Working together

The council provides a huge range of services that people need every day. To help keep everyone healthy, we are reviewing how we deliver our services and are making changes where needed.

We have cancelled council events. More of our employees will be working from home. Non-essential travel from Oban Airport has been stopped with seats on flights only for islanders and essential lifeline services. Wherever possible, we will be working with people and businesses by phone rather than face-to-face.

In line with national guidance, our schools are closed.

We will continue to work with our partners and follow national guidance.

We will update this page with changes to services as they arise, and will continue to share information that may be of use to you, on our social media and digital channels.

Changes to Services and how we are delivering them

Changes to the licensing process – COVID 19

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Government has introduced some changes to the licensing process which mainly relate to the extension of timescales. Updated information is available below. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the licensing section either by e-mail at or by phone on 01546 604128.

Changes to alcohol licensing due to the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

As well as changes to the processes for alcohol licensing, this will also affect those who currently hold licences as detailed below or those making applications in relation to:

  • Boat hire
  • Booking office
  • Metal dealer
  • Knife dealer
  • Late hours catering
  • Market operator
  • Private hire operator
  • Private hire driver
  • Taxi operator
  • Taxi driver
  • Public entertainment
  • Second hand goods dealers
  • Street trader
  • Tattooing and skin piercing
  • Window cleaner

These are known as Civic Government licenses.

Changes to Civic Government licensing in terms of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

Burials and cremations

Advice to the public is that immediate family only should attend funerals, keeping social distancing rules in place at all times.

Housing Support services

There are changes to how you can currently access Housing Support Services, due to the offices of HELP (housing support for 16 - 24 year olds in Bute and Cowal) and Carr Gomm (housing support for all ages across Argyll and Bute, and over 25s in Bute and Cowal) being currently closed

You can still access these services by phoning their dedicated support lines - find our full details in our Housing Support section

Building Standards and Planning and Development Services

Council offices are now closed to members of the public, following government advice on the actions we must all take to stay safe from coronavirus. We would ask anyone therefore wishing to submit documents/applications as hard copies, that this is done either via the Scottish Government Portal or electronically to the appropriate area office detailed below:-

Bute and Cowal Area Office –

Helensburgh and Lomond Area Office –

Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands Area Office –

Oban Lorn and the Isles Area Office –

Building Standards will no longer carry out site inspections until further advised.  Completion Certificates can still be accepted by alternative means of demonstrating compliance.  This might include using digital photographs or video, or using remote means to view completed buildings.  In other circumstances where these alternative means are not available, it may be that Temporary Certificates of Occupation/Use will be issued with appropriate conditions, providing that evidence provided is sufficient to address safety.

Planning Development Management wants to let our customers know that the council is still receiving planning applications being sent to us. We would however like customers to be aware that – for the moment - the process validating, advertising and issuing decision notices for applications, is taking longer than usual. We are working very hard to keep this disruption to a minimum and will keep people up to date on how things are going.

You can also help us by getting in touch through appropriate channels:

  • Viewing planning application details – please utilise Public Access. If you have problems using the online service please use the Planning Enquiries online form, or telephone 01546 605518 for assistance.
  • Submission of representations/objections/support to planning applications – please use Public Access, or submit by e-mail to the relevant area office e-mail address (see below). (Hard copy representations will still be accepted but may take longer to process).
  • General Enquiries – please use the Planning Enquiries online form, or telephone 01546 605518
  • Apply for Planning Permission – Please submit new applications using the e-Planning portal. (Hard copy applications posted to the Central Validation Team will still be accepted but may take longer to process). Correspondence relating to invalid applications should be issued by e-mail to  
  • Pre-application Advice – general advice is available online; where input from planning officers is required then enquiries should be submit using the online form (this is a chargeable service)
  • Submission of Casework Related Documentation – submission of documentation relating to casework (supporting information, amended plans, consultation input, details pursuant to conditions etc.) should be submitted by e-mail to the relevant area office e-mail address (see above). (Documentation submitted by post or issued direct to case officers will still be accepted but may take longer to process).

Report an unauthorised development – please use the Planning Enforcement online form, or telephone 01546 605518

Whilst as a service we are well equipped to work flexibly from home, it is anticipated that there may be some disruption due to staff availability and delivery of processes which currently rely on hardcopy documentation, particularly during the initial transition period.

Private Water Supplies

Private Water Supplies (PWS) - Grants

We are currently still accepting PWS grant applications, where a suitable risk assessment already exists this will be provided to applicants with details for next steps, where a new risk assessment is required you will be advised and we will contact you as soon as restrictions enable, to make further arrangements. If you are submitting a payment request we will contact you when we are able to start visits again.

Private Water Supplies (PWS) – Risk Assessments and Sampling

Currently all sampling and risk assessment visits are suspended unless we assess there is an immediate public health need for them to go ahead. Should you contact us to arrange a visit you will be provided with guidance on alternatives or any interim action that can be taken dependant on your needs.

Private Water Supplies (PWS) – General Advice and Assistance

We continue to be able to offer advice and assistance remotely. Should you wish to contact us. Call 01546 605519, or email

Access to the outdoors during Coronavirus

Guidance for the public and land managers during the Coronavirus pandemic is available on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website