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Planning action to tackle Oban flooding problem
Flood hazard in downtown Oban will only get worse if planning applications are assessed using criteria for estimating rainfall run-off that were developed when weather was less extreme.
So, recent developments in Gleann Sheileach, both commercial and residential, have added significant areas of impermeable surface (roofs, roads, yards) and each probably falls within permitted maximum drainage outfall limits. But, these limits need reassessing for current and future patterns of rainfall.
Furthermore, whilst each development might comply individually, the cumulative effect of successive development should be assessed, since each inevitably adds run-off to the downstream channel, in this case, the Black Lynn, the capacity of which remains unaltered.
The planning department will claim it is constrained by criteria laid down by government. So, action needs to be taken nationally that both recognises climate is changing and ensures planners have to review applications in light of development that is already contributing run-off to the drainage system.
Ian Reid, by email.
Rescue plans for smelter
Quite rightly there was a great deal of coverage in the Lochaber Times (Thursday March 25) of the current concerns about the future of the Alvance Smelter in Fort William, since Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance hit trouble due to the collapse of its main financial backer.
This included current Labour candidate John Erskine urging Kate Forbes MSP and the Scottish Government to nationalise the facility.
What a shame that the Scottish Government didn’t do the best thing for the facility and its massive associated land holding back in 2016 and get behind the community buy-out proposal.
The first minister allowed herself to be schmoozed by Mr Gupta and swallowed his hollow promises of new jobs and community co-operation, and handed him millions of pounds in tax-payer support. When the jobs didn’t materialise and the promised community co-operation didn’t happen, the Scottish Government did absolutely nothing to hold Mr Gupta to account.
When are our political leaders going to grasp the fact that the people most invested in seeing a local business thrive are those that live in the community, not wealthy individuals who barely ever set foot in the country, let alone the neighbourhood?
The people motivated to ensure that any development is sustainable and sympathetic are those living nearby. The people most determined to support existing jobs and develop new jobs, are the people living in the community who see neighbours and family members in need of a good job and stable income.
The Scottish Government failed this community in 2016 – the best thing they can do now is apologise, and ensure that community ownership proposals succeed this time.
Joanne Matheson, Acharacle.
Campervan waste disposals should be installed soon
I agree with last week’s writer. Oban has been allocated money to create waste disposal and water services for campervans, we need to hurry up and get them fitted, so we can direct our tourists.
It’s highly likely that we will have so many tourists, we won’t have room to house them all. Oban is going to have more visitors in campervans than ever before. They are not going away, so we may as well cater for them and charge for waste services. These people will be spending money in our local businesses – pubs, shops and cafés, who have all been hit by lockdown and will have a very short season this year.
I’ve checked out the waste disposal facility at Tarbet and there is no smell. Pennyfuir might be a good spot for it. I wouldn’t want to sleep next to a graveyard but I would empty waste there.
There will be more campervans staying in campsites and the wild campers are often in Oban when campsites are full anyway. Many pubs that are outside towns offer campervans the option of staying in their car park as long as they eat at the pub – another way of increasing revenue.
From the recent photographs of litter around Oban, it seems that the problem of litter is not just the few, selfish campers but also locals. Perhaps, we could have some litter wardens or traffic wardens fine people for litter dropping.
I also think that campervan hire companies should give a list of basic rules for good behaviour.
Hopefully this way, tourists can enjoy Scotland and our local businesses can maximise the business they get from all of our visitors.
Maz Gordon, Oban.