Helensburgh CHORD Referendum: big majority for Option 3

In a vindication of the informal referendum arising from the motion put to Argyll and Bute Council by Councillor James Robb, Lead Councillor for the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee, the residents of Helensburgh voted yesterday to keep the architectural geometry of Colquhoun Square as it’s design dictates.

In a turnout of 1,005, Option 3 – with Princes Street continuing to run straight through the square, probably with ‘traffic calming’ measures of some kind – was the runaway preference of 60% of those voting, with a 20% overall majority.

Voting percentages were:

  • 19%: Option 1
  • 21%: Option 2
  • 60%: Option 3

Of the two architecturally illiterate options – 1 and 2 – the public preference was for version 2, the greener version of the two.

The preferred option of the CHORD programme was Option 1 – what we have described as, literally, the hardcore solution.

Attention now needs to be paid to the wider implications of the fact that this referendum has shown a gulf between brutalist public sector approaches to town planning and the more measures preferences of the wider public.

The matter will be considered at the Council meeting on Thursday 28th June for a final decision on which Option to take forward.

Councillor James Robb, who has consistently campaigned to save Colquhoun Square from its intended fate, says: ‘All voters in the Helensburgh & Lomond area had the opportunity to participate in this innovative process and I am delighted that so many have responded so positively.

‘This Council has a different approach and as has been shown with this referendum; it can deliver for its residents.

‘The referendum has been a huge success due to the tremendous effort by the Council Directors, Officers and Staff involved and on behalf of all members I would publicly thank them.

‘The Council, informed by the referendum and consultation will decide on Thursday how to progress the PRI Project. I am sure all councillors will then wish to see the chosen option taken to completion as quickly as possible.’

We would express a hope that, if Option 3 is adopted by the Council, the twee kinks in the boundaries of the grassed sections in the two  northern quadrants are replaced by the simpler geometry governed by the square itself.

And this decision  means that the lovely ‘Comet’ lamps will remain as as the grace note of the square.

Well done Helensburgh.

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6 Responses to Helensburgh CHORD Referendum: big majority for Option 3

  1. Although not our preferred option we are delighted that so many of the townsfolk turned out for the referendum vote. Pleased also that the ‘comet’ lamp standards will be retained (hopefully painted and returned to original working order!) Let us hope that matters can proceed speedily after the Council meeting due this coming Thursday.

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  2. Good outcome – hope you’re right about the Comet Lamps – there were a lot of mutterings that they were to go whatever the outcome…..

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  3. Following the new council’s Oban area committee’s intelligent decision on the Oban transit marina, it’s reasonable to expect the Helensburgh area committee to be equally thoughtful in deciding on the Colquhoun Square options. Today’s Architect’s Journal piece on Helensburgh (in the post above) is very timely comment by their lead writer, a former resident of Helensburgh.

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  4. Option 3 means a start delay of up to 10 months. It is to be hoped this does not add costs or provide an excuse not to progress at all. There are a lot of people still saying :” We’ll believe it when we see it,” Clearly the very low turnout in the referendum shows most don’t really give a toss anyway.

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  5. why was there not an option to maintain the status quo? this is what the vast majority of local people want! If the council have so much money simply “lying about” ( rumored to be SIX MILLION POUNDS!!!) why dont they spend it on more important issues such as bringing back A&E services to The vale Of Leven hospital?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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