Argyll and Bute Council has endorsed the outcome of a referendum held in Helensburgh to choose a new design for the town’s Colquhoun Square.
An informal referendum gave residents the opportunity to vote for one of three design options for the square and Design Option 3 with a straight road through Colquhoun Square and an increased proportion of green space received 60% of the votes.
At their meeting on 28 June the Council agreed to progress Option 3 in consultation with the Helensburgh Public Realm Improvement (CHORD) Project Board.
After the meeting the Helensburgh & Lomond Area Leader, Councillor James Robb said:
“This exercise has been a huge achievement by the Council and the Design Team in such a short space of time and a tremendous success in terms of public participation and a definitive outcome.
“This Council is committed to upgrading roads and pavements, increasing parking, providing the desired community events space and improving the public spaces in the town centre. The area covered by the project extends from Helensburgh Central Station to William Street and from West King Street to the sea shore. Colquhoun Square is a small but very important part of the project and we had to get it right.
“Given that Council commitment to deliver this economic boost to the town it is clear why “do nothing” could not be an option for Colquhoun Square in the referendum. As it is the claimed 2,400 objectors to the previous proposal have been reduced to a very small number who made a protest vote. It is hoped that continuing this better community engagement and communication going forward will further increase support for the project.
“The cost implications of any of the options being chosen would have been managed within the ring fenced budget. The decision to progress Option 3 will, after all additional cost are deducted, actually realise an estimated £48,000 cost saving. The Project Board will consider how best to apply that to further enhance the project.
“Even the delay in the project start date has brought a positive benefit. The Winter Festival can now take place in a Square unaffected by construction works. This exciting new annual event with its ice rink and many other attractions will provide the grand finale before the improvement works start.
“The Council will now take forward the Public Realm Improvement Project to completion as quickly as possible to make Helensburgh a better place to live, to visit and to do business.”
The referendum was part of the Helensburgh Public Realm Improvement (PRI) Project under Argyll & Bute Council’s CHORD Programme of investment in major towns.