Options for the Hermitage Park redevelopment on public display at the end of the month

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Published Date: 

11 Feb 2015 - 09:44

People in Helensburgh will be able to input into the plans for the redevelopment of Hermitage Park at public events on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th February.

The events run from 10am – 12noon and from 6pm – 8pm on the Friday and from 10am – 4pm on the Saturday in the Victoria Halls. There will also be a marquee in Colquhoun Square from 12pm – 2pm on Friday.

The council is seeking public views on three proposed options and for people to put forward a ‘list of wants’. A weighted matrix has been developed to allow the design team to assess public opinion on the options. This considers things like: achievability; affordability; support for the wider initiatives; popularity; consistency with the council’s economic development aims; sustainability; likelihood of increasing use.

The council’s depute leader, Helensburgh Councillor Ellen Morton, said: ‘’I would encourage people to come along to these events and comment on the three proposals; we are eager to hear your views and use them to shape the plans for the park and its future use.

‘’As well as this public event the council will be working with key stakeholders such as local community groups and schools throughout February and March to get their views on the plans.

‘’These plans have been informed by the previous ‘blank page’ consultation event in early December which gathered initial thoughts on people’s likes and dislikes and through a series of stakeholder meetings in January. Following this exercise the final plans will be presented to the public at the end of April.

‘’We want to give people the redeveloped park that they want.’’

In early January Argyll and Bute Council, working with the Friends of Hermitage Park, received confirmation from the Heritage Lottery Fund 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.

Following this consultation the design team will be developing the single park plan together with accompanying documents for submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in August 2015.

As well as the HLF grant, the Friends of Hermitage Park community group have committed to raising a further £20,000 towards the project and will be holding a number of events in the coming months, with details to follow.

To get involved in the project please contact our Project Development Officer, Melissa Simpson at melissa.simpson@argyll-bute.gov.uk


Design Principles

From the consultation and design workshop some overriding principles have been adopted.

  • concentrate resources in the heart of the park
  • keep the informal nature of the burn
  • provide enhanced facilities
  • preserve and explain the key historic features
  • open up views and make the park more accessible
  • repair key path network and highlight entrances
  • improve and increase car parking

The concepts and ideas shown on the options have been developed through consultation with local people, groups and organisations. The next stage will be to determine which elements are the most popular and which can be incorporated into a good park design.  The budget will not allow for everything to be included so the art will be to develop a design that fulfils the aims of the Heritage Lottery Fund and that addresses the above design principles.

Option 1 - Heritage

This option adopts a low key approach to the improvements.  The core area around a refurbished pavilion contains the relocated children's play area, a new crazy golf course and a small all weather bowling area. There is also a small multi use games area and a new events space. Tree clearance opens up the heart of the park.

The shelter has been replaced with a series of raised beds and seats that form the outline of the historic Hermitage House. The formal gardens are reshaped and replanted to make maintenance easier.

The remains of Millig Mill are retained with low key interpretation to tell the story. The Millig Burn is preserved and made safe as are all the paths and bridges. The Well is cleaned up and the surrounding terraced gardens are repaired.

The railings and walls around the walled garden are made safe and the pool is restored. A new community garden is created in the space vacated by the play area.

Option 2 - Formal

Option 2 takes inspiration from the walled garden and the grid layout of the town. The designed gardens follow a strict geometry allowing a series of avenues and vistas. The formal gardens at the front of the walled garden are redesigned to create a raised walkway and viewpoint.

The pavilion is replaced by a smaller purpose built unit that contains a small cafe, toilets and meeting space. From here play and sport equipment can be hired. The informal nature of the Millig Burn is retained and the woodland is developed as ornamental  woodland gardens and an area of natural play. 

Option 3 - Water

The final option uses the parks water expressed in different forms. The spring is shaped to form water gardens leading to a multi-purpose events space that also has fountains. The reflecting pool next to the war memorial is refurbished to create a sculptural film of water as a mirror. The Millig Burn is repaired and cleared to provide easy access. The well is also restored next to redesigned formal gardens.

The age graded play areas are located around the pavilion with a new crazy golf course designed with help from local schools. The adjacent multi use games area at Parklands School is linked to the park in a redesigned access.