THE Perthshire town of Blairgowrie is set for an ambitious £820,000 makeover as it prepares to host the Junior Ryder Cup next year.
The town’s renowned Rosemount course has been chosen as the venue for the biennial clash between the top junior golfing stars of Europe and America which will take place a month before the 40th Ryder Cup is held at the Gleneagles Hotel from 26 to 28 September, 2014.
Members of Perth and Kinross Council’s enterprise and infrastructure committee are next Wednesday expected to approve plans for a range of regeneration schemes in the town centre in a bid to attract more visitors to Blairgowrie and boost local businesses.
The regeneration scheme include proposals to redevelop Blairgowrie’s Riverside to create a showpiece environmental attraction for the town. The scheme includes the upgrading the Riverside car park, new planting beds, new seating and picnic areas and improvements to the viewing area at Cargill’s Leap.
New signage and improved pedestrian access to the town centre are also being planned, together with improvements to the Wellmeadow park to provide “an attractive central focus” for the town.
Barbara Renton, the council’s depute environment director, states in a a report to the committee: “The importance of these projects to the regeneration of Blairgowrie town centre will receive even more prominence, when Blairgowrie Golf Club host the Junior Ryder Cup in August 2014, with an anticipated increased focus on the town, and the resultant potential for greater visitor numbers.
“The regeneration proposal comprise a series of related schemes to enhance the natural and built heritage of Blairgowrie and Rattray with the overarching objective of improving the attractiveness and appeal of the town in order to increase footfall by residents and visitors, thereby improving local business performance.”
She adds: “The vision for the redevelopment of the Blairgowrie riverside parkland adjacent to the River Ericht is to create an attractive green space and environmental attraction for the town. This project will provide not only an enhanced amenity for residents but will also provide an attraction for visitors to the town in order to increase visitor footfall and dwell time in the town centre.”
Councillor John Kellas, the committee’s convener, said: “This major investment is fantastic news for residents of Blairgowrie and Rattray.
“The improvements will significantly enhance the natural and built heritage of Blairgowrie, making it a more attractive place for residents, tourists and visitors. It will encourage people to stop and spend time in the town. Footfall will increase as a result, bringing more money into local businesses.
“The plans will strengthen the local economy of Blairgowrie and ensure that it remains a thriving and vibrant rural town that people want to visit.”
He added: “There will be major focus on Blairgowrie in August 2014 when the Junior Ryder Cup is hosted by Blairgowrie Golf Club. This regeneration will play an important part in fostering a positive and pleasant image of Perth and Kinross to visitors from around the world.
“We have carried out extensive consultation with local groups and organisations in Blargowrie about the improvements, and the community is entirely behind them.
“I am sure this investment will secure the future success of Blairgowrie.”
Founded in 1889, the original Rosemount Course at Blairgowrie was designed by Dr Alister McKenzie, the renowned architect who also designed Augusta National in Georgia, home of the the Masters Tournament. The course was redesigned in 1930 by James Braid, the leading Scottish golfer and golf architect.
Previous Junior Ryder Cup players include current golfing stars Rory McIlroy Sergio Garcia, Matteo Manassero, and Nicolas Colsaerts.