Consultation under way over major housing development at Glencruitten Rise

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A consultation is  under way regarding a major housing development on Glencruitten Rise.

Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) has submitted a proposal of application notice to develop on the 2.32 hectares of ground.

But residents have concerns, in particular the ‘unfit’ road to the site.

And one resident said it was ‘houses for sale’ time if work on a development road gets under way.

The site is described as ‘potentially challenging and complex’ and will require improvements to the road. Currently, it is accessed from an unclassified public road.

The potential development was raised at the Oban Community Council meeting on Monday.

Speaking at the meeting, a member of the public said: ‘What I want to know is how this has come about. Oban is gridlocked as it is.’ He feared that if the first phase of houses and a development road were approved, it would lead to further phases of housing.

The number of homes that could be built, as well as the traffic, were also raised. However, there are no details regarding how many homes would be built.

Another member of the public said: ‘If it were the only option for Oban, we would say fair enough. But we have the [Dunbeg] corridor on the main road.’

Community councillor Neil MacIntyre said: ‘We all know that road is not fit. We have a development up at Glencruitten, which we can’t get to. It is crazy.’

Mr MacIntyre said any project should be included in the structural development plan yet to be published.

Councillor Roddy McCuish, who is on the board of ACHA, said: ‘The only information I have is they are looking to try to put some houses up there and it is at the consultation stage. It would need an awful lot of infrastructure work.’

He added: ‘Funding is not in place and we are a long way from it.’ But he offered to facilitate a meeting between residents, the community council and ACHA.

There was discussion of the association applying to the Scottish Government’s Housing and Infrastructure Grant to fund a development road, similar to the one at Kirk Road in Dunbeg.

However, Councillor Kieron Green said the road to Glencruitten Rise is about five times longer than Kirk Road and would cost around £10 million.  He said the fund consists of a £15 million Scotland-wide pot and the chances of getting £10 million were ‘slim’.

Councillor Elaine Robertson said: ‘We have a real issue with any future developments to the south of Oban because of the infrastructure. We are well aware of the congestion there is coming from that part of town and that is why we are looking to the north to develop.’

Councillor Mary-Jean Devon suggested residents form a committee as soon as possible.

Oban Community Council chairwoman, Marri Malloy said: ‘We will support them if they want to start a group and the community council will definitely come on board.’

Alastair MacGregor, chief executive of ACHA, said: ‘With over 600 applicants currently on the list, new homes are needed in the town.’

However, Mr MacGregor said it wasn’t in ACHA’s interest to have inadequate access. He added: ‘We would wish to ensure any development has adequate access arrangements and we will work closely with the local authority planning department.’