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Helicopter hangar is main attraction in company’s plan for new HQ at Oban Airport

Oban Airport near the village of North Connel.
Oban Airport near the village of North Connel.

An Argyll firm wants to base its new headquarters, complete with a helipad, at Oban Airport.

TSL Contractors on the isle of Mull is working on proposals for premises at a new business park at the airport.

Airport owner Argyll and Bute Council has a number of companies interested in taking sites at its new venture, but talks with TSL are the most advanced.

The new business park will be situated at Oban Airport.

The council’s policy and resources committee heard about the plans when it met today.

TSL employs 90 people and uses helicopters as part of its business.

It operates from Mull and Oban delivering building, construction, civil engineering and road haulage services.

Kirsty Flanagan, executive director, said: “There have been positive developments with Oban Airport business park. We have had expressions of interest in the site.

“The TSL proposal is the most advanced. This company has operated in Argyll for 35 years. The attraction to this site is that they operate helicopters and would like to have a helicopter hangar at their new headquarters.

“This would attract future interest in that area.”

The current plan is for the council to develop the building and then lease the completed asset to TSL.

It is considered that development of the first plot within the site could be the catalyst for further investment.

A business case is also underway to create the UK’s first dedicated drone training centre at the airport.

This is a joint venture between the council and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, located close to Oban Airport.

Oban Airport with a vision of what a drone innovation hub could look like.

It was noted that one of the companies tendering for the UK search and rescue contract from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency hopes to use the airport as its base if the tender is successful.

This would be a significant level of investment but the outcome of the tendering process won’t be known until June.

If successful it could be developed alongside the TSL proposal.

The airport business park is one of two initiatives being worked on as part of a Tax Incremental Finance (Tif) agreement with the Scottish Government.

The other is for a new roundabout on the A85 Oban to Perth road at Dunbeg’s Halfway House filling station to serve a massive housing development.

The housing project at Dunbeg.

Link Housing has already built 300 new homes in the village on the outskirts of Oban.

But the new gateway and roundabout will serve a further 300 homes which are currently under construction.

The council has already put up £640,000 in start up costs for the roundabout.

Councillors were given an update on progress on the project. Officers are in talks with Transport Scotland to establish design needs for the new junction with the A85.

Link Housing has indicated that the phase of houses currently under construction will be completed in June.

Design work for the roundabout is ongoing and the council’s education department has confirmed that the potential for a new primary school at Dunbeg will need to be considered.

Council leader Robin Currie said: “I’m dying to see this roundabout. It will open up that whole area for very positive developments that are required. It is very exciting project, I’m desperate to see it started.”

Councillor Elaine Robertson added: “The roundabout is absolutely crucial to the future of this development.”

The committee agreed to continue negotiations with the Scottish Government and to develop a business case for a new headquarters/hangar building to be leased by TSL on completion.

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