‘Money is there’ but front green pro­ject will take up to two years

Argyllshire Advertiser - - NEWS - Colin Cameron editor@ar­gyll­shiread­ver­tiser.co.uk

‘... 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.’

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Lochgilp­head front green - peo­ple will have their say next sum­mer on the plans.

Coun­cil­lor Sandy Tay­lor.

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