Letters to the Editor – 13.5.21

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Mobile Tourists

As an Oban resident and a motorhome owner I am dismayed by the negative and short-sighted attitude of the local Community Council, and some residents, towards this very much needed injection of tourism to the local economy which our town’s businesses are in desperate need of.

The motor-homing community has grown by more than 500 per cent over the last 12 months and yet some appear to be doing everything possible to discourage them from visiting our lovely town.

While most do use campsites, many prefer to go ‘off-grid’ from time to time and are more than happy to pay for the privilege. Having invested in the vehicle I am not, as has been suggested, looking for a free holiday. Quite the opposite, I want to tour around my home country and visit places I have never been before. Many of ‘these people’, as we’ve been described, will unsurprisingly want to come to Oban – only to find they’re not welcome.

It has been said we should use the campsites, which we do, but not only are many fully booked, the whole point is that as we are self-sufficient we don’t need to. To suggest that we can use a corner of what is in effect a supermarket car park in the centre of town is entirely missing the point.

Most vehicles are completely self-sufficient for at least a couple of nights and just want somewhere scenic to park up, without feeling ostracised by the local community. Indeed, many other areas of Argyll have made massive advances in their infrastructure in order to welcome us. To have water and waste facilities would be beneficial of course, but not essential.

While I appreciate that, as can always happen, a small minority have caused some issues, the vast majority are well behaved, quiet living and especially after the last 12 months, just want to have a holiday, eat out, spend their holiday cash and enjoy a much longed for break.

I understand Ganavan, in particular, is a popular place for locals and holiday makers alike – I take my dogs walking there often – but to put up barriers and height restrictions as I believe has now been agreed is sending out the completely wrong message. All year round I have taken my motorhome to Ganavan, just to sit and enjoy the view like many others but I am now being refused access to park up for the afternoon like everyone else!

Rather than building barriers we should be doing everything possible to welcome ALL visitors to our town. Would it not make much more sense to allocate, as many other places have done, a limited number of larger parking bays for both daytime and chargeable overnight stays that could be easily managed. Are we now being selective in which kind of tourist is welcome in Oban? I would never have believed that those in so called power would fail to provide facilities for holiday makers and indeed virtually refuse access to an ever growing and vital source of income for the town.

Oban is a ‘holiday’ coastal town, Gateway to the Isles, and until now I thought was one of the most friendly, welcoming places I had ever known. But I am very much afraid that this NIMBY attitude will do nothing but harm businesses, all of whom so badly need a good season.
Bearing in mind that there will little or no foreign visitors this year, an amazing opportunity is there for the taking and with a bit of planning and co-operation all could benefit.
Name and address supplied.

Thank you

I would like to thank everybody who voted for me at the Scottish Election and the many people who helped my campaign.

I congratulate Jenny Minto on her election and wish her well in her job of representing the people of Argyll & Bute at Holyrood.
Alan Reid