Valley rallies against more Lonan Drive houses

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A hundred residents from Soroba and Morvern Hill packed an Oban hotel lounge on Thursday to voice their opposition to a plan to build up to 44 more homes on Lonan Drive.

Plans, submitted by applicants TSL Contractors Ltd, show a mix of 44 flats and semi-detached houses in 12 blocks, with ‘casual’ and ‘equipped’ play spaces, extending beyond the houses on Lonan Drive on land currently used for ‘informal recreation’.

Planning officers recommended Argyll and Bute Council approve the plan, and last month councillors agreed to hold a hearing, given the weight of objection. The council’s planning chief said it was one of the ‘most challenging’ sites left to develop, because most of Oban had already been turned into housing.

Forty two objections were lodged by local residents and Oban community councillors, who argued it was the ‘only green area’ within an area of high density housing, with an ‘already overloaded’ road network and a ‘too narrow’ entrance.

Now the objectors have unified into one group, unanimously calling for the open space to be kept for recreation. A spokesperson said: ‘The meeting agreed on the challenges of construction on the site including a very large knotweed infestation, a main water supply pipe and drainage issues which could flood near a railway line.

‘Some householders were worried that excavation for the development would lead to gardens in Nant Drive collapsing. Concern was also expressed about the water pressure in the area as well as the capacity of the local sewer system to cope with the proposed additional housing.

‘There was laughter at the developer’s report the additional housing would have acceptable impact on traffic in the local area where peak time congestion is extensive.’ Aspects, he argued, do not comply with the Local Development Plan.

TSL’s general manager John Forbes said: ‘As a long established local company employing more than 100 technical and professional staff, TSL Contractors are passionate about the long term success of Oban
and the surrounding area.

‘We are also acutely aware there is a severe shortage of affordable
housing in the area. This is proving to be a significant barrier to attracting workers to the town and in many cases is hampering efforts to recruit into teaching, health, hospitality and construction.

‘Developments such as the one proposed at Lonan Drive go some way to address these issues and will help sustain the long term economic future and prosperity of Oban.’