Calls to speed up Dalintober demolition

You can have your say on the planned demolition of six iconic but dilapidated Campbeltown tenement blocks at Dalintober.
Pleas have been made for the demolition of empty flats at John Street, Princes Street and High Street to be sped up so new homes can be built.

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Pleas have been made for the demolition of flats on a Campbeltown housing estate to be sped up in order to have new homes built on the site.

Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) has sought listed building consent for demolition of empty properties at John Street, Princes Street and High Street in the town.

But Historic Environment Scotland indicated in a response to the council that further consideration would be needed, or they would be likely to object to the application.

At the last meeting of the full council, on Thursday April 28, a week before the local government elections on Thursday May 5, South Kintyre councillor John Armour appealed for the process to be sped up.

He said: ‘You will be aware that ACHA has a proposal to build new houses in the Dalintober area. This has to go to Historic Environment Scotland to get approval for demolition of flats.

‘These flats have been empty for a long time and are not fit for purpose. Could the council please get this moved on as quickly as possible as there is a dire need for them?’

Kintyre and the Islands councillor Robin Currie added: ‘I totally agree, it seems to be taking a long time, but we have to go through the due process.

‘I did have discussions with the chief executive [Pippa Milne] the other day about this, and we will try to organise a meeting.

‘Unfortunately we cannot have a meeting before Thursday [the election], but soon after that, somebody in this position will need to move a meeting, and really try our best to move things on.

‘Houses are needed and the flats there are not fit for purpose, so let’s get on with it.’

Councillors sitting on the ACHA board also weighed in to the debate, with Oban South and the Isles councillor Roddy McCuish saying: ‘I take comfort from the fact that we are going to move this on, but who has the final say on this proposed demolition? Is it the council or Historic Environment Scotland?’

Ms Milne replied: ‘I am not a qualified planner, but I believe it is a decision that will come to the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing committee. However, advice from Historic Environment Scotland will be critical to that decision.’

Lomond North councillor Iain S Paterson added: ‘This seems to have dragged on for a long time, and hopefully Historic Environment Scotland now have the drawings they were needing.’

In a letter dated March 2, Historic Environment Scotland told the council: ‘The purpose of this letter is to formally seek additional information that sets out the widest range of options, other than complete demolition, that could provide a viable long-term future for the Dalintober Estate before we reach a final view on the application.

‘We consider that further detailed discussion is required to ensure that all possible alternatives to demolition have been fully explored.

‘In our view, the information currently provided with the application does not demonstrate that there is no alternative to the full demolition of the Dalintober Housing Estate.

‘On that basis, without further evidence for an appropriate level of consideration being given to the repair and/or creative reconfiguration of the buildings to meet modern accommodation needs, we would be likely to object to the application.’

Councillor Armour (SNP) is one of four candidates who stood in the South Kintyre ward for the council election. The others were Rory Colville (Scottish Liberal Democrats), Donald Kelly (Independent) and Tommy MacPherson (Scottish Conservative).

Councillor Currie (Scottish Liberal Democrats) was one of six candidates in the Kintyre and the Islands ward. The others were Jane Kelly (Scottish Labour), John McAlpine (Independent), Dougie McFadzean (SNP), Alec McNeilly (Scottish Conservative) and Alastair Redman (Independent).

See the Campbeltown Courier website and next week’s newspaper for election results.