Public invited to shape vision for regeneration of ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’

Scottish Canals and Argyll & Bute Council are inviting the public to help shape the future of the Crinan Canal Corridor.

A series of collaborative design workshops, known as a ‘charrette,’ will run from the 27th to the 30th of April, with the local community, stakeholders and relevant agencies asked to work together to create a shared vision for the canal corridor and the communities on its banks.

Supported by technical experts and designers, it’s hoped the sessions will generate a number of ideas and proposals to help maximise the tourism, leisure and business opportunities offered by the canal and ensure the long-term future of Ardrishaig, Crinan and Lochgilphead. The results of the four-day event will be showcased in an exhibition held on the final day.

Christopher Breslin, Strategic Planning and Design Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “The Crinan Canal may often be called ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’ but the waterway and the local area has so much more to offer than just easier access to the sailing grounds of the Western Isles.

“Whether you’re undertaking an adventure on the miles of forest walks and cycle routes, sampling the incredible seafood and atmosphere in some of the area’s many pubs and restaurants, or exploring the canal by boat, boot or bike, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

“The Crinan Corridor Charrette will develop a shared vision for how we celebrate that unique character, create even more opportunities for business, leisure and tourism, and build a sustainable future for the area and the canal at its heart. I’d encourage anyone who lives, works, studies or runs a business in the area to come along to shape its future.”

Taking place in Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig and Cairnbaan, the workshops form part of #CanalMagic – a public programme supported by the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – which celebrates the innovation, heritage and economic value of Scotland’s canals by encouraging cyclists, runners, walkers, boaters, canalside communities and local businesses to record what the nation’s inland waterways mean to them.

The Crinan Corridor Charrette will develop a shared vision for how we celebrate that unique character, create even more opportunities for business, leisure and tourism, and build a sustainable future for the area and the canal at its heart. I’d encourage anyone who lives, works, studies or runs a business in the area to come along to shape its future.

Christopher Breslin, Strategic Planning and Design Manager at Scottish Canals

Fergus Murray, Head of Economic Development at Argyll and Bute Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to shape a shared vision for the area, which will inform the priorities for regenerating the area as well as the next local development plan.

“The Crinan Canal Corridor is vital to the local economy – for local peoples’ quality of life, our tourism industry, wildlife and leisure activities.  Rethinking the link between the canal and the communities along it will help us unlock its huge potential, leading to knock on benefits across the wider Mid-Argyll area.

“With professional experts on hand to help develop ideas we will create a shared action plan to deliver what everyone wants – a sustainable economic future for the area.

“The results of the design workshop will add to a solid evidence base which will help us to attract further development funding to the area and inform our priorities.”

The charrette approach, which has been devised by the Scottish Government, has already proven successful in unlocking regeneration opportunities across Scotland, with the £2 million revitalisation of Bowling Basin on the Forth & Clyde Canal a recent example.

Full information on the Crinan Corridor charrette programme can be found at http://bit.ly/CrinanCorridor

Upcoming workshops

27th April – Lochgilphead Baptist Church 

28th April – Ardrishaig North Hall

29th April – Lochgilphead Community Centre

30th April – Ardrishaig Public Hall

Notes to Editors

Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Union, Monkland, Forth & Clyde, Crinan and Caledonian Canals. As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for 251 bridges, 212 buildings, 256 locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day

The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles. The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year

For more information, visit www.scottishcanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter

Charrette Mainstreaming programme

The Scottish Government’s Charrette Mainstreaming programme is an initiative aimed at demonstrating the value of collaborative design workshops, known as charrettes, in harnessing the knowledge and expertise within communities, increasing the speed and efficiency of plan-making, and embedding design at an early stage to improve the quality of outcomes.

The current programme is using the charrette approach to demonstrate how ideas and options for the future development of communities can be developed for incorporation in Local Development Plans and is part of the process of modernising the planning system in Scotland.

Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design

The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016. It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural. Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
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