Your Kirkwall is a council led project which seeks to have as wide an engagement with people and organisations for the future development of Orkney’s capital. A series of public events and consultations is being managed by PAS.
The 26th – 27th of January saw a series of follow up meetings to those held in November. Options for the future development of Kirkwall over the next 20 years were on view and a presentation led discussion explained the thinking so far.
The interim engagement report can be read and downloaded : YourKirkwall_interim_engagement_report
Many areas of Kirkwall are zoned for housing and future development may question if this is needed and where it should be located. There are three possibilities:
- developing outwards
- corridor development
- developing in the centre
The main part of the presentation and discussion was centred on the areas of the town for development and the options for what that could include.
The Town Centre
Reactions to previous consultations have covered everything from ‘don’t change the historic nature of the town’ to parking and traffic management. Comments also praised the work of BID.
One area which it was felt had great potential is currently occupied by the indoor market, the Oil Tanks and the ambulance premises. It was felt that taken as a complete package this area could be extensively redesigned to improve this location. It could be a mixture of residential and commercial occupancy. Approaches to the owners of the properties has got nowhere so far and there would be consultations at each stage however compulsory purchase is always a possibility if this was shown to be an important site.
The Town Centre West
PAS have used as a guide for where housing development should go ahead first as the 20 minutes walk rule. So for residents it would be at most a 20 minute walk to the town centre which it is hoped would encourage less car usage and a more active lifestyle. Cycle routes are also seen as an important element of the design.
For many visitors this is the main route into town and currently is unattractive. A possible area for development would be the area around the Powerball arena and this would be most likely for housing. It has been calculated that this would result in no loss of the current parking numbers at 1,389 spaces available. The Power Station is another possible development building once it is no longer in use.
The Peedie Sea/Picky Area
Traffic management is a considerable issue here but how the flow of vehicles affects the function of junctions needs to be seen as a whole.
Developing a town park is a popular idea for the Peedie Sea with a boardwalk ensuring people can walk the whole way round. Planting and pathways whilst retaining the views to the cathedral would need to be incorporated into the design.
This is a potential site for housing with perhaps more character to the buildings for example with the use of colour. Outdoor storage with space for bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility vehicles and buggies is part of the Scottish Government’s Gold Planning standard and it was mooted that this is what we should be working towards. Building Standards Scotland
Current community projects will be written into the future development plan which would enable them to access support and funding.
Hatston and the Seafront
This is the face of Kirkwall that visitors from cruise ships see and as such improvements to the visual appearance of the Industrial estate are suggested. A possibility would be a visitor point where information would be available. Access to the countryside from this area with paths to Wideford Hill, along the sea front and into town are options.
The future development of Kirkwall affects not just those who live and work in the town but all Orcadians. PAS is working with planners in Orkney Islands Council to enable people and communities to design the future town. Young people have had an important input so far in the initiative because it is their Kirkwall of the future that is being designed. It is important, however, for islanders to engage with the project bringing their local knowledge and wishes into the process.
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Your Kirkwall website
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
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