The waterfront enhancement consists of two individual but related projects – the North Pier Maritime Visitor Facility (formerly known as the White Building) and the Oban Bay public realm enhancement scheme.
Members agreed to move forward with detailed design work on the concept design proposal for the White Building site - a new building which will enclose a circular gathering space and be covered by a timber and glass canopy.
This proposed new building will include a harbour office; additional public toilets and showers; secure locker facilities; storage and laundry; a waiting area for coach parties and cruise ship passengers and an exciting covered event space.
The area committee also agreed to the proposals for the public realm enhancement of Stafford Street, elements of which will extend into George Street, Queens Park Place and Station Square.
The improvements to Stafford Street will provide a terraced space to sit, relax and view the bay; a flexible space (with power and Wi-Fi) for small scale events and shelter with inlaid artwork and ornamental colour changing LED lighting, in keeping with the scheme at McCaig’s Tower.
The design for Station Square provides a flexible space for events; a widened seaside footway; a bespoke shelter for both bus passengers and spectators at events; flexible seating; ornamental planting; LED lighting similar to Stafford Street; like-for-like provision for taxis and a new home for the clock tower.
George Street and Queens Park Place would see bespoke seating areas, including planting and decorative lighting; an improved footway on the seafront; refurbished railings and sea wall; an interactive information point and replacement lighting along the sea wall.
These design concepts have been developed following consultations with statutory bodies and key stakeholders. Businesses directly affected by the project will be consulted throughout the design process, with the final designs being exhibited upon completion.
Policy Lead for Special Projects, Councillor Ellen Morton, said: ‘’I’m pleased to see the Oban regeneration project moving forward. These design concepts are very exciting and should deliver long lasting benefits for the people of Oban and the surrounding area.
‘’In place of the White Building we will have a purpose built state of the art facility framing the new multi-functional public space.
‘’The public realm work will give us a tailored waterfront which reflects the character of Oban and is attractive both to visitors and residents.’’
Detailed designs for these concepts will now be developed, with completed designs expected by the end of May.
Appropriate planning applications are due to be submitted in June, before being heard by the council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing (PPSL) Committee in August.
Full business cases for both projects will be developed and go before the OLI Area Committee and then the council in September.
Work is expected to begin on the North Pier in January 2015 with the demolition of the White Building.
The public realm work will be split into two phases, with Stafford Street being developed as a first phase from October 2014 to February 2015, with the remainder of the project being developed between May 2015 and February 2016.
Both of the proposals being taken forward meet the terms of the initial briefs, can be delivered within budget and within the desired 2014 – 2016 timeframe.
They also offer the flexibility to complement the longer term regeneration projects in and around the Oban area.