Next step agreed for Oban Bay

Argyll and Bute Council is prepared to be the Harbour Authority for the unmanaged section of Oban Bay.

Argyll and Bute Harbour Board took the decision at today’s meeting (2 December).

This was one of options outlined in an independent report by Caledonian Economics, which addressed safety concerns in the bay and outlined how to move to a Statutory Harbour Authority (SHA) within the shortest timeframe.

The Harbour Board considered the findings and agreed that officers engage with CMAL, through Oban Bay Management Group, on the basis that the council’s preferred option was to be the Harbour Authority for the unmanaged section of Oban Bay. Council will begin the process of application for a Harbour Revision Order covering the unmanaged section of Oban Bay as quickly as possible.

This will be the first phase in reviewing management of Oban Bay. There will be a bedding-in period so the new arrangement can be properly monitored. After that time, there will be a further report to members on the potential for, and exploration of, the future development of a Trust Port. 

It was clear that what those invested in the project wished to see:

  • Clear and safe operation, which phase 1 will deliver;
  • A harbour that is fit for purpose and a strategic asset , which will also be advanced by phase 1; and
  • The trust port option to be further examined (and not ruled out) – which would be looked at in a second phase.

Councillor Rory Colville, Policy Lead for Roads and Infrastructure Services, said: “We appreciate the work done by Caledonian Economics on what is a detailed report on a complex issue. We’re all agreed that safety comes first. The report identifies a way of dealing with that expediently.

“We’ve listened to what local stakeholders have said and believe that the best way forward - at this time - is for the council to progress the SHA. This is good for Oban, its tourism, its economy and the island communities it serves.”  

The report is published on the council website.

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