‘Hands off’ Ganavan plan – caution urged

The Ganavan toilets and kayak shed.

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A new resolution has been agreed to stymie any future commercial development at Ganavan.

Oban Community Council voted to support the proposal tabled at a meeting by member Frank Roberts.

It draws on the original deeds from which the land was originally gifted to the town around the beginning of the last century by the Captain of Dunstaffnage Estate.

Dr Roberts said Oban Community Council had an obligation to honour those original wishes and to ensure any development there was properly ‘controlled and managed’.

He said: ‘What really concerns me is that if bits of land get leased or sold and people start to construct things on them what provision would be made for the ongoing maintenance of those?

‘There’s a perfect example in what’s known as the kayak shed which was built at the end of the toilets and just descended into being a mess, particularly last summer.’

The strict resolution agreed by the community council stated that ‘no part of the land should be sold or permanently leased to any person or body for commercial or other person’.

It adds that ‘no building or buildings should be erected thereon’.

The community council’s decision is to be circulated with Argyll and Bute Council officials – from the provost to the chief executive and local area councillors.

It will be seen as a ‘hands off’ statement in the bid to protect Ganavan from development.

Concerns have been raised about possible housing at the site as Argyll and Bute Council works up a development plan pencilling in where housing and business might go in future.

It was conceded that the community council resolution might not be legally enforceable but would serve as its ‘definitive position’ towards Ganavan.

It could also ensure that any proposed development would then require ‘full public scrutiny’ because of the stance adopted by the community council.

But it was not unanimously supported by all members.

Laura Corbe, who is also a board member of Adventure Oban, urged caution.

She suggested that before committing, further consultation was needed.

There was a range of public opinions about what type of commercial development might be acceptable at Ganavan, such as cafes, she said.

Ms Corbe said: ‘My objection is that OCC have no idea of the wishes of the people of Oban, and this does not seem to correspond with the limited comments on the Friends of Ganavan website from which they say they are taking their stance.’

Council convenor Marri Molloy said the community council served to represent the ‘voice of the people of Oban’.

She said: ‘We are not asking for any changes we are only asking the council (Argyll and Bute) to adhere to the wishes of the Captain of Dunstaffnage, that’s all.’

Member Duncan Martin said it would enshrine the original reasons why the land was gifted and would oblige Argyll and Bute Council to respect them.

It was agreed that Adventure Oban, which recently volunteered to step-in and reopen and clean the council toilets at Ganavan during winter, provide an update on its plans at the next meeting of the community council on April 26.