Ambitious plans to regenerate Blairgowrie town centre will go before Perth and Kinross Council today (Wednesday).
The plans are being unveiled to the local authority’s enterprise and infrastructure committee following a lengthy consultation process that has taken place throughout the last 12 months.
The long-running potential development, which is recommended for approval, first became a possibility when it was announced that the council had successfully applied to the Scottish Government for some of the Town Centre Regeneration Fund money, an award that had previously been allocated to the Blairgowrie and Rattray Regeneration Company (BARRC).
Council officers are recommending that the plans are approved by the committee, declaring that the proposed redevelopment of the Riverside area will create a “showpiece environmental attraction for the town”.
The Riverside improvement project includes upgrading the Riverside car park, relocating and upgrading the play park, installing new seating and picnic areas, improving the viewing area at Cargill’s Leap, improving pedestrian access and introducing new signs to enhance the appeal of the facility to visitors to the area.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The Riverside improvements will complement recent investments made to the town’s path network and it will also link to the Cateran trail, making it a major tourism asset for the area.”
The Wellmeadow is also set to benefit form the proposed works with new planting, borders and containers planned should the work be given the go-head, as well as enhancements to the entrances and surrounding streets, new seating, new LED lights and the installation of facilities and power points for events.
Improvements for the bus stance area, which it is hoped will ease traffic flow and boost pedestrian safety – as well as accessibility for buses – are also recommended for approval.
Committee convener, Councillor John Kellas, described the plans as “fantastic” ahead of today’s meeting.
He said: “The improvements will significantly enhance the natural and built heritage of Blairgowrie, making it a more attractive place for residents, tourists and visitors.
“It will encourage people to stop and spend time in the town. Footfall will increase as a result, bringing more money into local businesses.
“The plans will strengthen the local economy of Blairgowrie and ensure that it remains a thriving and vibrant rural town that people want to visit.
“There will be major focus on Blairgowrie in August 2014 when the Junior Ryder Cup is hosted by Blairgowrie Golf Club. This regeneration will play an important part in fostering a positive and pleasant image of Perth and Kinross to visitors from around the world.”
Local councillor Caroline Shiers added: “I am pleased that the enterprise and infrastructure committee will have the opportunity to scrutinise the proposals, which have been the subject of much discussion and consultation throughout the past year, and that we can soon see the work begin.
“I am also very much hoping that a speedy solution can be found to address the landslip and resulting access restrictions along the Riverside at Oakbank Road.
“All along I have said that the Riverside is an important natural asset for Blairgowrie and that includes the access along the Cateran Trail for all abilities.
“From parents with young children and buggies through to elderly people and those with limited mobility – the walk along to Cargill’s Leap is one enjoyed by many local people and visitors and we need to ensure that this route can be reopened.”