Ganavan friends form charity

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Campaigners protecting and preserving precious green space at Ganavan are to set up as a charity.

Additional trustees are now being sought to join Friends of Ganavan (FoG) founder Alison Chadwick and its chairman John Watson on its mission that includes helping keep the area free of more housing

FoG feels forming a not-for-profit Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) is a ‘prudent’ move as it waits for a final government say on the latest Local Development Plan.

Last year, Argyll and Bute councillors unanimously voted to remove the housing element from the plan after huge opposition and pressure was put on them to reject any possibility of new homes being built at the cherished beauty spot.

The campaign was also backed by TV presenter and wildlife personality Iolo Williams.

Representations made about the plan will all be considered now by the Scottish Government Reporter as the next stage of the process in approving the whole plan starts.

Although no formal planning application had been submitted for new housing, a large area facing the sands at Ganavan had been pencilled in as a potential development area.

The council sent off the final version of its proposed plan – minus the housing element – to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division in January so an ultimate decision could be made.

That decision is expected in the autumn of this year, until then it is a waiting game with fingers-crossed, say FoG – its Facebook page has a following of 3,700 members.

The group and its online page was set up to share and gather evidence of just how much Ganavan is used and valued.

Friends of Ganavan chairman John Watson said: ‘We don’t anticipate further housing to be put back in, but feel it prudent to set up a SCIO as this will give us a recognised vehicle to make representations should the Reporter request further information on the plan.’

Over the hill from Ganavan, December saw the restart of a working group of public and strategic stakeholders focusing on development of the Dunbeg Corridor. The meeting heard that the presence of peat and flooding issues have influenced the location of a proposed commercial area being investigated for feasibility and demand by consultants Colliers International, engaged by developer Link.

A spokesperson for Link said: ‘The feasibility stage of the project is ongoing as planning continues to evolve. The plans will be updated following this and shared with the community.

‘The current timescale for this is late spring 2022, however, having met with the community council in early December, representatives from Argyll and Bute Council, Link and other agencies plan to meet with the community council again in March to provide an additional update. More information will be available at this next stage.’

Plans for more housing in Phase 4 of the Dunbeg development are also going through initial design work – but early signs indicate it could see another 350 to 400 homes being built.