Ardrishaig is a village on the shores of Loch Gilp. We worked with Argyll and Bute Council and the Community Council to re-assess a previous masterplan which had been commissioned by the Community Council but was not universally popular.
We were initially tasked with looking at a number of distinct public spaces within the village but placemaking demonstrated that there was a need to address wider issues of connectivity and identity. This resulted in a placemaking vision and plan which focuses on connectivity between the loch, the main street and the Crinan Canal; creating a vibrant centre to the village through re-invigorated public and greenspaces and creating a stronger identity for the village.
One area which emerged in the course of the placemaking workshops was the need for visitor services which created local employment. Our approach to placemaking encourages short-term quick win actions as a way of developing longer term changes. Within three weeks of the first workshop, one of the suggested businesses (a cycle hire facility close to the canal allowing sailing visitors wider access to the surrounding countryside) had been set up – purely because the workshop had brought together someone with a cycle hire company with someone with an empty building close to the canal basin – this is a fine example of one of the real strengths of this approach.
At the other extreme, the community has now brought forward a proposal for a multi-million pound marina. This idea had been raised as part of the masterplan but was originally deemed to be a low priority. The placemaking experience, however, has allowed people to discuss and consider things far more fully and the proposal has become both a priority and a reality. One of the interesting things to note is the degree of confidence and community pride that is evident in the news reports of public meetings about the marina and the fact that much of this seems to be locally attributed to the placemaking process.