People in Dunoon will benefit from an extra £250,000 investment in the esplanade, which will see significant improvements going ahead as a first phase of a longer term plan to improve walking and cycling routes in and around the town, making it easier for people to get around and encouraging healthier travel choices.
The council’s strategic transportation team secured almost £1million of funding from the Sustrans Community Links Programme earlier this year, £250,000 of which has been committed to this project. The Sustrans award was match funded by a quarter of a million pounds from the local authority’s regeneration budget for Dunoon, funded through the CHORD initiative, with this work designed to complement the public realm enhancements planned as part of the Queen’s Hall project.
The entire esplanade from the town centre to Kirn will be resurfaced with new asphalt, ensuring a uniform look, with red stone chips rolled into the mixture, identifying it is a mixed-use surface for both pedestrians and cyclists.
There will also be some changes outside the leisure centre, with the bus lay-by which narrows the path being removed, allowing the footway to be widened. Rather than a lay-by, the council will install a new, modern bus shelter, meaning services continue as normal and people have somewhere to wait.
The project will also see the footway next to the old marshalling area, which will be replaced as part of the road realignment element of the Queen’s Hall project, widened. The three historic bus shelters which block the pavement will be removed, allowing for easier pedestrian movement. These shelters will be donated to local transport museums - one shelter will go to the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust and the other two will go to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, allowing people to view them in their historic context, rather than having to navigate round them as they go about their daily business.
Two new access points from Alexandra Parade will also be created, at Dhailling and Ashgrove Care Home, allowing for easier access to the esplanade.
Given the way the Sustrans funding works, that money will have to be spent before the end of March 2015. The aim is to complete the entire project by then, however, given the unpredictability of the weather, it is difficult to say for certain. The entire works will certainly be completed by the summer, giving local residents and visitors a fantastic new esplanade to enjoy.
The tender has gone out and a contractor will hopefully be secured early in the new year, with work beginning towards the end of January.
Going forward, the strategic transport team, with their successful track record in applying for grant funding, will be applying for the next rounds of funding, from sources such as Sustrans, with a view to making further improvements from the pier down towards the west bay.
Strategic Transportation Manager, Moya Ingram, said of the project: ‘’We’re pleased to be moving forward with this project and have been working closely with colleagues across the council, both in the public transport and regeneration areas, to ensure that this project complements their objectives.
‘’As one of our key coastal towns, the council has made a big commitment to improving Dunoon both for residents and visitors, and this project will play its part in that. With an improved esplanade it should be easier for people to get about, hopefully encouraging them to make healthier travel choices. This is all part of our wider strategy to make the most of Dunoon’s waterfront, unlocking its significant development opportunities and creating a welcoming gateway for visitors.
‘’The work will hopefully be completed by the end of March 2015, although this is an ambitious timescale. We’ll be keeping people updated on the progress of the works so keep an eye out on the council’s website and in the local paper.’’