Opinion: Martin Laing slams a woeful planning decision

The new oil depot will be very close to travellers’ homes at Ledaig.

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There is a modern verbal simile gaining traction that refers to ‘low-hanging fruit’. It suggests, of course, that something is easily picked off.
It is as appropriate a phrase as any other to apply to Argyll and Bute Council’s planning committee.
Fast on the back of the planning authority being described in last week’s Oban Times as ‘not fit for purpose’ by Connel Community Council comes another woeful decision.
The good people of Connel railed against the planning committee over its decision not to enforce its own rules in respect of housing being built too close to village resident Ann Colthart’s home.
Now the committee members have voted to allow the creation of an oil depot within yards of the travellers’ site near to Oban Airport.
As we report this week, fuel supplier Oilfast applied to build the oil depot, which will include four storage tanks, at the end of Oban Airport’s runway. Across the road are eight pitches in the Ledaig Travelling Persons’ Site, leased by Argyll Community Housing Association.
More than 20 objections were lodged, including one from Ardchattan Community Council, on various grounds, including the danger of
placing such large amounts of highly flammable fuel so close to homes and the threat to people’s safety posed by the oil tankers rumbling to and from the location. There were also representations made by a number of councillors and the area’s MP, Brendan O’Hara.
None of this washed with the planning committee.
Don’t be misled by the use of the term ‘travelling persons’ site’. It is not a temporary camping ground.
This is, in fact, a residential area. Families live here permanently, and their children have to use the tankers’ access road to get to and from school.
This is another poor decision and the people at Ledaig deserve better.

Our roads still have us in for a bumpy ride
There has been a fair amount of comment and debate on the state of Argyll and Bute roads after they were branded the worst in Scotland.
It is indisputable that there are some very poor road surfaces and there are many potholes.
Matter have been made worse as a result of the time of year: winter always takes a greater toll on our roads.
However, the council’s budget has been the victim of these days of austerity, along with other departments that have been forced to reduce spending as financial constraints tighten.
It looks like the bumpy ride is to be with us for some time to come.

Bradburys are a credit to the Oban area
It was a pleasure to meet Dee Bradbury at Stirling County’s game against Ayr on Saturday.
Dee, who is vice-president of the Scottish Rugby Union, was there to watch her son Fergus play for the home side. Along with his brother Magnus, a Scotland internationalist, who was also at the game, the Bradburys bring huge credit to Oban Lorne RFC.

What do you think?
Let me know by writing to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to mlaing@obantimes.co.uk.