Following consultation with local communities and stakeholders, in which 1500 people gave their views, projects have been agreed that will make it easier for people to move around town centres easily and safely.
The plans have been made possible thanks to the Spaces for People programme - a £38M fund established by the Scottish Government and managed by Sustrans to enable safe physical distancing for people walking, wheeling and cycling.
Argyll and Bute Council successfully applied for a total of £915,000 from the fund. The original £315,000 awarded for improvements related to town centres was topped up by a further £150,000 funding. There was also an additional £450,000 to improve walking and wheeling access to schools.
After fully analysing responses from the consultation, local Area Committees have agreed to go ahead with the following projects:
Bute and Cowal
Provide a covered waiting area for Dunoon – Gourock ferry passengers to help up to 20 people physically distance;
Consult with businesses and taxi operators about a community-supported proposal to close Argyll St to traffic (other than deliveries).
Widen a short section of footway in High St (between Montague St and Castle St) while keeping access to parking for residents around the Old Courthouse.
Helensburgh and Lomond
Consultation feedback indicated that Helensburgh had sufficient space for physical distancing and so there are no longer plans to put a one-way system into Helensburgh town centre. Plans now are to resolve the small number of pinch points identified and support everyone to walk, wheel and cycle safely.
Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands
The consultation identified that the town centre already has sufficient space for physical distancing and maintaining all existing car parking spaces was seen as a priority;
Work will focus on providing a cycleway and improved pavements on the section of Ralston Road between Campbeltown Hospital and Campbeltown Grammar School which is bounded by playing fields and therefore will not require any space to be taken from the existing road;
We are looking at the Esplanade to confirm if a segregated cycleway can be accommodated without losing any existing on-street parking.
Further work is to be undertaken with partner agencies to ensure suitable access to facilities across Lochgilphead is retained and to identify how best to ensure deliveries to local businesses in Argyll Street can be facilitated. Further plans to upgrade the environment for people visiting Colchester Square and Argyll Street are being developed.
Oban, Lorn and the Isles
We are developing signage for an advisory one-way system for people using pavements. This will help with physical distancing;
Progress improved pedestrian access to Oban High School, Park Primary School and Lorn and Islands Hospital.
We want to increase space for people on Main Street while making sure there is enough access for people with limited mobility;
Alongside this, improving availability of parking spaces within the car park.
Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead for Economic Development, said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. There was a fantastic response and I think it indicates just how important our town centres are to us. Securing the funding is another indication of how Argyll and Bute’s council is doing all it can to protect its businesses and the economy.
“There’s still a bit of work to do to develop some of the plans but we aim to have them in place in the coming months.”
Notes for editor
Sustrans Funded by Scottish Government and managed by Sustrans Scotland, Spaces for People is a temporary infrastructure programme in Scotland offering funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for permitted journeys and exercise, while physical distancing is in place during Covid-19.
Sustrans is the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. We connect people and places, create liveable neighbourhoods, transform the school run and deliver a happier, healthier commute. Join us on our journey. www.Sustrans.org.uk
Sustrans contact: Seumas Skinner, Communications Officer, email: seumas.skinner@Sustrans.org.uk, 07590 815 708
Wheeling definition: Wheeling incorporates a large number of methods for getting round your local community, including using wheelchairs, mobility scooters or walking aids, travel by scooter, skateboard or roller skate and travelling with a pram or buggy.