District News, November 5 2021

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Oban bidding for city status

In the future, a trip to the city for Kintyre residents could mean taking the long and winding road to Oban instead of Glasgow.

Argyll and Bute residents are being urged to get behind the town’s bid to be one of the UK’s newest cities.

Cities come in all shapes and sizes and Oban could become one of them in 2022, fighting off stiff competition from other towns in the national competition marking the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

As part of a campaign headed ‘Oban – Scotland in one place’, our sister newspaper The Oban Times has joined forces with Argyll and Bute Council to champion the town as a worthy contender for city status.

Now council leader Robin Currie is inviting people to get involved and share what they like best about Oban.

People’s comments and photographs about what makes Oban a special place to live, work and visit could make all the difference to the town’s bid.

Backing the bid is one step of making sure that the town and Argyll has as much chance of a successful future as other parts of Scotland, says Councillor Currie.

Council officers are hard at work getting the big bid ready to meet the deadline on December 8, but need people’s help.

Visit www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/obancity to share your support and to find out more about the bid and what it could mean for the town. You can send your photographs to workingtogether@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Councillor Currie said: ‘City status is about creating opportunities for investment to progress things that matter to local people, for example infrastructure or housing, that are beyond the resources of the council.

‘Being a rural Scottish city would mean, for example, that Oban could be included in government city initiatives as well as rural growth initiatives.’

New leisure or community facilities as well as green spaces could be created as a result of a successful bid.

Public support so far has been great says Argyll and Bute Council’s head of development and economic growth Fergus Murray.

‘We understand, too, of course, that there could be questions about what city status might mean for the area and have provided information in response on our website,’ he said.

‘There’s stiff competition out there for the skills, jobs and investment Argyll and Bute needs.

‘Bidding for city status will help with this by raising the profile of the area as a great place to invest, visit and live.’

Oban was picked as Argyll and Bute’s city contender because it was deemed to have the highest chance of winning.

Being a top tourist destination with good travel links, as well as having one of the UK’s busiest ferry ports and being a gateway to a number of island communities are all plus points.

Already having University Town status with in excess of 1,000 students, including the world renowned SAMS (Scottish Association for Marine Science) institute, also goes in Oban’s favour, as well as it being such a popular place to live and visit.