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Charrette Day 3 – Making it happen

Day 3 of the Balloch charrette was an exciting and busy one with things moving forward at a fast pace.

Our afternoon drop-in session saw a steady flow of people keen to view the initial proposals created by 7N architects. An evening workshop followed on from this and Nick Wright kicked things off with a presentation highlighting the two key points that had emerged from the first public workshops:

  • Balloch as a gateway to Loch Lomond
  • A need to enhance the village character

Click on image to enlarge 

And  a second and complimentary layer of emerging themes:

  • Making better and more use of Balloch Country Park and castle
  • Connecting Loch Lomond Shores with the village
  • Restoration of Maid of the Loch
  • Jobs
  • Realising the full potential of the place

Following Nick’s introduction and insights, Ewan Anderson of 7N Architects took us through the emerging proposals focussing on three key areas:

  • West Riverside
  • East Riverside and the Country Park and castle;
  • The village centre

You can see the full presentation of the Balloch Charrette Workshop 3 here.

For West Riverside it was about improving connections between the village and Loch Lomond Shores. This reflects views expressed at workshop 2 and would involve opening up West Riverside to improve views where people are walking, allowing the loch to be seen easier and sooner as people approach from the village. There would be a formal path through it and activity pods dotted throughout.

Click on image to enlarge 

Proposals for East Riverside are similar – the park and castle should be easy for people to find their way too. If they are purely relying on signage something has to improve, and the castle has to feel less distant.

There were some excellent examples given of how more could be made of Balloch Park –, and of where communities have got involved in the restoration of historic buildings –

A new bridge was suggested linking east and west riverside, and not just any bridge, but a curved bridge – come viewing platform, providing Loch Lomond with its No.1 ‘selfie-shot’! Daft or unrealistic? That’s what some people might once have said about the Kelpies!

Enhancement of the village centre is high on the agenda of Balloch residents and the proposals included the creation of two new areas of accessible open spaces  – a station square and a village square, with a shared surface, pedestrian-priority carriageway between them and new lighting and planting. These spaces would encourage activities and dwell time, animating the village centre.

Attendees were also assured that parking issues were not being forgotten about, but were integral to all proposals. There will be more to follow on this.

Nick reminded us that in parallel to the charrette events, an ‘online charrette’ is taking place via Facebook and Twitter, people are engaging in the process and putting forward their ideas which are all being fed in.

Click on image to enlarge 

Those attending were then encouraged to view the proposals up close and make comment – and they didn’t hold back! There was a flurry of post-its and a buzz about the room as a variety of views were written down and discussed – and we now look forward to the charrette team taking all these views on board ahead of the final exhibition which is taking place on Tuesday 22 March from 12-7pm at the National Park Headquarters.

We hope to see you there!

– Blog by Alan Williamson, Planning Team Leader, West Dunbartonshire Council

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