Although there has been a lot of pre charrette work completed to date, yesterday was the 1st day of the main charrette events. There were three events:
- a drop-in event during the day
- focus session on the historic assets and
- an evening workshop on the vision of what Balloch could potentially be in ten years’ time.
Discussions highlighted Balloch’s great number of cultural gems and it was worthwhile having a specific focus session on the historic environment with West Dunbartonshire Council and Historic Environment Scotland. The gem with the highest profile is Balloch Castle which is owned by Glasgow City Council and leased by West Dunbartonshire Council. A lot of work is required from stakeholders to restore the Castle.
Another historic gem is the original castle which is closer to the River Leven and is barely recognisable in the landscape. Another future project could be to landscape this area to make it a clear feature and provide illustrations highlighting and explaining its relevance for locals and visitors.
Woodbank House is another gem in Balloch and is solely a shell of a building. The House and stables are less visible from Old Luss Road due to vegetation but minor landscaping measures could make them more visible… wouldn’t it be great to see the Georgian front elevation again. The House and stables could be restored with supporting development in the grounds around the house. The site is proposed for tourism uses but some flexibility would make sense to ensure the building is restored.
The evening event – the first charrette workshop
Our 1st evening Charrette…was great. It was packed out, locals and community groups were present, we had a photographer there for the local papers and everyone got involved in the discussions. Thanks to everyone who spared their time on a rainy February night to share their ideas on Balloch’s future. Nick Wright led the discussions along with Ewan from 7N Architects. Balloch Castle and Country Park continue to be the most talked about project. Desire for the castle to be re-opened and reused with a public element of café and toilets was widely agreed. Another matter which there was consensus on was the development to link Balloch centre to Lomond Shores as they currently feel disconnected. People suggested creating a better sense of place in the centre of Balloch at key arrival points at the railway station and bus station.
Other matters raised include improvements to lower path in Country Park for easier access to all, better signage to direct visitors, greater number of facilities for young folk, greater safety along tow path adjacent to River Leven, improved views of wider landscape / scenery and greater access to water. Have I missed any? Let us know.