Controversial plans to put an oil depot next to an Argyll travellers’ site have been recommended for approval.
Residents of the Ledaig Travelling Persons Site next to Oban Airport claim they have been discriminated against and have not been afforded the same respect as people living in conventional homes.
On Wednesday Argyll and Bute Council’s planning committee will consider an application by Oilfast Ltd for two portable buildings, four tanks and fencing in the yard at Oban Airport.
The site, a former council roads depot, is right next to the homes of the travelling people. It is also on the path of the Oban to Fort William cycle route.
Brendan O’Hara MP has objected to the proposal, as have three local councillors and 20 individuals.
The main concerns of objectors include the threat of tankers to pedestrians and cyclists, noise pollution and fears about flammable fuels being stored close to caravans.
Councillor Julie McKenzie said: “I’m incredibly disappointed that the council’s planning department have continued to push forward with this ill-conceived proposal. It appears that they have little regard for this vulnerable community or for public opinion. The Scottish Government has legislated to protect Gypsy Travellers from discrimination but worryingly this does not seem to have been taken into account by the planners at every stage of the process so far.
“Whilst I’m fully supportive of any application locally that seeks to enhance economic growth, this simply cannot be done to the detriment and safety of the people who live in close proximity.”
In a report before the committee, planning officer Lesley Cuthbertson writes: “The use of the site for Class 6 – Storage and distribution purposes has been established with its previous and most recent use as a roads depot storage and distribution site and does not require planning permission.
“The determining issues for this application, therefore, solely relate to siting, layout and design issues. It is not considered that the application raises any complex or technical issues and as the majority of the representations relate to the use which is not up for consideration in this planning application.”
The travelling people who have objected to the application say they have been discriminated as they were not consulted.
Council planners say in the report that the residents were notified and given extra time to comment on the proposals.
Stephen Anderson, managing director of Oilfast, said it is not uncommon to have a depot near residential areas.