Big Brother cameras bothering car park neighbours

One of the CCTV poles that have gone up in the new car park for Oban High School.

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People living near Big Brother-style CCTV cameras put up at Oban High School’s new car park are demanding they be removed.

Tenants in ACHA flats at Glenfoot Terrace were shocked when they looked out of their windows last week to see a tall pole, bearing three cameras looking right back at them.

One resident, who has contacted ACHA but asked not to be named, said: ‘It’s like being in Big Brother. No one told us about this. We don’t want them to stay. We need our privacy. We want them taken down immediately. We don’t want to be watched. It’s like being the unwilling star of a TV show. It’s intrusive.’

Bob Dow for Hub North Scotland, which is the developer for the new high school, its pitches and new car park, said: ‘The cameras will be a local authority matter. They would have been their call.’

Oban councillor Jim Lynch said: ‘CCTV cameras are there for safety reasons but ensuring people’s privacy is important. I’ve raised this matter with the roads and amenities department at the council and they are now aware of concerns.

‘The cameras are not activated yet and have assured me they will pixelate any areas beyond the car park. I appreciate it’s quite daunting to have cameras outside your windows.’

A planning application submitted for demolishing the old school and building the new one was previously sent to people living nearby. Although it lists new associated car parking there is no mention of any CCTV cameras.

ACHA chief executive Alastair MacGregor said: ‘ACHA has had no representation from our tenants in the vicinity of Oban High School regarding concerns with respect to camera installation. The Association understands that these cameras are being installed for the purpose of school security for the new school campus, to protect pupils and the buildings and not to survey neighbouring premises, including ACHA homes.  I am sure the school representatives would be happy to meet with any residents to discuss their concerns.’

An Argyll and Bute spokesperson said: ‘Steps have been taken to try and ensure, as far as possible, that the cameras views do not extend beyond the school boundaries. The cameras point downwards and rotation is restricted to avoid looking over private properties outwith the school. This setting cannot be overridden, ensuring the privacy of neighbours will always be maintained. In the event that they may capture a part of a private property, they are pixelated and blacked out to ensure there are no privacy issues.’