Business leaders call for quick fix to RBT crisis

Landslides continue to affect the A83 route at the Rest and Be Thankful. Photo: BEAR Scotland

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Business leaders have joined forces and are demanding the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity commits to delivering a quick and permanent solution for the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83.

The Rest and Be Thankful Campaign was launched last week by Inverneill resident John Gurr and a number of business leaders from across the region and beyond including Colin Craig, West Coast Motors; Peter McKerral, Peter McKerral and Co Ltd; Matthew Mundell, B Mundell Hauliers; Duncan Macalister, Glenbarr Farms; Kenny MacLeod, MacLeod Construction; Andrew Spence, Bid4Oban; Keith Campbell, Argyll Holidays; Charles Black, Black of Dunoon, and Jane MacLeod, Secretary of Mid Argyll Chamber of Commerce.

The group behind the campaign welcomed Mike Russell MSP and Robin Currie, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council’s recent request to Michael Matheson to scrap the 10-year recovery plan and implement a timescale of two to five years. However, the group is asking for a completion date of May 2024.

Speaking after the launch, Mr Gurr said: ‘The lack of interest in seriously fixing this stretch of road by the Scottish Government is hugely disappointing and is having a direct impact on our communities, local economy and business opportunities now and in the future.

‘Through this group and The Rest and Be Thankful Campaign, we hope to have a stronger voice and collectively demand immediate action to the constant disruptions caused by landslides and slips at the Rest and Be Thankful.

‘This is a call to action for all businesses in Argyll, big or small. We need your support.’

Other demands from the local business leaders include ensuring the outcome of the current Transport Scotland RABT review delivers a permanent solution along the Glen Croe route and a temporary solution in place by no later than May 2021.

Colin Craig, managing director at West Coast Motors, said: ‘The Rest and Be Thankful is a key transport artery which provides vital links to communities across Argyll and Bute whilst connecting the area to the rest of mainland Scotland. A 10-year plan to fix a mile of road is ludicrous and dangerous.’

Andrew Spence, chief executive at BID4Oban, added: ‘While Argyll may have a small population, it is responsible for a significant part of Scotland’s output of tourism, forestry, farming, fishing and whisky.

‘For local businesses to survive they need good connections, both in road and digital. For most of Argyll they have neither which makes it harder for businesses, even more so with the added pressures of Covid-19. Delays in delivering a permanent solution for the Rest and Be Thankful will isolate the area and make it less attractive for visitors and potential business opportunities.’

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