It is usually bustling with teenagers bedding down for the night because they live too far away to travel to school each day.

Glencruitten Hostel provides accommodation for Oban High School pupils from the islands, offering beds for to up to 85 young people during term time.

However, the hostel is now being mooted as a new tourist destination in a bid to generate income for cash-strapped Argyll and Bute Council.

Local councillor Roddy McCuish is urging the council to consider hiring out the basic accommodation during school holidays, claiming the move could bring in much-needed income.

Currently, the authority is looking at cutting jobs and services to save more than £9 million.

Councillor McCuish said Glencruitten’s empty beds could help to solve the budget problem by offering paid-for accommodation to the tourist town’s summer visitors.

Speaking as the local authority prepares to launch a public consultation on its budget options, he said: “We have an 85 bed hostel for our island children which is shut all summer, but with a skeleton staff, that could be used for things like training camps.

“We could also open up Oban High School in the summer and hire out the use of facilities there. We also have a hostel in Dunoon.

“Perhaps we have to look at councils being more commercial, to charge for things they don’t charge for and look at getting income rather than cutting things.”

Councillor McCuish, a former leader of the council, also suggested that council-owned ports and harbours could become more commercial and the local authority could investigate taking on contract work for other councils and housing associations, offering services such as planning and grass cutting.

The independent councillor added: “There could also be shared services between local authorities, instead of the situation at the moment where gritters come down as far as Appin and go back because they are from Highland region.”

Options to meet next year’s budget in Argyll and Bute include raising burial charges by 20%, axing 58.5 full time equivalent jobs and closing some public toilets.

However, Councillor McCuish said: “You can only cut so much and we are now not on the bone, we are into the bone.”

The council is looking at the possible transfer of the ferries it runs between Easdale and Seil, Lismore and Port Appin, Luing and Seil; and Jura and Islay to Transport Scotland, This would save £1million a year.

Council Leader, councillor Aileen Morton, said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work to raise awareness of Argyll and Bute’s opportunities and challenges among those who could support its future.

“Argyll and Bute needs its council to provide more services than many other councils, for example ferry services. Argyll and Bute, though, has had a bigger cut to its council funding over recent years than most other areas in Scotland.

“We’ve been promoting Argyll and Bute’s cause therefore in different ways, to try to secure more support for its council services. We want Argyll and Bute to thrive.”

This includes setting up a forum that brings together Argyll and Bute’s parliamentarians to consider local issues and opportunities and leading a partnership of west coast councils seeking Scottish Government support in addressing de-population.

The council is also raising Argyll and Bute’s challenges nationally via COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and working with other island authorities to promote island needs at UK and Scottish Government level.

The council budget consultation will be available on the council’s website (, from council customer service points, and by calling 01546 604171 from October 28 and will run until December 16.

Glenctruitten Hostel provides accommodation for young people from islands of Colonsay, Coll, Mull, Lismore, Iona, Kerrera, Shuna and Easdale, as well as from Bridge of Orchy.

The pupils are usually resident between Monday and Friday, however some students are not always able to return home at the weekend.