Making a decision about what to write on the blog tonight was not easy. On the one hand Bowmore Distillery announced the "Inner Core" their version of an online community of Bowmore Friends, a similar setup as the "Friends of Laphroaig" and the "Ardbeg Committee". If you're interested have a look at www.bowmore.co.uk/inner-core and make sure to sign-up, I think it's a promising start. On the other hand there is this very interesting portrait about a well known Ileach called "Lily Fish" from Caol Ila. On the website www.scottishreview.net you'll find a lovely portrait about Lily MacDougall, Christine Logan's mother. Lily is now 95 and still paints her own house, she plays the pipes, paints paintings and drives around in her own car. She really is an amazing woman and we had the pleasure to meet her several times already. Make sure to read the article here.
Now that I have already mentioned two possible articles and judging from the picture on the right and the title of this post you have probably guessed that this is leading to something entirely different and you're right. I decided to write about a third option which is the changing town centre of Bowmore. You might remember from the latest news roundup that brian palmer wrote about the newly installed cycle racks and raised a question or two about the necessity of these racks in that particular place. Cycle racks however are not the only new feature installed on Bowmore's historic main street, much to the concern of some of the locals including George Rhind, a member of the Islay Council. George wrote a letter to the Ileach, and a similar one to Historic Scotland, which I would like to share with you tonight. Continue reading....
A load of old bollards by George Rhind Dear Editor, The oldest part of the village of Bowmore including the Main Street was laid out in the 1760s at the behest of the then Laird of Islay, Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay, and is a Conservation Area and rightly so. The Scottish Governmentâ€™s Planning Advice Note â€˜Conservation Area Managementâ€™ spells out what changes may be permitted within such a Conservation Area : â€œWhilst the scope for new development may be limited in many Conservation Areas, all will present some opportunities for enhancement. Most will contain buildings, vacant sites or inappropriate street furniture that have a negative impact on the character and appearance of the area. These represent opportunities for improvement and when managed effectively, can act as a catalyst for economic, community and environmental regeneration.â€ â€œCatalyst for community regenerationâ€ is Scottish Government waffle but note the reference to â€œinappropriate street furniture.â€
In the light of the above, can someone please explain to me, and to several other concerned locals, exactly what is currently going on in Main Street, Bowmore? Presumably on the instructions of Argyll and Bute Council, the miniscule TAL workforce (a local wag has suggested that the TAL initials actually stand for â€˜Takes Alot Longerâ€™) have erected, if you will pardon the expression, a battery of hideous and completely inappropriate black bollards at the Bowmore Hall corner and another set on the opposite side of the street. Apparently, further thickets of bollards are in the offing.
The traditional wide-open aspect of Main Street was completely ruined many years ago when Argyll and Bute Council laid out a totally unsympathetic system of pavements complete with several visually dreadful â€œcobbledâ€ areas. Over the years, the whole development became a shining example to budding planners of what NOT to do in a Conservation Area. Recently, the Community were led to believe that, at long last, some, but not all, of the â€œcobbledâ€ areas were to be removed, The whole thrust of the work currently underway on Main Street has got to be to improve the appearance of Argyll and Bute Councilâ€™s earlier monumental botch up. The last thing we need is a Main Street which looks like a street furniture fire sale.
If you have views, one way or another, on what is taking place in your name on Main Street, Bowmore then email them to firstname.lastname@example.org