Contractors to take on £2m park project are named

New look: Workers are removing a wall around the shelter in the park
New look: Workers are removing a wall around the shelter in the park

A £2m project to redevelop Hermitage Park in Helensburgh has taken another step forward.

Award-winning landscape architects Gillespies have been named as consultants to take the development phase of the project forward, Argyll and Bute Council announced this week.

In early January the council, working with the Friends of Hermitage Park, received confirmation from the Heritage Lottery Fund that their bid for a grant of up to £2,087,000 to regenerate Argyll and Bute’s only urban park had received first round approval.

This first round approval includes a grant of £169,700 to carry out the development phase of the project.

Some construction work has already taken place, with the council’s amenity services team removing an unsightly wall around the shelter in the park.

Part of the initial grant will pay for Gillespies to develop a whole park plan which will include proposals for the A-listed monument and memorial gardens, investigative works to deal with flooding and erosion problems, and a community consultation process.

Gillespies have worked on complex and high-profile design projects, from St Andrew Square in Edinburgh to Razdory Central Park in Moscow.

Jon Simmons, Gillespies’ project manager for the Hermitage Park project, said he was delighted to have won the commission.

“Surrounded by a team of talented professionals we are aware of the sensitivities associated with the park and the high regard in which it is held by locals and visitors alike,” he added.

“Our approach to landscape design is linked to our core values: design stems from an awareness and appreciation of placemaking.

“It is through understanding, interpreting and revealing the inherent qualities of an area that the practice can contribute to the creation of a dynamic and holistic plan for the redevelopment of the park.’’

The council’s executive director for development and infrastructure, Pippa Milne, said: ‘’We are thrilled to have such a renowned consulting firm on board for the development phase of this exciting £2m investment project.

“This background work is vitally important to ensuring the second stage application is successful and we can move forward with the physical works to bring the park back to its former glory.’’

The development phase will end with the submission of the stage two application in August 2015.

As well as the HLF grant, the Friends of Hermitage Park community group have committed to raising a further £20,000 towards the project and will be holding vents in the coming months, with details to follow.

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