VISION FOR MILNGAVIE

A NEW vision outlining the possible future of Milngavie town centre has been unveiled.

Architects Page\Park have come up with a document which presents a radical re-working of the area in order to ‘unifty, connect, protect and consolidate’ it.

They were commissioned to carry out the report by community action group We Like Milngavie (WLM).

WLM has been involved in a long-running battle with Tesco over its plans for a massive re-development of its Gavin’s Mill store.

Fear

They fear that Tesco’s plans for a two-storey ‘monster’ Extra superstore will have a serious impact on businesses and is out of keeping with Milngavie.

Readers will see from aerial mock-ups on page 3, Page\Park’s vision of Tesco’s place in the town centre is radically different from that of the multi-national, which has already had one version of its re-development scheme knocked back by East Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government.

Tesco has signalled that it intends to re-launch its plans - so WLM commissioned the architects to come up with a vision not just for Tesco, but for the whole town centre.

Page\Park found that work must be done to ‘unify’ the town centre on either side of Woodburn Way, that the parkland setting of Lennox Park must be extended northwards to connect with the town centre, that a new pedestrian crossing over Woodburn Way should be created, that a new, landscaped ‘focal civic space’ called ‘Allander Cross’ should be created at the entrance of Tesco, creating a ‘sense of arrival’ in the town.

The report even looks into the future and envisages a ‘downsizing’ of the four-lane Woodburn Way due to decreased car use and turning the current Tesco car park into a town centre park, making Milngavie a ‘truly memorable destination’.

WLM will use the Page\Park report in future submissions once Tesco launches a new planning bid.

The community action group issued this statement along with the report’s release.

“What would YOU like Milngavie Town Centre to look like in the future? What should the centre be for? These are big questions We Like Milngavie and others have been grappling with lately.

“The Town Centre has a pedestrian precinct with a large central square surrounded by many fine buildings of character. It provides a range of opportunities for shopping, meeting and community activities. In the 2005 Local Plan the Town Centre boundary was extended to include the Tesco and Gavin’s Mill area. So now the Town Centre also incorporates the fish ladder, the medieval mill and the Allander Water with its drama when in spate, its salmon, herons, otters and dippers. How many town centres can boast this range of features?

Dislocated

“However, these two sides of the centre are dislocated by the dual carriageway by-pass - the only connections for pedestrians are steep underpasses. To improve Milngavie Town Centre as an attractive and vibrant place, we need to answer the following questions:

“How can we better connect and unify the two sides to form a single, coherent centre to better serve shoppers, residents and visitors?

“How can we make most of the town’s natural environment and its unique historic heritage assets?

“How can we ensure future development improves the character, amenity and viability of the Town Centre as a whole?”

“We have begun to address these questions in the report published today, entitled “Milngavie Town Centre: A Vision for the Community”. It is the result of a study We Like Milngavie commissioned from eminent architects Page\Park, with support of Milngavie Community Council, community groups, local residents and businesses. The report puts forward a framework for a people-centred design into which all future development could fit.

Focus

“This long-term framework connects and unifies the two sides of the centre, with a strong focus on the Allander Water which is so important to Milngavie. It proposes walkways on both sides of the river, crossing over the by-pass at the existing traffic lights (which could become ‘Allander Cross’). The Allander Way runs along the inside of the river loop, in a strip of riverside parkland connecting Lennox Park to the precinct. On the other side, new buildings could in time extend the precinct towards the superstore. Further planting and footways turn the by-pass into a tree-lined boulevard.

“The architects decided that the best location for a redeveloped superstore is where it is, facing the precinct, with parking remaining centrally located. Their design framework provides a layout for the centre as a whole, but not details of the design or scale of buildings.

“We hope Page\Park’s ‘Vision’ will be a catalyst to set the whole community thinking about how we ourselves can plan for the future of our town, for the benefit of existing residents, traders and the next generation. We are exploring how it can be taken forward.

“So please see the full report on our website at www.welikemilngavie.org and tell us what you think - what you like, what you dislike and any ideas you may have for our town centre’s future.“

What are your views? Send e-mails to us at mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk