Planners set to approve new look for square

The controversial revamp of Helensburgh’s Colquhoun Square has been recommended for approval by planners.

Following a ‘local referendum‘ Argyll and Bute councillors agreed to develop the square as part of the town’s CHORD programme in a way which involved the least change of the three options available.

But council needed to apply to its own planning department for permission, and next Thursday councillors on the planning, protective services and licensing committee are asked to give the go-ahead at their meeting in Lochgilphead.

Three objectors, including the West Kirk, had listed objections but these were dismissed in the planning officials’ report.

Concern that the Comet lamps will be scrapped is acknowledged, but the report states:”This is a minor material planning consideration. The Comet light  standards are Victorian in design, do not provide the desired level of illumination, are not as energy efficient and there are questions regarding their structural integrity…it is still the intention  to remove them, assess their condition and  look at reusing them elsewhere.”

An objector also stated: “There appear to be over 100 polished granite bollards strewn about the square with no apparent reason why they should be there other than to mark the boundaries of roads.  This is an expensive indulgence which could be limited to effect a saving.”

But the planners countered that this was to discourage ‘errant vehicles’ driving into public spaces areas.

They argue that overall the amendments are ‘comparatively minor’ to the plan which was already approved (before elections in May resulted in a change in council leadership), and will make the town centre more attractive, boosting tourism.

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