Councillors repeat call for public enquiry

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Councillors from South Kintyre and Mid Argyll plan to submit a second petition to the Scottish Parliament reiterating their request for a full public enquiry into the ongoing situation at the Rest and be Thankful.

Donald Kelly and Douglas Philand submitted their original petition to the parliament in 2012 which contained more than 10,000 signatures and was supported by over 400 businesses from within and outside Argyll and Bute.

An A83 Taskforce was formed to provide leadership and direction, and ensure the delivery of an emergency diversion route and the wider study into the permanent solution to landslides at the troubled spot.

At a meeting of the taskforce in 2013 six options for a permanent solution were put on the table by the consultants Jacobs including the 2020 preferred option of a new route through Glen Croe but all were dismissed by the Scottish Government which decided to go ahead with mitigation measures.

Councillor Kelly told the Courier: ‘The original proposal was to spend in the region of £2-3 million in the hope that this would solve the problems at the Rest.

‘We all know this was just the start of the sticking plaster exercise.

‘Since then it has been a constant string of borrow pits, fencing, drainage etc with the cost to the public purse racking up year-on-year with the only people benefiting being the consultants and the contractors.

‘The current cost of these mitigation measures is in the region of £90 million and rising. Hence our call for a public enquiry in to the management and cost of this fiasco this far.’

Councillor Kelly said that at the last taskforce meeting in September members were told that it would be at least seven years before any permanent solution would be put in place.

‘I am still sceptical about this because my opinion is that if the money is required for the central belt that is where it will go.

‘I think the government is continuing to dig these borrow pits in the hope that eventually the disruption will ease and our permanent solution will be kicked into the long grass.

‘After campaigning so long and hard and achieving some successes on the A83 such as the trunking of the road from Kennacraig to Campbeltown and the improvements at the corner at Strone Point Inveraray we are determined not to let this go and feel that all involved require to be held to account hence the request for the enquiry.’