Oban faces warden wait

Argyll and Bute Council

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New wardens to tackle problems caused by staycationers across Argyll and Bute have yet to be recruited.

In February, Argyll and Bute Council announced plans for four additional new wardens and a staycation officer to join its ranks using Scottish Government funds.

Yet a meeting of Oban Community Council has now heard that no one is in post for the role covering Oban, Lorn and the Isles.

The aim was for the wardens to bolster the council’s existing wardens who cover 120 car parks across Scotland’s second largest local authority area.

They were supposed to tackle on-street parking problems and visit litter hotspots and work with police officers on enforcement.

Oban, Lorn and the Isles was allocated a warden to be shared with the Isle of Mull.

That idea went down badly with critics saying it could mean them spending ‘most of the day’ on a ferry instead of out on patrol.

Now Oban members have been told that a ‘suitable’ candidate was not found from the applicants and the position has had to be re-advertised.

Councillor Roddy McCuish said: ‘Here we are in June and we still haven’t got them. ‘They got that money in February and they’ve been unable to get anyone to do it.’

He suggested the community council retable an original offer to do the work.

Earlier this year, the community council volunteered its services to Argyll and Bute Council to take on the role.

Convenor Marri Molloy said the offer was ‘turned down out of hand’. She said Oban needs a resident warden alone just to manage Ganavan.

There are concerns that the council’s resource will be targeted at places such as Loch Lomond, Arrochar, Helensburgh and Inveraray.

Councillor Elaine Robertson told the community council that the normal working hours of the existing wardens had been extended to try and provide some cover.

‘There is a recruitment process going again and we will hopefully see this resolved at the beginning of July,’ said Councillor Robertson.

Argyll and Bute Council declined to address the claims about unsuitable candidates.

It would only say that applications for the role close on June 9 and until then the role is being covered by other employees.

Bosses have already conceded that there are not enough wardens to be in ‘every location every day’.

The plan is that the four would be rotated alongside its existing wardens, to provide as much cover as possible across an area hugely popular with tourists.

A council spokesperson said: ‘The closing date for applications for the warden’s post for Oban, Lorn and the Isles is 9 June and we encourage people to consider the post.

‘Meantime, the role is being covered by current employees until we have a dedicated member of staff.’

The council has pointed out that the ‘vast majority of visitors’ are responsible and respect the ‘outstanding environment’.