Islay Estates have identified a very substantial tract of land south of Bowmore that they would like to see used to expand the village through a large planned development. Bowmore was originally planned and built in the eighteenth century by â€˜Daniel the Youngerâ€™ Campbell who managed to combine significant social improvements with achieving his own ambition of stopping the settlement of Kilarrow spoiling the view from the windows of Islay House. When Bowmore was built in the 1770s, it was considered to be way ahead of its time because the village was carefully planned to provide a range of amenities which were almost unheard of for the general population. The houses were large, modern and slate roofed. Each house had a garden to grow vegetables, access to common grazing and peat banks for fuel. The village had a water supply, and a hi-tech sewage system (even if the loos were still outdoors). Movers and shakers from all over Scotland and beyond apparently came to see the new wondervillage. And quite right too. Fast forward to the 21st century, and unusually for this kind of project, Islay Estates are not presenting plans for people to comment on. Instead, they have identified a major area for development and are asking Ilich what they would like to see. The public consultation now being offered is therefore of real importance rather than just going through the motions. Continue reading.....
What are the opportunities and issues that Bowmore faces, and how can The Shoreline Project address them? The consultation represents a genuine opportunity for all Ilich to bring up their own issues without being intimidated by a pre-determined plan. The Shoreline Project is focused on Bowmore but planning consultant Richard Heggie of Urban Animation believes that it will also be of interest to those living or working outside the village. Heggie told the Ileach: 'Some of the issues and opportunities will be of local significance but others will be relevant to Islay as a whole. Can the Project make a contribution to employment opportunities? Can it provide for an enhanced visitor experience? Can it add to the justification for improved ferry routes and timetables? Can it help to provide affordable housing for local people and encourage them to continue living on Islay?'
The main consultation sessions are open to all. They will be held at the Councilâ€™s Service Point, Jamieson Street, Bowmore from 10.30am-12.30pm on Friday 27 November and from 10am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm on Saturday 28th November. There will also be a session at the High School on Friday 27th November where 5th and 6th year students will participate in a discussion exploring factors which should shape developments at the project site and how it can relate to the existing village. The school session will not be open to the public. Visitors to the sessions can expect to find information on some of the physical issues surrounding new development, including: access for pedestrians, cyclists and cars; landscape and topography; micro climate; site servicing and waste water treatment; safety zones around the Bowmore Distillery whisky bonds; views in and out of the area; the architecture and layout of the existing village.
The Urban Animation Project Team has already spoken to many people with an interest in Bowmore and Islay, including the Community Council, Argyll & Bute Council officials, business and community organisations, Scottish Natural Heritage, Islay Energy Trust, Head Teachers at the Bowmore schools, the Health & Safety Executive and numerous residents. Additional issues raised through these contacts include; concerns over pupil safety at the road between the schools; parking and junction problems at Main Street in Bowmore; a shortage of hotel accommodation; inadequate supermarkets; the importance of Main Street as the focus for commerce and visitors.
The consultants are hoping that the Shoreline Project can help to resolve these existing problems while building upon the successful aspects of the village. They are asking us if these are the most important issues to consider? Are there others not mentioned here because if that is so, now would be the ideal time to raise them. Following the consultation sessions, the Project Team will review feedback. A summary report will be prepared and the results will be published in the Ileach. Only then will work begin on draft development proposals for the Shoreline site.
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper. The image is courtesy Malcolm Ogilvie.