The Waterfront Project to build a new swimming pool and leisure centre on the pierhead now looms large on the horizon and the first public consultation ‘drop-in’ on the subject takes place in Victoria Halls on Monday 26 March hosted by Argyll & Bute Council. This is in addition to the information panels with comment sheets available now in the Victoria Halls, the swimming pool and the library. This consultation process is part of the statutory Pre-Application Consultation demanded by planning authorities.
However, overarching this process is the importance of the community in agreeing all aspects of the project such as the position of the building on the pier, the function and content of the building and the public realm issues, e.g. parking consequent on the construction.
The Waterfront team have acknowledged the importance of community involvement by noting in their strategy document:-
- “... that the proposed development (must have) the widespread support of the local community, user groups and businesses.”
- “The benefits of extensive and inclusive community consultation are fully recognized, as community support is ultimately essential to the success of the project. Community support and buy-in will ensure that the scheme to be delivered is one that is regarded as ‘fit-for-purpose’ and is one that meets community needs.”
- “members of the public (must) continue to have a genuine opportunity to express their views on the various elements…”
Those quoted extracts clearly indicate how important community input is to the to the legitimacy of the finished project. None of the pictorial designs and layout has been agreed. None is cast in stone. Therefore, all questions, suggestions and amendments have to be considered and evaluated by the design team. The community must take more control over what happens in the town. The more rigorous and challenging the process is, the more consensual an outcome which represents value for money.
We in the Community Council emphatically urge each member of the community to assume your civic responsibility and attend the session on the 26 March.
For further details of the plans and feedback process see, https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/helensburgh-waterfront