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Tensions are rising over the next ‘boomtown’ phase at Dunbeg.
Ganavan residents worried about new housing encroaching on recreational land near the beach and its sacred shinty pitch, made up a majority of people turning out to the ‘have your say’ event at Dunbeg Primary School last week.
An image of the area’s masterplan had appeared on Facebook heightening concerns that the area was earmarked for more houses with a link road leading to it.
But representatives from Link Group developers insisted they were no plans for that as part of the Phase 4 stage that the session was focusing on..
One woman said: ‘It’s the area at the back of the beach we are worried about. It’s already been spoiled by the existing development of new builds at Ganavan. I feel reassured at the moment there’s no immediate plan to build more houses on the open land but it needs keeping an eye on.’
Others were worried the Dunollie road to Ganavan would become a rat run to new homes at Dunbeg if another phase of housing went up at the back of the beach.
‘The Dunollie road’s not fit for purpose as it is. It’s already dangerous and an accident waiting to happen,’ said another woman.
She added: ‘People wouldn’t go all the way from Oban round and out to Dunbeg to get to the new houses if there was a link road from Ganavan.’
An alleged rise in people seeking transfers out of Dunbeg since building work began was also highlighted by some at the session. People are worried residents would be living ‘on top of each other’ and that clumping low-earning occupants all together could create anti-social problems.
A mix of high-end and affordable homes would be preferable, rather than segregating them and risking creating a ghetto, some said.
A lack of green space, which is good for mental health, was also brought up. Wildlife was also on the worry list, with populations of birds, insects and other animals diminishing since building work began, some claimed. However, as part of the development’s planning approval there is a condition there has to be an area of community woodland. Links says it will also be carrying out a range of ecology studies.
After the meeting, Link said it and its subsidiary West Highland Housing Association had been working closely with the council and was not aware people were seeking transfers out of Dunbeg, ‘in fact more positive feedback has been given around the new homes for rent and for sale which suggests an incredibly high demand already exists,’ said a spokesperson.
There will be another chance for people to have their say and look at new designs on December 5 from 4.15pm and 8pm at Dunbeg Primary School, before plans are put to Argyll and Bute Council.
Listed under prospective mixed use are shops and services, a hotel, pub, takeaways, community facilities, a new primary school and a roundabout on the A85.
People turning up at Thursday’s meeting wanting to see where a school, shops and other services would go were stumped at not seeing locations marked out. But much of that could still be pie in the sky unless funding and investment is secured.
‘The next event on December 5 will seek to have further engagement on the community’s priorities and how they wish to see this taken forward – we will be looking at jointly working up what amenities are required and where they may be best located. The event will be supported by the members of the design team who will engage in more detail to further discuss placemaking within the Dunbeg community.
‘We are in ongoing discussions with the Council on potential funding solutions while the affordable housing element is already contained in the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan.’
Planning applications will be submitted for Phase 4 in early 2020 with building starting in 2021.