The growth of the historic city of Bath could provide a model for the economic rebirth of the Clyde holiday resort of Rothesay, according to a new report.
The first findings of the Argyll and Bute Economic Forum, led by BSkyB plc chairman Nicholas Ferguson, point to the similarities in the relationship between Rothesay and Glasgow, and liken them to the links between the Somerset town and London.
Rothesay was the favoured holiday destination for generations of west of Scotland families for many years, but the town was hit hard by the increased availability of package holidays to Spain and elsewhere from the 1960s onwards.
The latest census figures show a decline of 9.1 per cent in the town’s population between 2001 and 2011.
In the Forum’s inaugural report, Mr Ferguson says: “From a very poor start many years ago, Bath has become a regular and popular destination for London visitors (and those from further afield), attracted by its architecture.
“As a result, houses have been steadily refurbished over the last 30 years, there are plenty of good restaurants, and now plentiful jobs, as more people have settled there.
“A long term target as an upmarket visitor destination and weekend home base could be just the right one for Rothesay and Bute, leading to an increased permanent population.”
Mr Ferguson also recommends that the question of building a bridge across the Kyles of Bute, linking the island permanently to the Cowal peninsula, should be given “serious consideration”.
The Forum was set up in 2014 following an ‘Argyll and Bute Economic Summit’, called in response to the decline in the area’s population - a decline more steep on Bute than in any other part of the Argyll and Bute council area.