Ganavan vote cheers cautious campaigners

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Councillors have unanimously voted to remove housing as a development option for Ganavan.

The ultimate say still lies at Scottish Government level and it could still take up to a year to get a final decision, but the vote from last Thursday’s full council moves in cautious favour of campaigners who want to keep the much-loved open space green and free of new homes.

Friends of Ganavan (FoG) could not be happier with the news at this stage.

It was Argyll and Bute Provost Councillor David Kinniburgh who proposed that because of  ‘validly made public representations’, the schedule mentioning Ganavan in the new local development plan (LDP2) should be amended and that housing be removed as a potential development use of the land.

The motion was seconded on behalf of Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee by its leader Councillor Elaine Robertson.

It read: ‘The Schedule 4 No 139 dealing with Ganavan should be approved
subject to the amendment recommending to the reporter that Housing be
removed from the proposed list of uses for Potential Development Area P4023
in reflection of the validly made public representations under consideration by
the reporter.’

The matter, along with the rest of the proposed plan, now has to go to the Reporter appointed by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh for a final decision before it comes back to Argyll and Bute Council and can be adopted as a development blueprint. It could take up to one year. Even if the Reporter gives the Ganavan amendment the nod,  the would still be a potential development area for recreation and tourism developers.

Councillor Elaine Robertson said regarding further housing at Ganavan she was delighted the strength of feeling in the community had been recognised and that the council had highlighted that to the Reporter in the motion passed unanimously.

‘We can only hope the Reporter is supportive,’ she said and added: ‘I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Oban Lorn and Isles Area Committee, to thank Friends of Ganavan for the work which went into the survey, to the Provost and leaders, the officers for their help, and to all our colleagues for their understanding and overwhelming support. Ganavan is a very special area, enjoyed by the people of Oban, the surrounding area and our many visitors.’

A statement from FoG said: ‘FoG could not be happier with this news. A huge thanks is due to all who have given their time in filling in survey forms and consultation responses and the support of the community councils. Thanks also to those councillors and officials who worked hard to secure the outcome the people want for the area
as well as The Oban Times for helping spread awareness of the campaign.

‘It has shown that people are passionate about Ganavan and this decision goes
a long way to Keeping Ganavan green.’

FoG surveys showed people wanted the area preserved for the benefit of local communities and visitors as a green space for recreation. An overwhelming majority or responses said no more housing should be built there.