Residents of Helensburgh today have the opportunity to say exactly what they want and do not want the shape and function of their spacious and central Colquhoun Square to be.
An informal referendum is being held between 8.00am and 8.00pm today (Monday 25th June) in the main hall of the Victoria Halls.
Residents are being given three options, which have been on display at various locations and available online since 18th June.
Those eligible to vote are residents in Ward 9 Lomond North, Ward 10 Helensburgh Central and Ward 11 Helensburgh and Lomond South – and who are aged 18 or over on or before today, 25th June.
As an ‘informal referendum’ the results will not be binding but will be taken into account by the council when coming to a final decision on the direction the improvements to this principal designed feature of the Clydeside town should should take.
This is an open-handed process, asking for an informed decision on the future of this once important square – by those who will have to live with the consequences. The decision to do this was taken at the first meeting of the new council on 22nd May, following a motion put forward by Councillor James Robb, Lead Councillor for the Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee.
Council Leader, Roddy McCuish has reassured residents that: ‘The funding is ring-fenced and ready to be drawn down to progress whatever option is selected and taken forward by the council.’
The main feature of Options 1 and 2 is the silly, architecturally illiterate and practically expensive southwards curve in Princes Street as it runs E_W through the square.
This utterly destroys the designed geometry of the square, replacing the tranquil classic lines with a tricksy suburban visual irritation that will look wrong form the start and worse than wrong over time.
There will be main utilities services below Princes Street as it runs through the square.
Changing the line of that road will either incur the pointless and substantial cost of moving those utility services; or of digging up the unlovely proposed revision at serial intervals, to access the services – giving Helensburgh another running sore to live with.
If these two options, Option 1 is literally hardcore and Option 2 softened with more green.
Option 3 retains the classic geometry of Colquhoun square with Princes Street carrying straight through it – but has been unable to resist a quite awful pair of curlicues edging the grass in the two northern quadrants.
This too demonstrates architectural illiteracy, producing am ugly kitschy twiddle that really has no place in a square like this.
What;s wrong with classic geometry, first class materials and good maintenance?
See what you think – the option plans are here below.
- Option 1: Helensburgh CHORD Option 1
- Option 2: Helensburgh CHORD Option 2-1
- Option 3: Helensburgh CHORD Option 3-1
The main thing is that the council is asking for resident’s views in this quite new way.
When you are given an opportunity like this, you take it, to encourage the principle of participation.
Even if you adore the dreadful Options 1 and 2 – go and vote for them. You’ll be living with them but you’ll have taken the chance to accept responsibility for what you get.