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New gateway and roundabout for Oban under £640,000 improvement plans

Housing under construction at Dunbeg.
Housing under construction at Dunbeg.

More than half a million pounds will be ploughed into the creation of a special gateway and a new roundabout outside Oban.

The new infrastructure will serve a 300-house development currently under construction at Dunbeg.

Argyll and Bute Council’s policy and resources committee agreed up to £640,000 in start up costs for the two new additions.

Link Housing is currently working on a masterplan, building the homes between Oban and Dunbeg off the A85 Oban to Perth road.

The Halfway House filling station, where the rounabout will be located, is situated directly between the Argyll town and its outlying village.

Part of the Lorn Arc initiative, the roundabout and gateway are among a number of projects being funded by the council’s Tax Incremental Finance Agreement (Tif) with the Scottish Government.

They are aimed at attracting investment and creating employment, housing and commercial opportunities.

The Dunbeg housing site.

Money borrowed by the council to fund the work will be paid back in business rates from private investors which arrive as a result of the new infrastructure.

Also agreed by the committee was £5,000 for Kirk Road upgrades in Dunbeg and £107,321 for consultants to develop a business case to justify further capital investment at Oban Airport Business Park.

The committee heard that there has been recent interest from companies to occupy the park.

Funding for the Halfway House project will pay for a full business case, necessary studies and detailed design works for a new junction on the A85, to access a proposed new commercial area.

This will also provide the initial phase of a second access into Dunbeg to enable more houses and the expansion of the European Marine Science Park in the future. It complements the work already completed to upgrade Kirk Road.

Council leader Robin Currie said: “I think this is a hugely important project, not just for the Oban area but for the whole of Argyll and Bute.

“The Lorn Arc initiative has enabled the council to invest in major infrastructure that has multiple benefits for Oban and our communities.

“The area has significant economic growth potential. We are putting this funding to work for the Oban area by investing in improvements that will help attract and retain the businesses, skills and people needed for economic success.

Councillor Elaine Robertson added: “I welcome this report. It has been some time since we have had an update and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Link Group commercial director Colin Culross said: “We’re pleased this funding has been approved by Argyll and Bute Council, allowing another key stage of this fantastic development to move forward.

“With people and families moving into the first of the completed homes, I am delighted to see the difference these modern, affordable homes are already making to people’s lives and we look forward to completing this phase of the development and helping transform the lives of another 270 people and families.

“The funding for the roundabout will assist the future phases of the Dunbeg development to be realised, which could deliver a further 300 homes and a commercial /retail development for the local area.”

As part of the Lorn Arc programme, the council has already completed a £2.75 million improvement project at Dunbeg – the Kirk Road upgrade scheme.

This included widening the road from single track to two lanes with street lighting and the provision of a new cycle and footpath.

Completion of this scheme enabled the building of an additional 300 unit affordable housing development, currently on site along with further phases of the European Marine Science Park. Collectively they are estimated investments in excess of £65 million.

The Lorn Arc  programme has already delivered £330,000 of improvement works to open up access to Oban Airport Business Park, and now has renewed occupier interest for the site.

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