Letters to the editor 16.05.19

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Glencruitten Rise proposed housing development

It was with a degree of surprise and incredulity I read the editorial in The Oban Times (May 2) in regard to Argyll Community Housing Association’s community consultation held on April 15 regarding the affordable housing proposals at Glencruitten Rise, Oban.

Within the editorial, the sentence ‘Argyll Community Housing Association has not as yet provided enough information about its intentions, including the number of homes it hopes to build’ stands out.

If The Oban Times had bothered to turn up at the community consultation event held in Glencruitten Church Hall on April 15, an event by the way was advertised by them, they would have seen the following: a series of presentation boards covering the site layout, proposals for infrastructure and the approximate number of houses planned.

ACHA staff were in attendance throughout the consultation event which lasted four hours. They were there to answer any questions about the association, housing need and the timeline the association was working to.

It strikes me that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Parts of Argyll, Oban included, are haemorrhaging young people because we don’t have adequate, affordable housing for them to live in and bring up their families.

There is also the linked issue of the jobs well paid in construction that developments like this provide. A lot of focus in the related front page article raises concerns about the access road, footpaths and street lighting.

If The Oban Times had contacted ACHA on this particular issue following it being raised at the Oban Community Council meeting, we would have been happy to clarify that a road safety audit has been commissioned and shared with Argyll and Bute Council, and its recommendations will be included in any formal planning application submitted.

It is stating the obvious that it is not in ACHA’s interest to build homes without an adequate roads infrastructure and street lighting for our tenants, and, again, this will be part of any submission lodged with the local authority.

Alastair MacGregor,

Chief executive, Argyll Community Housing Association.

Climate change

Climate Change will impact us all sooner rather than later.  We must act now to create sustainable energy generation, transport and products.  For example, Sleeping Beauty, Rip Van Winkle, Dozy and the rest of the Holyrood fairytale castle have not woken up to Scotland’s energy needs.  Yes, much electricity is carbon free but we must double clean electricity production to replace oil and gas in our homes, cars and ships.

England imports clean nuclear energy from France, so why is Scotland not looking at importing hydro power from Norway?  Down south, Micro Hydro in the Clyde and Kelvin will help Glasgow and Dumbarton.  But here in Argyll Holyrood must act to install a second turbine hall at the Cruachan Power Station.  The plan for the next millennium is not good enough.  In addition, Argyll is a treasure trove of wildlife and the Council should be lobbying for a county-wide UN World Heritage Centre to conserve to combat our disappearing natural world.

Every one of us must get back to the three Rs of Reducing consumption and Reusing and Recycling products.  So it is china mugs instead of plastic coffee cups as our children’s future is in our hands.

Mike Foster, Green Party Candidate, 1992 General Election,
Pulpit Hill, Oban

Full investigation is needed into deer culling

The numbers of deer shot out of season and during the hours of darkness by the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) raises some serious questions that require answers (Iain Thornber’s Morvern Lines, The Oban Times, May 2).

The FCS stated in 2001 that by 2004 deer numbers would be at a manageable level in forestry and contract stalkers would be phased out.

Contract stalkers now number 100, while recently released figures of deer culled out of season and during the hours of darkness in 2017 to 2018 by the FCS stands at 37,115.

Is it any wonder deer are an ever-increasing problem in forestry today? It is not rocket science: anybody with a grain of common sense should know that deer are a woodland animal and, unless fenced, the establishment of unfenced forestry schemes is a recipe for disaster.

The majority of forestry schemes have no design features that are essential for deer control, and nor does the FCS employ adequate numbers of professional stalkers to deal with the current situation.

As it is illegal to use night-vision equipment to cull deer, questions must be raised as to how it is possible to cull such high numbers of deer on the national forest estate, as deer that survive being shot at in the beam of a spotlight become a highly intelligent animal, and once they associate danger with the noise and lights of a vehicle, will immediately take flight.

Many of today’s problems encountered in forestry have been caused by a lack of appropriate and effective long-term management. In other words, the symptoms of the problems have been addressed temporarily, as opposed to tackling the cause of the problem.

When contract stalkers themselves voice concerns of unachievable cull targets, and in some cases, concerns that deer are shot outwith the national forest estate (NFE) and included in cull returns, it indicates something is seriously wrong within the NFE and requires a full and thorough investigation.

Peter Fraser,
Catanellan, Crathie, Ballater.

Former merchant seaman seeks old colleagues

My name is Michael Gallagher and I am a former merchant seaman.

I sailed with Shaw Savill from 1970 to 1973 and then P&O from 1973 to 1983.

I will be coming to Oban on the ship Queen Victoria on Friday June 7. If anyone who sailed with me would like to meet for a drink, please email me at superscouse69@gmail.com.

Michael Gallagher,
St Helens, Merseyside.