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.