Road improvements in Dunbeg will allow the continued development of the marine science facilities at Dunstaffnage
People in Dunbeg and Oban can look forward to another major council project moving forward after councillors today (Thursday 19th March) approved a start-up budget of almost £240,000 to take the Lorn/Kirk Road project – a road widening, junction improvement and cycleway/footpath venture which will allow for the continued development of the world class marine science facilities at Dunstaffnage – to the next stage.
Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Dick Walsh, said: ‘’I am delighted that this project is moving along as it will, eventually, have real benefits for the economy both around Oban and across the council area. The improved road, which will include a new section and a mini-roundabout, will mean that it’s far easier to get to the marine science facilities in Dunstaffnage. The council warmly welcomes the new developments there and is eager to play its part in helping these businesses grow even further. What we are trying to do is grow the economy and population of Argyll and Bute, create the right conditions for new employment opportunities and improve the lives of our residents.
‘’This start-up budget represents around 10% of the overall capital cost of the project and it now allows us to do all the initial preparatory work to get the project to shovel-ready stage, doing all the necessary survey work and economic impact assessments which are part of the council’s robust, evidence based approach to big investment decisions, ensuring that the project will have the benefits we hope before committing the remainder of the money.’’
Chair of the Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, Oban-based Councillor Roddy McCuish, welcomed the news, saying: ‘’This is really good news and will allow us to take the first steps to unlocking the full development potential of the marine science facilities at Dunstaffnage. If we make it easier and safer for people to get there it will surely allow for those businesses to grow, creating more well-paying jobs in the Oban area.
‘’I look forward to seeing the full business case in September we will base our next investment decision on, only investing the rest of the money if we are sure it will have the real, tangible economic benefits that the area needs. I’m pleased that we have this decision making framework in place, ensuring that it goes through the local area committee first before coming to policy and resources for final approval, ensuring we best meet the needs of Oban and Lorn but also of the Argyll and Bute council area as a whole.’’
‘’At this stage it is envisaged that the work will begin at some point in 2016, although it’s not possible to give a more accurate date as we need to purchase an area of land before the construction work can go ahead.’’
Douglas Cowan, HIE area manager, said: “I am delighted to see Argyll and Bute Council approve the start-up costs of the Lorn/Kirk Road project at Dunstaffnage. The world-class research, education and business activity, including the European Marine Science Park and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, is a significant economic driver for the region. The road improvements will create the opportunity for further expansion, and enable our long term plans to be fully realised, including attracting new business and providing employment opportunities.”
The start-up budget will pay for ground investigations; preliminary design and survey work; design input from Scottish Water and BT; road design drawings; planning applications and other statutory consents; an environmental impact study; property acquisition and an economic impact assessment.