Oban set for £63,000 funding boost

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Oban could see a £63,000 package of improvements announced on Thursday with nearly £50,000 in support heading for Mull.

Both areas are set to divide a total of £111,000 between them in new funding from the Scottish Government to inject ‘economic stimulus’ into town centres.

A total sum of £444,000 has been awarded to Argyll and Bute Council to help Oban, Lorn and the Isles, Mid-Argyll Kintyre and the Isles, and Helensburgh and Lomond.

A meeting of the full council on Thursday morning is expected to see councillors give the go-ahead.

The cash will help unlock other funding so that projects already in the pipeline can get a much-needed boost.

The proposed projects for Oban are as follows:

£15,000 towards a £21,000 improved town centre wi-fi project

£21,000 towards £39,500 plans to improve shopfronts

£7,000 towards £13,000 environmental enhancements at McCaig’s Tower

£10,000 for new town signs

£10,000 for a waste disposal point for campervans

Under the signs project, the plan would be to get eight double-sided signs and one welcome sign at the gateway entrance, and at the North Pier pontoons.

A possible waste disposal point for motorhomes – a subject highly topical after camping issues at Ganavan – could also be allocated £10,000.

It would be a significant first step towards making the idea of a designated site in the town a reality.

The shopfront works project would see £28,000 awarded to Tobermory and property owners required to chip-in.

The final instalment of the Oban, Lorn and the Isles share of the funding would incorporate £20,000 towards the £315,000 flood gate plan for Tobermory.

A report to councillors said because of the need to have the funding allocated before the end of the financial year in 2021, the council planned to use it to support ‘already established’ programmes.

It also wanted to back projects where potential match funding is in place and there are staff/community resources in place to deliver.

Council executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: ‘Due to the immediate need to build resilience within the economy, the aim of the fund is to support construction activity within town centres.

‘A key constraint of the fund is therefore the tight timeline to physically deliver capital projects within the current financial year, or at the very least, agree a signed contract for the works or be started on site by April 1, 2021.

‘Projects have been chosen to support the viability of our town centres and where possible linked to either a town centre action plan that has often been taken forward through a making places initiative.

‘To achieve a range of capital projects that will make a meaningful difference there is a need to make quick decisions and link where possible to established programmes of work.’