At random with Martin Laing 13.02.20

David Graham gets ready for retirement after 50 years at the family's Combie Street shop.

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Business opportunities

I have been sorry to see that a number of businesses in the centre of Oban are going to the wall.

In Argyll Street, Abbies Cafe has apparently closed, as did the cafe across the road which was at one time home to Hope Kitchen and most recently was the SNP base for the general election.

Then there is the Fonehouse in Argyll Square which is to shut, as is the long-standing David Graham Cycles in Combie Street, where the eponymous owner has said he wants to retire after an amazing 50 years.

All these businesses have had varying longevity, but have been very welcome additions to the town’s retail offering. The winter, though, can be harsh in more ways than just the weather.

However, to try to stay positive, these are centrally located premises that could be ideal for new ventures driven by fresh thinking.

I am sure BID4Oban will be on the case and working to market the premises. I genuinely hope that new businesses can be found quickly to move in to keep the town’s retail sector bustling.

Dark forces at work

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

I’ve written twice previously here about the faulty lighting in Lochside Street and Market Street in Oban, where pedestrians have to negotiate the uneven pavements in deep darkness.

I first raised this in November and returned to the subject late last month having reported it to Argyll and Bute Council weeks ago.

Then on Wednesday last week – February 5, 2020 – an automatic email dropped in my inbox from the council, saying: ‘Thank you for contacting the council about Lighting Fault reference: 191210-000739. Our inspector has programmed a repair to be carried out with a target completion date of 25/12/2019.’

By any reading of it, that would have been Christmas Day last year. But, no, at the time of writing the repairs have still not been carried out.

What do you think?

Write to me at or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB, or call 01631 568021.