Argyll and Bute Council is one step closer to releasing almost £9 million to invest in Dunoon’s waterfront and cementing its commitment to the town’s positive future.
The council’s Dunoon CHORD project board has agreed a £8.6 million business case to make significant changes to Dunoon’s waterfront, which the council hopes will help kick-start regeneration in the town.
Plans were approved to improve the road layout in front of the Queen’s Hall to make it simpler and more pedestrian-friendly. The changes will also create more space outside the Queen’s Hall which can be used for exhibitions, events and displays. A contribution will also be made to improve passenger facilities at the ferry terminal, adjacent to the Queen’s Hall.
The project will also see a major transformation of the Queen’s Hall. A number of services and facilities will be brought together in the hall, making it an attractive destination for visitors and residents. The building will be extended, a learning centre introduced and the main hall and stage improved. There will also be a large soft play area for family visitors to use in all weathers. These improvements will markedly improve the use of the hall all year round.
At the same time the new road layout and increased public space will create a welcoming arrival point for visitors to the town, helping to make Dunoon even more appealing to tourists and businesses.
Once completed it is hoped the Queen’s Hall facilities will help encourage people to spend more time and more money in Dunoon, boosting the local economy and supporting other investments such as the tourism development at Castle Toward.
All of these proposals were discussed and well received at a public meeting on 25 January and agreed by the project board on 3 February. The CHORD programme board will now endorse the plans before they are considered by the Executive for final approval in March.
The CHORD project is a key part of the wider Dunoon and Cowal regeneration jigsaw and will improve the waterfront area for residents and tourists, acting as a catalyst for further investment in the area.
The design team will continue working closely with partners and there will be further consultation with the public as the detail of the plans progress toward a planning application in the summer.
Chair of the Dunoon CHORD project board, Councillor Bruce Marshall said, “The Dunoon CHORD project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real difference to the town. We have exciting plans for the waterfront area with the Queen’s Hall playing a pivotal role. I am delighted at the progress made by the CHORD design team and at the decision of the project board to approve the business case. I am optimistic that external funding can be gained to enhance the project.
“If approved this will mean an investment of almost £9m in Dunoon which sends a strong signal of the council’s commitment to the town’s positive future. We anticipate this will encourage other investments, such as the tourism development at Castle Toward. We already have a major tourism development at Hunters Quay Holiday Village with those year round visitors playing a large part in the town’s economy and an enhanced Queen’s Hall and waterfront will prove an attraction for them too.
“Looking at the bigger picture, it is extremely encouraging to see a number of business, community and council led projects in the area all progressing toward repositioning Dunoon in the visitor market. I will be working whenever possible to ensure that the combined benefits of these are realised for the local community. I wish to thank AECOM and David Torrance in particular for the work he has done within the community to help get us to this stage.”
Further information and updates on the Dunoon CHORD plans will be made available on the Council website pages at http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/chord-project/dunoon-waterfront-project.