Planning permission was granted yesterday for a maritime visitor facility on Oban’s North Pier.
The former ferry ticket office, known as the White Building, is currently in use as a charity shop but will be demolished as part of the regeneration plans.
The new building is part of Argyll and Bute Council’s multimillion-pound plans to regenerate Oban through the Chord (Campbeltown Helensburgh Oban Rothesay and Dunoon) waterfronts project.
The facility, next to the Columba Hotel, will enclose a circular gathering space and be covered by a timber and glass canopy. It will include a pier office; additional public toilets and showers; secure locker facilities; storage and laundry; a waiting area for coach parties and cruise ship passengers and a covered event space.
Stafford Street, George Street, Queens Park Place and Station Square along the seafront will get new street furniture and paving, described by the council as public realm work, as part of the plans.
Chairman of the planning committee, councillor David Kinniburgh, said: “I’m pleased that we were able to grant planning permission for these two exciting projects – we focus on making things happen, supporting sustainable economic growth and regeneration.”
Chairman of the Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, councillor Alistair MacDougall, said: “I’m very pleased with this news – it’s exciting to see the Oban regeneration project moving forward, with work set to begin soon.
“These improvement works will deliver long-lasting benefits for the people of Oban and the surrounding area.
“In place of the White Building we will have a purpose built state of the art facility framing the new multi-functional public space.
“The public realm work will give us a tailored waterfront which reflects the character of Oban and is more attractive both to visitors and residents, generating additional footfall for the benefit of local retailers.”
Work is expected to begin on the North Pier in January 2015 with the demolition of the White Building.
It will be split into two phases, with Stafford Street being developed as a first phase from October 2014 to April 2015, and the remainder of the project developed afterwards.
Stafford Street will get a terraced space to sit, relax and view the bay; a flexible space with power and Wi-Fi for small scale events and shelter.
There will be a flexible space for events at Station Square, along with a widened seaside footway; a shelter for both bus passengers and spectators at events; flexible seating; ornamental planting and a new plinth for the clock tower.