Councillor driven round the bend by roads department’s ‘apathy’

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South Kintyre councillor Donald Kelly has written to the chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council expressing his concerns about ‘a high degree of apathy’ within the senior management team of the authority’s roads and amenity services department.

Councillor Kelly, of the Argyll First group, made the complaint to Pippa Milne this week because he feels the department has made inadequate progress on three particular roads issues he has been highlighting for years.

But a council spokesperson told the Courier it has taken action on all three of the issues raised by Councillor Kelly.

The councillor’s first area of concern is what he claims as the department’s failure to engage with relevant local representatives to create a detailed report on issues related to parking and speeding in the Davaar Avenue and Meadows housing areas of Campbeltown.

In September 2021, the Courier reported Councillor Kelly’s frustration at a lack of action a year after he pressed for a full traffic management review of the two streets, in the hope changes being implemented, such as one-way systems and permanent enforceable speed restrictions.

‘For any report regarding these housing schemes to be meaningful, they must include a response from the bus company West Coast Motors, emergency services representatives, the Argyll Community Housing Association and Fyne Homes housing associations, residents and Campbeltown Community Council,’ said Councillor Kelly.

‘The time it is taking for the roads department to prepare a detailed report is extremely disappointing and frustrating.’

A council spokesperson told the Courier it conducted speed surveys in the Meadows area in October, and was making arrangements to survey Davaar Avenue in the next couple of weeks.

‘The results of these will be analysed and recommendations provided to councillors,’ added the spokesperson.

‘We also discussed the reports of speeding with Police Scotland who did not report any known issues.’

Councillor Kelly also said the department had failed to carry out a disability survey of Campbeltown’s town centre streets and pavements in relation to dropped kerbs and stepped pavements and the impact they could have on wheelchair and pushchair users.

‘After being told this was being done meeting after meeting, it is nothing less than scandalous for the decision to be reversed nine months down the line due to there being no budget available,’ he said.

The council spokesperson told the Courier that it assesses any requests for dropped kerbs and responds to footway safety issues raised with the authority as part of its day-to-day work, adding: ‘With the additional capital funding allocated to footways this financial year, a number of footway improvements, including drop crossings, are being taken forward across the council area.

‘Should external funding be available from national active travel funds then we can look at an overall audit across Argyll and Bute.’

The final issue of concern for Councillor Kelly is the traffic management system, involving some new one-way streets in areas of the town centre, which was introduced in Campbeltown in October 2020, something the councillor has branded ‘a shambles’.

‘This was done without proper consultation, or a half-hearted effort at best,’ he said. ‘What is in place now was meant to be temporary and was to be reviewed. Despite asking for a review and a proper consultation, this has still not been done.’

The council spokesperson said that it undertook a public consultation, including a drop-in event, as part of the process to introduce the new traffic system, and made changes to the plans based on public feedback.

‘We are not aware of any significant negative feedback since the new scheme was introduced,’ added the spokesperson, ‘but now that it has had an adequate period to bed in, we do intend to review it over the course of this year, with a report to be provided to councillors.’

The new traffic management system has been described as ‘unfit for purpose’ and ‘dangerous’ by some residents and business owners in the area, as traffic travelling south along Longrow, once the main route into Campbeltown, is now forced onto the newly one-way Burnbank Street which is home to a busy garage and vehicle rental centre.

There are concerns about the decision to direct traffic onto the busy Burnbank Street.
There are concerns about the decision to direct traffic onto the busy Burnbank Street.

‘To direct traffic down one of the busiest streets in Campbeltown, which has a working garage on it, is sheer madness and is an accident waiting to happen,’ said Councillor Kelly.

‘The three issues I have continually raised should be treated as priorities and are vitally important to the community of Campbeltown.

‘The lack of response and action by the council is totally unacceptable and must be addressed immediately.’