Kirkwall’s future development will now be shaped by Your Kirkwall which was fully backed by Orkney Islands Council on Tuesday 9th of October.
Councillor Leslie Manson, Deputy Leader of OIC said:
“This has been a very rewarding process, during which we have spoken to residents, community groups, local businesses and voluntary organisations. We also made a particular effort to engage with young people through the schools and youth organisations, because they arguably have the biggest long term stake in the future of the town.
“What started as a blank sheet of paper has become a community-based direction of travel and an ambitious vision with suggested projects that can be led either by the Council, developers or the community themselves.
“It may not be possible for all of it to be achieved during this Council term, and in this time of financial constraint some of the more expensive options may not attract sufficient funding. However, creating this blueprint for the town will help the Council and community work together to achieve as much as we can.”
There are 6 focus areas in Kirkwall.
“There is a need for a coordinated approach across all focus area projects to look for opportunities to integrate green infrastructure alongside active travel and green/open space creation/improvements. This is a town-wide design principle which all projects must relate to.“
For Kirkwall town centre the plan seeks to preserve the ‘look’ of the area with increased traffic management .
- buildings should sit on the heel of the pavement
- narrow gables should face onto the street, up to three storeys
- Shore Street should have a mix of gables and elevations with potential to go up to four storeys (on oil tanks site). Stone should feature on these elevations
- the ambulance site has the potential to go up to three storeys reduced parking should be provided in back court areas
- public car parking should be provided within the site
- pitched roofs are preferred
- use classes permitted should be 1/2/3/47/10/11 which covers residential (preferable upper floors) shops, offices, food & drink, leisure and business
- traffic management around this area, especially St Catherine’s Place and Bridge Street, should be considered as part of the redevelopment of these sites.
The Waterfront development would see more access for pedestrians and improved coastal walkways.
Parking is a significant issue with fewer spaces available in the summer months due to increased visitor numbers. It is suggested in the plan to consider on-street parking in Great Western Road but also that existing parking regulations should be enforced.
Your Kirkwall also states that new housing should be within a 20 minute walk from the town centre. The areas ear marked for development would be along Great Western Road.
“There are a number of sites which are either vacant or in use as car parks, as well as old workshops and business spaces, which are likely to become surplus to requirements over the next few years.”
Also proposed is the extension of the travel centre which it is felt is no longer big enough.
The unused Power Bowl building is to be redeveloped for housing and the Power Station to be used as a council store.
The Peedie Sea Town Park
Significant development is suggested for around the Peedie Sea with a board walk.
“Design work is to include rationalisation of the path system, structural planting (trees, wildflowers, native shrubs) and landscape enhancement including views, shelter (earth mounding) and enhancement of lighting.”
Also suggested is the installation of sculptures and art works.
The issues of traffic management in Pickaquoy Road are to be addressed and improved paths to Wideford Hill. The appearance of Hatston requires improvement. It is seen as the ‘Gateway’ to not just Kirkwall but to Orkney as the point of entry for cruise ship passengers.
There are opportunities for communities to be more involved in local developments, something which is already underway in the likes of Papdale. Orkney Islands Council says it is keen to help community groups to find external grant funding to bring forward their ideas.
Your Kirkwall aims to see the plan develop through collaboration and community led decision making. For funding such projects it suggests that money can be used from community renewables and “there are many sources of funding available to help deliver the type of projects outlined in this plan, from organisations like the Lottery, the Scottish Government and other charitable donors. “
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
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