Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead Public Realm and Access Study seek to deliver detailed design proposals for a series of access and public realm improvements. These improvements will serve to provide better cycling and walking connections between Ardrishaig, Lochgilphead and the Shared Education Campus to the South East of Lochgilphead, and improve the urban realm in Ardrishaig.
Aims and Objectives
The overarching aims and objectives of the public realm study are:
- To analyse the existing situation and develop a series of design studies for ways to improve connectivity between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead.
- To develop placemaking and provide facilities which encourage greater use of the public realm and support more participation in active travel.
- To provide new, and improve existing, infrastructure that will encourage people to cycle or walk on everyday journeys.
- To support local community facilities and help them to flourish.
- To provide subtle lighting proposals which sensitively balance the requirement of safety and increased use within existing built environment adjacent to residential properties.
- To include artwork which is to be undertaken as a collaborative process with the local community, with emphasis on reinforcing a sense of place, way-finding and orientation, and revealing the heritage of the two villages.
- Connecting water front to the canal.
Study Area and key locations
Scottish Canals undertook a successful charrette for the Crinan Canal in 2016 - ‘Rethink the Link’. The key outcomes from the charrette included a desire to create a continuous, attractive waterside route, create stronger and better connections to Crinan Canal and develop the public realm within the villages. The Public Realm and Access Study, therefore, focus on improving the ease, attractiveness and awareness of walking and cycling between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead utilising the Crinan Canal and improving the public realm at Ardrishaig.
The study area comprises the urban areas of the lochside settlements Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig in Argyll and Bute with focus on the three identified key locations; Corran Roundabout, Ardrishaig North and Pier Square in Ardrishaig. The design proposals are developed to be working as stand-alone projects that will improve the access, usability and public realm within the individual sites. At the same time, they are weaved together in design, detail and intent with the overall aim to improve the links and connections between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead via landscape design, active travel improvements, public art and lighting strategies. Furthermore, the study provides overarching design and improvement strategies, which can be implemented in other local public development projects.
Community Engagement and Consultation Process
The preferred design options for Corran Roundabout, Ardrishaig North and Pier Square have been informed by outcomes from the engagement of community focus groups and key stakeholders to ensure valuable local input and feedback on the proposed design for the public realm and overall improvement strategies.
To finalise the study, the preferred design options were presented at a public consultation in Ardrishaig Public Hall in October 2017. Here the local community and stakeholders had an opportunity to respond to on the design proposals, ask further questions and give final feedback. The feedback has afterwards where possible been incorporated into the preferred design options for the three key locations.
More than one project
The essential goal of the Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead project is to celebrate and improve connections and to reinforce destinations. The design option for Corran Roundabout, Ardrishaig North and Pier Square, therefore, focuses on creating improved public realms and safer crossings for pedestrians and cyclists across the A83 at several locations. Furthermore, public art with a certain level of verticality will be installed along the waterfront, along with the canal and at key locations to reinforce the visual connection.
The design proposals are developed to be working as stand-alone projects that will improve the access, usability and public realm within the individual sites. At the same time, they are weaved together in design, detail and intent with the overall aim to improve the links and connections between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead via landscape design, active travel improvements, public art and lighting strategies.
Furthermore, the study provides overarching design and improvement strategies, which can be implemented in other local public development projects.
- Strong visual connection to the Crinan Canal, especially when approaching from Lochgilphead.
- Safe crossing points at the roundabout for travellers by foot and by bike, enhancing the active travel link.
- The path from the roundabout to Lochgilphead to be widened to a dual cycle and pedestrian route, enhancing the cyclist to the south side of the road to secure a safe off-road route undisturbed by crossing traffic.
- Opportunities to include and upgrade the existing car park to create a strong pedestrian link to the towpath for dog walking, cycling or general leisure walking.
- Create a series of public realm scenarios along the waterfront, with interventions creating the strong links along and across to the canal guiding pedestrians and cyclists safely around Ardrishaig.
- Redesign the area to free up space for quality public realm by restructuring the existing parking.
- Create strong connections physically and visually between the waterfront and the canal across the A83.
- Retain and improve the well-functioning public spaces like the memorial garden.
- Create a flexible community space which will be a public space, which can be used, for example, for informal catering or seasonal events for the community, but can also be used for overflow parking if needed.
- Redesign the area to free up space for quality public realm by restructuring the existing parking
- Create a flexible community space at the square with the perimeter of the square being an animated edge for retail and shops and possibly a café with outdoor seating.
- Allow for a central traffic route to provide access by vehicle, but the design of the square to indicate that this is a part of a shared space within the square.
- Integrate a strong animated grid which will accommodate the same amount of parking placed in the central space, but these can also be taken out on occasion and be used as a flexible event space.
- The geometry of the square seeks to create and engage with the streetscape by extending the geometry onto and across the road. The change of surface on the road will create a strong connection across and up to the towpath and canal.
An Overarching Strategy
The overall aim of the active travel strategy is to reinforce and promote safe and attractive links between Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig. The towpath along the canal already present an excellent opportunity to travel between the two villages either by bike, foot or canoe, and there are opportunities to reinforce this active travel corridor via clear signing and information at/about connections, destinations and cross points. Furthermore, the active travel links can benefit from additional routes and the upgrading of designated paths for pedestrians and cyclists, local placemaking interventions and destinations. A clear code of conduct for the path would reinsure users on safety concerns and promote increased use.
The Report and Next Steps
The delivery for the study was an extensive report, which was shared with the public via the Scottish Canals web site.
The report documented the design process, consultation outcomes and preferred design options for Corran Roundabout, Ardrishaig North and Pier Square in Ardrishaig with costing. The projects are being taken forward by Argyll & Bute Council, and Scottish Canals and delivery of these are subject to future 3rd party funding bids.