Scotland’s Towns Week 2017: FutureTown design shortlist unveiled

A view over Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. One of the shortlisted FutureTown design envisages a new waterfront walkway built to encourage more leisure activities. Picture: TSPL
A view over Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. One of the shortlisted FutureTown design envisages a new waterfront walkway built to encourage more leisure activities. Picture: TSPL
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A shortlist of imaginative designs with the potential to transform 11 communities across Scotland has been revealed ahead of the third annual Scotland’s Towns Week.

The FutureTown design competition invites members of the public to submit sketches, photographs or short written descriptions on how urban spaces could be renewed.

Another proposal is for a low carbon area at the foot of Leith Walk in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

Another proposal is for a low carbon area at the foot of Leith Walk in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

Entries this year include ambitions plans to create a new cultural quarter in Paisley, forming a ‘low carbon area’ at the foot of Leith Walk in Edinburgh, and a new marina in Dunoon to encourage more leisure craft to visit the town on the Cowal peninsula.

Last year’s winner was Fort William, where locals submitted vision of how the community could reconnect with the shores of Loch Linnhe.

It was a boost for the Highland town, known as An Gearasdan in Gaelic, after being twice shortlisted for the infamous Carbuncle Award after council-backed plans to redevelop its waterfront were abandoned in 2010.

READ MORE: What’s next for Scotland’s town centres?

Plans for a new public square in front of Langside Hall in Shawlands also made the shortlist

Plans for a new public square in front of Langside Hall in Shawlands also made the shortlist

Organised by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), the national agency and ‘go to’ body for towns north of the border, shortlisted entries will go on public display at Paisley Town Hall from November 21-26 as part of the annual Scotland’s Towns conference.

Members of the public will be able to vote for their favourite via an online poll from Monday.

Phil Prentice, chief officer at Scotland’s Towns Partnership said: “I’d like to congratulate all shortlisted entries for the initiative and forward-thinking demonstrated regarding the future of their towns.

“While Scotland’s towns continue to be impacted by economic, social and technological changes, the applications to this competition show how collaboration and innovation can help communities to take advantage of opportunities and make the most of everything our diverse towns have to offer”.

“I wish each applicant the very best in the competition and in making their town vision a reality.”

The 2017 FutureTown shortlist:

TROON

A voluntary group, South Ayrshire Paths Intiative, have submitted an entry to make “Troon the cycle-friendly toon”. They envisage significant improvements to pavements and cycle lanes to encourage more people to leave their car at home when visiting the coastal community’s centre, as well as better linking local communities with schools.

STORNOWAY

Residents want the biggest town on the Isle of Lewis to take more advantage of its seafront location, described as its “greatest asset”. Linking the town centre with the harbour and beyond, a new waterfront walkway would encourage more people to visit the shoreline on foot or bike.

DUNOON

The largest town on the Cowal peninsular is ideally located to encourage more pleasure boat traffic. A new marina would encourage tourism and boost local businesses.

GALASHIELS

Residents have proposed creating a new walking route, with an accompanying mobile app, which would celebrate the Borders’ town’s historic links with the textile industry.

PRESTWICK 1

The first of two submissions for the Ayrshire town aims to see it become more dementia friendly “in all respects”. This would involve making civic spaces more accessible to wheelchair users and improved signage.

PRESTWICK 2

A second entry for Prestwick wants to create a truly “digital town” by creating a free local wi-fi service, which would connect automatically when visitors arrive in the town centre. It would complement a new information app which would offer advice and directions to the town’s attractions.

GLASGOW SHAWLANDS

A new civic square would be created in the district in the southside of Glasgow. Plans would see the space in front of the historic Langside Hall opened up to encourage more visitors to explore the area and local businesses.

FALKIRK

Improvements to the town’s historic high street, which as declined due in part to larger retail parks nearby. The submission envisages creating a new public square by the existing Howgate shopping centre to encourage more pedestrian traffic to the high street.

PAISLEY

Tied-in to Paisley’s bid to become UK Capital of Culture, a local campaign wants to see a new performance hub, linked to a dedicated cultural quarter.

LEITH

Establishing a dedicated low-carbon area at the foot of Leith Walk would help kick-start a wider regeneration of the New Kirkgate area. This would involve environmental improvements such as the planting of trees and shurbs as well as public realm improvements.

KINCARDINE

The Fife coastal village - well-known for its road bridge - has turned its back on its riverside location, say campaigners. Their plans envisage creating a new village green, upgrading the path network and a potenitally reworked shoreline to create a viewing platform.

COWDENBEATH

The former mining town in Fife has witnessed the decline of its high street in recent years, with residents now keen to help improve it. A public consultation would engage with locals before carrying out public realm improvements, aimed at encouraging more people to spend time in the town centre and support local businesses.