Keep lobbying councillors to save Ganavan

A drone captures the area Friends of Ganavan says is under threat of development. Photo by James Gray

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Friends of Ganavan are repeating calls for people to write to all 36 Argyll and Bute councillors asking them to remove the area’s green space from the latest local development plan.

According to the group, it has been made aware that some councillors have said they have not received enough feedback from the public on this matter.

Alison Chadwick from Friends of Ganavan took part in public question time at last week’s Oban, Lorn and Isles Area (OLI) Committee, asking about the councillors who had supported the local development plan in its present form.

She was told it had been ‘unanimously agreed’ as a ‘settled view’ at a full council meeting on September 26 2019 – as a statutory Scottish Government process – so it could go to consultation.

Councillor Roddy McCuish asked for it to be clarified that it was a unanimous decision only by councillors who were at the meeting – himself and councillors Mary-Jean Devon and Julie McKenzie were not.

‘I can’t understand how the council can approve it prior to consultation,’ he said.

A council officer explained it was ‘a complex procedure’ and said the point of having a settled view was so that people could make objections that would all then go to the Scottish Government reporter for examination.

‘That is the process we are in at the moment. Objections will be sent to the Scottish Government along with the council’s responses to those objections so a reporter can make any recommendations how that plan could be changed,’ said the officer.

The Local Development Plan Two (LDP2) is a document that will help guide planning decisions and the area’s growth for the future.

But Councillor McCuish added: ‘A complete settled view should have happened with the public.’

Councillor Elaine Robertson, chairing the OLI Area Committee meeting, said: ‘That would seem to have been a sensible move but we have to follow Scottish Government rules in this process.’

Ms Chadwick replied: ‘It seems a malfunction in the process that objections have to be raised after the settled view. It’s not a desirable way to put a major planning document forward for the future.’

Councillor Robertson asked the council officer to question Argyll and Bute officials and the Scottish Government about the process.

The area concerned is the land to the east of Ganavan’s car park surrounding and including the shinty pitch. The LDP2 identifies it as a potential development area for housing and tourism – but not the sandy beach.

The council received 143 representations against  it during a consultation.

The area could still be removed from the plan at a full council meeting in June although it would cause delays to the whole LDP2 process.

Otherwise, objections and the council’s settled view will eventually go to the Scottish Government’s reporter for examination and recommendations to be made before the plan is adopted.