Friends’ photograph plea to protect Ganavan

Ganavan, a popular destination for leisure and recreation seekers

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Campaigners protecting one of Oban’s last open spaces need your photographs and stories to help safeguard it.

Friends of Ganavan want to hear from runners, walkers, cyclists, swimmers and anyone else who uses the area to enjoy, exercise and relax – whatever the leisure or recreation.

The group hopes more people wanting to preserve the area for the sake of the community’s health and wellbeing as well as other economic benefits will get in touch and join them as they continue to round-up information about what potential changes in the latest Local Development Plan could have in store.

Gathering this information will help build up a strong line of defence against losing the beach-side area extending beyond it.

The Friends of Ganavan want to find out what user groups and individuals are using it now and who could potentially benefit from it in the future.

The idea is to build up a catalogue of evidence in photographs, words and footage. People logging their activities on the Strava app will also be invaluable.

There will be a formal consultation with the community planned later by The Friends of Ganavan  but for now anyone who does use the area can get in touch by emailing mail@amcnab.co.uk, outlining how they use it and what it would mean to them to keep that use.

The latest Local Development Plan (LDP) setting out how Oban could develop over the next 10 years, has marked the area out on maps for change and that includes more houses going up.

Argyll and Bute council says nothing has been decided yet, the outcome after a LDP consultation that ended in January is still awaited, but the The Friends of Ganavan are worried.

Where any housing would be sited is one of the major concerns, as is the loss of one of the town’s last  green spaces at the back of the beach where shinty and football are just some of the current uses.

‘There’s a multiplicity of uses of Ganavan that should not be ignored. COVID-19 has changed everything, that area is doubly important now. It’s more vital than ever before that we have outside space.

‘We need to gather physical evidence to prove how well used it is for recreation and leisure and what the wealth and value of that use is.

‘There are other areas where houses could be built on land that we know is available,’ said Friends of Ganavan member Alison Chadwick

There was resistance to the current houses being built near the beach more than a decade ago but the development went ahead regardless. Once the area had beach huts, an 18-hole golf course and pavilion.

‘Let’s try to pre-empt a potential mistake before it happens. We need to keep the community alert. Not everyone is aware what could happen here and how this valuable space could be taken from us,’ added Alison.