At random with Martin Laing 01.08.19

Pic by Michael Scott/Caters News - (PICTURED: Travelodge, Dudley Town Centre.)

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Welcome development

So Travelodge, the budget hotel chain, still wants to open one in Oban as part of its £165 million expansion into seaside and coastal towns.

The company has apparently written to Argyll and Bute Council asking for local authority-owned surplus land to build on and to see if it can be part of a regeneration programme.

What a splendid idea.

Some people will doubtless get their smalls in a twist at the thought of gifting the company a piece of land but I disagree. If the council has surplus land that no one wants and the council cannot afford to develop, why not let Travelodge do it instead?

The hotel chain says the Oban venture would create 25 new jobs and represent an investment of £6 million. That represents a sizeable investment by the firm and provides an economic boost to the town’s hospitality sector.

Would such a move set an unfortunate precedent? Possibly, but I would argue that the benefits outweigh the downside.

A friend who is a hotel manager tells me that occupancy rates are excellent and accommodation can actually be difficult to secure, particularly during the holiday season but also outwith the tourism busy periods.

I think it is an excellent idea.

Still a problem

I have mentioned in this space on a number of occasions the unpleasant discharge across the pavement on George Street.

This leak comes from the door of Spice World, between the New Look and Superdrug shops.

I bring this up yet again because I have been approached by a number of people who have raised their concerns about it with me personally.

People are worried about what the discharge may contain and have expressed very vociferously to me their frustration that nothing has been done.

Why, I have been asked, has Argyll and Bute Council not issued an enforcement notice on the building’s owner to have the problem resolved?

Come on, councillors, do something to sort this out.

What do you think?

Write to me at mlaing@obantimes.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB, or call 01631 568021.