Masterplans covering two of the highest profile development sites in Helensburgh will be discussed by councillors later this week.
Argyll and Bute’s Executive agreed last month that the existing Pier Head Masterplan be amended and updated and a new Masterplan be developed for the former Hermitage Academy site.
These documents, which contain different draft development options for the sites, will now be discussed by the Executive on Thursday. Councillors are recommended to approve the drafts and issue them for a period of public consultation on Friday.
The masterplans will provide an important element of the planning framework which will inform proposals for these two sites.
Councillor Vivien Dance, chair of the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee, said the revision had provided the opportunity to update the plans to take account of developments in Helensburgh over the last two years and the current economic climate.
“These documents are absolutely vital in terms of what the public considers should be the future direction of development in the town,” she added.
“The masterplans, if approved, will provide a coherent and deliverable planning framework which will inform any individual development proposals for these two sites.
“This is a very exciting time for Helensburgh. There are significant potential development opportunities on the horizon which could transform the town’s economy, and our job is to ensure that whatever decisions are eventually made are based on the strongest possible foundations and public consultation.
“That’s why it is so important that we get these masterplans right. I very much hope that the Executive agrees the drafts on Thursday so that we can kick off the public consultation and hear the views of the people of Helensburgh and the surrounding area.”
A number of elements fed into the masterplans’ revision process. These include feedback from focus groups drawn from residents of the Helensburgh and Lomond area, the requirements and deliverability of the proposed swimming pool and associated leisure facility, flood prevention measures on the pier, public realm improvements, an updated Helensburgh Retail Study, a proposal by Dunbritton housing association to build new affordable housing on part of the former Hermitage Academy site and the changed residential and commercial property market.
The principal elements of each of the two documents to be discussed on Thursday are:
Helensburgh Pier head
- New swimming pool and leisure facility and a flexible retail space, with the layout capable of accommodating a large retail unit alongside smaller shops. Between 16 and 30 residential units are proposed above the retail. Sufficient parking for these buildings accommodated on site, but general town parking relocated elsewhere. Public access to the pier maintained with a new open space formed in front of the swimming pool and leisure building, and a walkway around the edge of the site.
- A flexible retail space, with the layout capable of accommodating a large food retail unit alongside smaller shops. Residential units, with an increased provision of public realm along West Clyde Street. The same parking, access and walkway proposals as in the option above, with new open space in front of a new restaurant building.
Former Hermitage Academy site:
- Retained as a housing site – allocated space for Dunbritton’s proposed development and for 115 mainstream houses.
- Retained primarily as a housing site (allocated space for Dunbritton’s proposed development and 79 mainstream houses) with the option to also site the swimming pool and leisure facility there.
If the Executive approves the recommendations on Thursday, the public consultation period will begin on Friday (December 16) and end on Wednesday, January 18 2012.
Details of that consultation will be issued on Friday, and will be uploaded onto the front page of the council’s websiteat www.argyll-bute.gov.uk the same day.
All comments received will be analysed and reported back to the Executive at the beginning of February, together with the finalised masterplans for further consideration in light of the public response.