Soroba ‘snub’ angers residents

Marri Malloy says the lack of consultation from Scottish Water about works in Soroba is 'a disgrace.' Notices only went up days before major work was due to start.

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People living in Soroba are feeling like ‘snubbed second-rate citizens’ after notice to dig up roads on their estate was given just days before work was due to start.

Essential work scheduled to take six months – just for Phase 1 – and start this week as part of a £2.7million investment to renew and upgrade Scottish Water’s water network infrastructure in Oban, has now been put off until Monday November 16 after residents complained they were not consulted first.

The water provider said the need to improve pipework was identified earlier this year but the pandemic postponed it – until now.

Argyll and Bute Council says while utilities companies have the right to carry out works, either emergency or planned, it does advise them ‘to inform local residents of work that will be taking place.’

According to residents, notices only went up on the estate a few days before work was about to start in Colonsay Terrace and McCaig Road.

Parking on the roads will be banned while work is being carried out but residents say they have nowhere else to go.

Soroba man George Berry said the lack of consultation was a snub on the community, treating them like ‘second-rate citizens’.

Marri Malloy from Soroba Community Enterprise Limited and also chairperson of Oban Community Council said: ‘To spring this major work on the people of Soroba with just a few days notice is an absolute disgrace. Even if they are not obliged to tell us because it’s termed as essential, it’s only courtesy. This work will cause mayhem.

‘There are eight roads filtering into McCaig Road and there’s seven school buses to take into account, as well as building work that has just started at the bottom of the road to build two houses. It’s going to be a shambles. If, as the notices say, there is to be no parking of cars on the affected roads during the works where are residents supposed to leave their cars?’

And she added: ‘This is not the right time to start this work. We are in the middle of a pandemic. It’s not been thought through.’

After The Oban Times took residents’ concerns to Scottish Water, details of the work were outlined to us. The first phase of the work will replace 1.8km of pipework between Colonsay Terrace and the junction of McCaig Road and the A816. As it progresses, more investigation work will also take place in sections of Jura Road and Shuna Terrace.

Road traffic management has been agreed  with Argyll and Bute Council and temporary traffic lights will be in place, says Scottish Water.

Although access to properties will be maintained, parking within the work areas will be restricted during that time.

Georgina Reid, Scottish Water’s corporate affairs regional manager, said the essential improvements were needed to reduce the chance of water bursts and to ensure ‘fresh, great tasting drinking water’.

‘We’d like to thank the local community and road users in advance for their patience and understanding while this essential work is carried out.

‘More information on phase two of the project will be released when it is possible to do so,’ she added.