Progress is being made after a referendum decision on the public realm works in Colquhoun Square in Helensburgh. Voters chose option 3 on 25 June and the design has now been enhanced in line with what people want while retaining key elements like the area of soft landscaping and the straight road. Comments have also been taken into account by the CHORD project team and board members.
Bus stops will remain in West Princes Street as shown in options 1 and 2 as there were no clear preferences expressed about this but more people voted for that location. There will be increased seasonal flowerbeds, more seats with backs, seats close to bus stops and within view of bus stops, small evergreen trees and hedging will be introduced as will more desired crossing paths.
One of the issues people had concerns about was the use of existing comet lamp standards and a decision has yet to be made on these. However they are Victorian in design, do not provide the right level of illumination and are not energy efficient. To reuse any of these lamp standards could be very risky due to the length of time they have been in place, corrosion and repairs needed. The lighting for the Colquhoun Square reflects the design brief and would create a friendly gathering place with the potential to hold events. It is intended these lighting columns and uplighters would complement the new contemporary design of the square and together will create an attractive, safe and vibrant space.
Several people made their views known about the need to spend money on shop fronts and for redeveloping the pierhead site to include the provision of facilities for young people. The council has secured funding to help address both these issues.
Chair of the Public Realm Improvement (CHORD) Project Board, Councillor James Robb said, “This is the final design which meets the criteria of the people’s choice in the referendum and also reflects other constructive comments made throughout the whole public consultation process. Despite a very ambitious target the application for a planning consent amendment has been submitted on schedule. I would like to thank the designers at Austin Smith Lord and the Project Manager, Helen Ford, for their tremendous efforts to achieve this in such a short time. I would also thank my colleagues, Councillors Trail and Mulvaney for their contributions and support particularly during the Council recess. This project should be completed by the summer of 2014 delivering improved roads, pavements and public spaces and a much needed economic boost for the town centre.”
After considering the comments made at the referendum it should be made clear the design addresses the following issues; strengthening the symmetry of the existing square, increasing the number of disabled parking spaces directly adjacent to the square, increasing the number of car parking spaces in the CHORD boundary area, introducing a new signalised pedestrian crossing on West King Street adjacent to Colquhoun Street to allow elderly people better access to the square, retaining the existing monuments in the current position in the square, introducing traffic calming throughout the CHORD boundary area through design and reducing speed limits ( from 30 mph to 20 mph except on West Clyde Street), improving pavements, roads and car parking surfaces in the CHORD boundary area, enhancing the sea front and consulting with the disabled group and getting letters of support for the design.