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Who left on the lights? Locals fear waste of public money as famous Oban landmark glows 24 hours a day

McCaig's Tower.
McCaig's Tower.

Standing tall above the town with its striking facade illuminated in many different colours, McCaig’s Tower is an Oban landmark which locals usually feel deserves the spotlight.

But the lighting system on the famous structure has become faulty, and has been left on for 24 hours a day.

And exasperated locals have now accused Argyll and Bute Council of wasting public money to foot what they fear will be a towering electric bill.

People who live near the structure were bemused to notice the bulbs left switched on during daylight hours this week.

It is understood the situation has been ongoing for months, but the issue has now been brought to the attention of Oban Community Council.

Marri Malloy, chairwoman of the group, said: “I think it is a disgrace. Considering the council is always saying it has so little money, this has got to be costing the taxpayers a lot. That will be a heavy bill.

“It is just a waste of money, especially when the sun has been out during the last few days.”

Argyll and Bute Council installed the new lighting system at the famous landmark in 2013.

The facade can be set to change colour every hour.

On certain dates such as around Remembrance Sunday or St Patrick’s day the lights can be set to a specific colour such as red or green.

Oban-based Councillor Roddy McCuish is hopeful that a solution can soon be found.

He said: “Hopefully, now this has been brought to the relevant department’s attention, we will get this resolved as soon as possible.

“It is not environmentally friendly to have these lights burning all day. Also, in times such as these when every penny counts, it seems like a disregard for taxpayers’ money.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “If there is an issue with lighting it can be better to leave lights on rather than off, as people tell us they are worried by dark areas at night.

“We are investigating what has caused the issue with the lights at McCaig’s Tower and trying to find a swift solution that doesn’t compromise safety.”

The landmark was built in 1897 by local banker John Stuart McCaig as a lasting monument to the McCaig family.

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