Hermitage Park – project update July 2014

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Published Date: 

1 Jul 2014 - 15:13

Development Officer recruited and tenders returned

In early January Argyll and Bute Council, working with the Friends of Hermitage Park, received confirmation from the Heritage Lottery that their bid for a grant of up to £2,087,000 to regenerate Argyll and Bute’s only urban park had received first round approval.

This first round approval includes a grant of £169,700 to carry out the development phase of the project.

This initial grant will pay for the development of a whole park plan which will include proposals for the A listed monument and memorial gardens, investigative works to deal with the problems of flooding and erosion and a community consultation process.

Ultimately the aim of the project is to restore the park’s significant heritage, carry out major repair work and reconfigure the recreational space for the benefit of the public. Input from users of the park is hugely important and will inform the long-term regeneration plans. 

The development phase will end with the submission of the stage two application which, it is hoped, will be in August 2015. 

In order to be in a position to move forward with a second stage submission significant work must be done in the background to ensure the project is on a firm footing and can deliver the ultimate goal – regeneration and development of the park.

The council have successfully recruited Melissa Simpson in to the role of Project Development Officer for Hermitage Park. Melissa works as a gardens and design landscape adviser for the National Trust for Scotland and is on a 12 month sabbatical from the trust to the council to take the project through the development phase.

Melissa’s role with the trust involves providing technical horticultural advice, ensuring that any work carried out in the trust’s gardens maintains the historical integrity and assisting with garden maintenance and conservation. She covers a wide area - advising at some of the most historically significant garden’s within the trust’s portfolio including Culzean Castle, Newhailes and Pitmedden

The involvement of the local community is vital to the success of the project. As a first step, we are contacting as many organisations who currently use the park to establish a user group, ensuring that all potential users have a say in how the park is developed.

To date the user group has the following representatives:

  • The Friends of Hermitage Park Association
  • Transition Helensburgh
  • PSSP (Play-park group)
  • SOS Fitness
  • Helensburgh Bowling Club

If you represent a user group and would like to be included please contact Melissa at melissa.simpson@argyll-bute.gov.uk

In addition to the user group there will be a series of public consultation events, allowing as many people as possible a chance to have their say in how the park is redeveloped.

The council has received responses to its tendering process for consultants to work with the steering group in taking the project through the development phase – producing a conservation management plan and a masterplan. We hope to announce the appointment of consultants in the near future

As part of the community engagement aspect of this project we will be producing regular newsletters to keep interested parties informed, with the first one to be sent out by the end of the month.

If you would like to sign up to the newsletter go to: www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/hermitage-park