‘Money is there’ but front green project will take up to two years
‘... the delays are associated with making sure we have the right design and best value for money’
‘Here we go again’ was the opening remark by community council convener Andy Buntin as discussions turned to an update on the town’s long-mooted front green improvements.
To Lochgilphead Community Council members, it seems Argyll and Bute Council has been talking about improvements to this public space for an eternity – with many a false start over the past two years and more.
At the latest community council meeting on Monday June 11, Mr Buntin was joined in expressing exasperation at the apparent slow progress by Argyll and Bute councillor Sandy Taylor.
‘What bothers me is that it is taking so long,’ said Councillor Taylor, before he went on to assure community councillors that the money to carry out enhancements to the green ‘is definitely there’.
There is £3m in the council’s Tarbert and Lochgilphead Regeneration Fund.
Much of the Tarbert cash will be spent redesigning the junction at the fire station, while in Ardrishaig there is investment in the egg shed building on the old Gleaner site into an arts space along with work to better connect Ardrishaig with the canal.
Lochgilphead’s share of the £3m regeneration pot is £1.6 million, to be spent on upgrading the front green and Colchester Square.
Argyll and Bute Council has issued invitations to tender for the project and a main contractor should be appointed by the end of July. A design will need to be drawn up before a public consultation can be carried out, probably next summer.
According to Argyll and Bute Council, after a final design is agreed and planning approved, work should begin on site by September 2019. The target date for handover is autumn 2020, with final snagging to be completed beyond that.
Councillor Taylor commented: ‘I feel sure the community will be pleased to hear plans to improve the front green and Colchester Square are progressing.
‘I am disappointed at the time it will take from the allocation of funds to planned completion, but the delays are associated with making sure we have the right design and best value for money.’
Andy Buntin said he is pleased the project is moving again, adding: ‘The community council wants a play park included as part of the project, no matter what happens.’
Community council member Betty Rhodick added: 'Argyll and Bute Council needs to work closely with community organisations while all this is going on.’
An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson outlined the reasons for the Lochgilphead project being delayed: ‘As some of the other projects were at a more advanced stage, and to take full advantage of external funding opportunities, we moved forward with two other projects earlier than the Lochgilphead proposal.
‘We will shortly be appointing a design team to fully develop the proposals for Lochgilphead and look forward to continuing to work closely with the community on these plans.’
Lochgilphead front green - people will have their say next summer on the plans.
Councillor Sandy Taylor.