Agenda item

Public Question Time


Norman Muir, Helensburgh Community Council

There is a profound democratic deficit in the consideration process of the development of the Waterfront area left over from the completion of the Leisure Centre. In particular the machinations of Argyll & Bute in overriding the longstanding detail of the Masterplan Addedum of 2013. This is indicative of a disregard of the hitherto inviolate parameters contained in the Masterplan, without reference to the community.

Much more thought and analysis has to be devoted to the current standing pf the project. In particular the reassertion of the principles of local democracy and community engagement. This is a local issue which has to be addressed in detail. The Helensburgh & Lomond Area Committee must meet with the Helensburgh Community Council and other community interests to resolve this unsatisfactory situation as a matter of urgency. When will such a meeting take place?

Councillor Mulvaney advised that officers and elected members had met with Helensburgh Community Council but due to the Community Council being a bidder in the process they must be treated the same as any other commercial interest.

Discussion took place in relation to the legalities around communication with the Community Council, specifically whether a subcommittee could be created to participate in the bidding process.


The Head of Commercial Services advised that he would speak to colleagues within Legal and Regulatory Support and provide clarification to Members by email.  


Jackie Hood, Helensburgh Skatepark Project

Why have the Council chosen to misrepresent and manipulate the views and aspirations of the Helensburgh Skatepark Project in their recent report?

We as a Group have never said that the waterfront site is too small and the wrong location. The skatepark belongs on the waterfront and has been integral to the development of the site since the Masterplan Addendum of 2012. Location is the most important consideration, even over size. We have been told that if we choose to remain on the waterfront, we will always be restricted by the arbitrary dimensions of 17m by 20m stated by planning. Even though we refute these dimensions, we wish to stay on what is a perfect site for a skatepark.

I would like to express my frustration and concern about these misrepresentations. The recent allocation of £80,000 is very welcome but the Council needs to clarify for the public that this money will be spent trying to find a location which will allow for a bigger, more ambitious skatepark. However if this turns out not to be possible, people know that the skatepark can definitely remain on the waterfront site and any funds remaining will be used to improve it.

I would like it minuted that the skatepark project does not agree with the report's recommendations that "the waterfront site is not considered to be a suitable long term location for the skatepark’’.


The Estates and Property Development Manager advised that during discussions the Skatepark Group advised that they would like to develop a larger facility that would attract visitors and users to Helensburgh. Mr Allan highlighted that the waterfront site did not have capacity for both a larger skatepark and a commercial development, if indeed that was the selected proposal.


Mr Allan highlighted that as noted previously, future planning consents for the waterfront site would require to either incorporate or relocate the skatepark and therefore it made sense to explore those options which would allow the Group to achieve the best outcome possible. Mr Allan confirmed that if it was not possible to meet the larger skatepark vision the skatepark would be incorporated within the waterfront development on a more limited scale.


Peter Brown, Helensburgh Community Council

The Council is being asked to approve the initiation of a retail study for Helensburgh. What is the timeline for this being completed, will it be made public at that time, and how are Councillors expected to make a decision about shortlisting retail ‘expressions of interest’ versus others before that study informs them whether the town can accept more retailers?


The Estates and Property Development Manager advised that the retail study had been commissioned and would be completed within the next few weeks with it being made public subject to any commercially sensitive information being redacted and that any issues raised by the study would be considered by Members at the final offers stage along with the other relevant factors.


Cameron Foy, Helensburgh Community Council

In 2011 the Council's Masterplan for a large commercial area on Helensburgh's waterfront was overwhelmingly rejected, resulting in the 2012 Masterplan "Addendum" which was approved with the compromise of limited retail space (upto 2600sqm gross) allowing space for public realm and a skatepark following the completion of the new leisure facility and town parking.  How is the new proposal for a very large commercial space of 5,600 sqm, and forcing the skatepark off the waterfront, compatible with the 2012 Masterplan Addendum?

The Estates and Property Development Manager advised that the full site area was c5,600sqm with the commercial space allocation of c2,665 sqm. Mr Allan added that there was no intention to develop beyond the allocation of c2,665 sqm and that it was not intended to relocate the skatepark unless a site was identified which the Skatepark Group preferred and would deliver their larger, long-term aspirations.

Fiona Baker

A masterplan for Helensburgh pierhead was approved as Supplementary Planning Guidance in 2009.  In 2011 the Council was of the view that this needed updated as market conditions had changed during the intervening years.  The 2011 masterplan was rejected and in 2012 a masterplan addendum, generally referred to as the 2012 masterplan, was adopted. Now that over a decade has passed and the Council is today seeking the removal of the key element of the skatepark, and perhaps also over half of the site use being public realm before a new forthcoming economic assessment has been completed, will the Council be commissioning a new Masterplan Addendum that reflects the considerable changes to economic conditions and shift in emphases of planning objectives as set out in National Planning Framework 4?

The Estates and Development Manager advised that he would provide Mrs Baker with a written response by email following the meeting.

The Head of Commercial Services advised that at this stage Officers are working to the 2012 Masterplan and that there is no proposal to put forward a new masterplan.

Polly Jones, Helensburgh Community Council

There is a considerable amount of concern around the process to make decisions on what happens to the waterfront.

Does the Committee believe that it is prejudicial to be asked to agree the following recommendation ‘the waterfront site is not considered to be a suitable long term location for the skatepark as initial marketing of the site has highlighted that the site is not large enough to accommodate a larger scale skatepark which the group are seeking as well as a viable commercial development’ outlined within the associated report before considering the report ‘Helensburgh Waterfront Development (Commercial Area) – Update & Shortlisting of Offers’, as the location is dependent on what the plans are for the waterfront?

Helensburgh Community Council have undertaken a number of consultation exercises, and have had 4,500 people participate, more than the 83 responses mentioned in the associated report. How will the Committee include the views of the 4,500 alongside the plans and responses?

There is reference in the summary of the report at item 13, others would welcome a retail or hospitality option, how many people are included in this statement?

The Head of Commercial Services advised that he would provide Mrs Jones with a written response by email following the meeting.

The Committee Manager advised that it is custom and practise that those items which have elements that are exempt are placed at end of the agenda to allow members of public to attend as much of the meeting as possible.

The Head of Commercial Services clarified that the recommendation is advising that the waterfront is not large enough to accommodate a large scale skatepark alongside a commercial development but there could be a smaller one.