Noisy Oban generators send visitors home

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A ‘persistent’ noise from a bank of generators on Oban’s North Pier has forced one couple visiting to cut short their stay and has led to complaints from hotel guests.

But an Argyll and Bute Council official told the visitors there had not been any other complaints regarding the generators, which are providing power to the recently opened pontoons off the North Pier.

Sandra and Brian Whitnell, from Peebles, near Edinburgh, were last week on their third visit in the past 12 months to Oban, staying in a self-catering apartment in former The Oban Times building on the Esplanade.

Sandra said: ‘It is such a peaceful place to come normally. We didn’t notice with the TV on but, when we went to bed, we went for a search around the apartment to find the fan making this terrible noise. Then we realised it was coming from outside and where it was coming from.’

‘It is so loud that it is uncomfortable to be next to it during the day but at night if you are within 100 yards you get this humming,’ said Brian. ‘It sounded like we had left the bathroom fan on.’

The couple complained at Argyll and Bute Council’s customer service point in Oban but felt the implication was that they were being ‘fussy’.

Brian said: ‘We were disappointed with the reaction of the chap in the council. At the customer information point, they got the guy from environmental health to talk to us and he kept saying no-one else has complained.’

Undeterred, they filled in the council’s online complaints form and visited neighbouring hotels to ask if there had been any complaints about noise.

‘When we spoke to two hotel owners/managers, they said they have had lots of complaints from their customers,’ said Sandra.

The manager of one hotel opposite the generators confirmed he had spoken to the Whitnells and said he had also complained a month ago about the noise. ‘I have mentioned it to the council and was told that it was waiting for the building next door to the Regent Hotel to be constructed – something to do with the electricity box next to the generators,’ he said.

He said guests had complained about the noise, which, with the town now quietening down from the summer, was becoming more noticeable.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘The generators are temporarily providing power to the North Pier pontoons and visiting boats until Scottish and Southern Energy can connect the facility to the mains.’

The spokesman did not indicate when they were likely to be removed.

The Whitnells told The Oban Times on Tuesday they would be cutting short their fortnight’s stay to return home ‘to get a good night’s sleep’.