Digital black-spots throughout Argyll are a blight on our future

I had a successful surgery in the Lochindaal Hotel in Port Charlotte where I spoke to local residents about many important local issues. These included street lighting, damaged pavements, potholes, the need for social housing and slow broadband speeds.

It was good to speak first hand to our hard working roads team and hear of the improvement plans in place for the village. This includes much needed new pavements, and although there is debate about the type of street lighting our roads department will use, everyone can at least agree that the centre of Port Charlotte being left in darkness is unacceptable. Furthermore to the local debate on the type of new street lighting being installed, it is very important that we local Port Charlotte residents direct our justifiable concerns through the proper 
channels and not directly at the front line roads men, who are only doing their job.

Our smaller village like Portnahaven, Port Charlotte, Bruichladdich, Ballygrant and Keills are, like so many areas, struggling with steady depopulation. In order to keep the many small villages viable, we must see the building of housing in not just Islay's two largest villages, but our small villages also. On top of this, priority in housing allocation should be given to locals, particularly those who are essentials workers to our growing Islay economy, like teachers, health workers and tradesmen.

For local residents and our growing number of dynamic small businesses digital black-spots throughout Argyll are a blight on our future development prospects. Across the board at a government and business level there is a relentless push to do almost every day to day task online. Yet we in rural Argyll are suffering with archaic broadband speeds and lack of 4G coverage in many areas while there are urban areas in Scotland with access to 5G coverage. 

Local and national government as well as the broadband and mobile providers must do all that they can to redress this rural urban imbalance. This may require large scale investment along with a program of works.

As your Councillor I will work tirelessly to see that all these problems and more are addressed.

Cllr Alastair Redman