Oban Community Council objects to Lonan Drive development

Last year, residents gathered to oppose plans to develop Lonan Drive

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The campaign to stop 46 houses being built in Lonan Drive received a boost on Monday when Oban Community Council (OCC) voted to object to the plans.

The community council joins 60 objectors in opposing TSL Contractors Limited’s amended plans to develop the area.

The company withdrew plans last year after the council’s roads department recommended an application be refused owing to the proposed road being too narrow.

Dozens of residents attended the meeting on Monday seeking the community council’s backing.

While there was general support for social housing, people objected to it being built in Lonan Drive for a number of reasons.

They include: ruining green space, traffic congestion, impacting wildlife and protected plants, and flooding.

The area is due to be discussed within Argyll and Bute Council’s Local Development Plan 2, which will set out development proposals for the next 10 years, starting in 2020.

‘LDP2 was postponed from November until March,’ a resident said. ‘That conversation should be had before a decision is taken on this planning application.’

Another resident said: ‘It is the right type of housing in an inappropriate area.’

And another added: ‘There is always going to be a need for housing. If you do this correctly now, it will create a template to do it right in the future. It is not just about concrete, it is a balance between green and concrete.’

Councillor for Oban South and the Isles, Roddy McCuish, who sits on the planning committee, recommended that the community and the developers get together for a special meeting.

While some were happy for this to go ahead, one resident said: ‘People don’t want to compromise. People want the develop to stop. I don’t know how helpful that would be.’

Councillor Jim Lynch said he has personally objected to the plans.
He was ‘all for’ building more housing, but was concerned there wasn’t any material change to the road, which caused the last application to be withdrawn.

He added: ‘I think the infrastructure in Oban is different to what it was in the past. It is clogging up that end of the town.’

A member of the public said: ‘There are 300 houses being built out at Dunbeg. It looks as if that is likely to satisfy some of the demand.’

However, Councillor Kieron Green said: ‘The number of people on the housing list is more than 300. The last I heard it was getting on for 1,000 in the Oban area.’

OCC chairwoman and Lonan Drive resident Marri Malloy declared a conflict of interest, so  Duncan Martin chaired the vote and will lodge the official objection.

There was a request for him to ask that a year-long biodiversity assessment for the area be carried out.

Iain Lumsden, managing director of TSL Contractors, said: ‘We continue to work to satisfy the requirements of the local authority planning and their stakeholders in respect of our proposed development at Lonan Drive.

‘We also continue to discuss the benefits of our  proposals with a highly reputable housing association who provide affordable housing solutions supported by the Scottish Government.

‘Such opportunities to provide low cost affordable homes to sustain and support the Oban community, and in particular young families, in  such a central location within the town are unfortunately rare.

‘We would, as you would expect of a reputable and community-focused company, be happy to meet with the local community to present our proposals at an appropriate time.’