic opin­ion. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has leg­is­lated to pro­tect Gypsy Trav­ellers from dis­crim­i­na­tion but wor­ry­ingly this does not seem to have been taken into ac­count by the plan­ners at ev­ery stage of the process so far.

“While I’m sup­port­ive of any ap­pli­ca­tion lo­cally that seeks to en­hance eco­nomic growth, this sim­ply can­not be done to the detri­ment and safety of the peo­ple who live in close prox­im­ity.”

In a re­port be­fore the com­mit­tee, plan­ning of­fi­cer Les­ley Cuth­bert­son writes: “The use of the site for Class 6 – Stor­age and dis­tri­bu­tion pur­poses has been es­tab­lished with its pre­vi­ous and most re­cent use as a roads de­pot stor­age and dis­tri­bu­tion site and does not re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion.

“The de­ter­min­ing is­sues for this ap­pli­ca­tion solely re­late to sit­ing, lay­out and de­sign is­sues. It is not con­sid­ered that the ap­pli­ca­tion raises com­plex or tech­ni­cal is­sues and as the ma­jor­ity of the rep­re­sen­ta­tions re­late to the use which is not con­sid­ered in this ap­pli­ca­tion.”

The trav­el­ling peo­ple who have ob­jected to the ap­pli­ca­tion say they have been dis­crim­i­nated as they were not con­sulted.

Coun­cil plan­ners say in the re­port that the res­i­dents were no­ti­fied and given ex­tra time to com­ment on the pro­pos­als.

Stephen An­der­son, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Oil­fast, said it is not un­com­mon to have a de­pot near res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

“This can­not be done to the detri­ment of the peo­ple”

DIS­AP­POINTED: Coun­cil­lor Julie McKen­zie at the site where the oil de­pot could be built. The trav­ellers liv­ing near the land have ob­jected to the plans

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