ELECTED members who were given a briefing on the progress of the regeneration of Stranraer, including the Waterfront, at last week’s council planning meeting told council officials they want a dedicated officer overseeing the multi-million pound development.
Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes told Ewan Green, the council’s head of economic development, that he was very impressed with the work he had done so far, but told him that “given the importance of this” a dedicated officer was a priority.
Mr Geddes said: “The worst message we could send out to the people of Stranraer is one of doom and gloom. This must succeed as Stranraer is now seeking to re-brand itself after Stena move out later this year.”
Stranraer Councillor Willie Scobie agreed, adding: ”We need a dedicated person to take this forward. As the last boat sails out of Stranraer we need to be hitting the ground running. This is not only the future of Stranraer but for the whole of Dumfries and Galloway.”
Mr Green’s report informed the councillors that now the Castle Green improvements were finished the plan was now to work on the shore block facility, with work commencing this month at an estimated cost of £850,000, and a further £200,000 will be spent on improving the marina pontoons. The pontoon work should be completed for next year’s sailing season, said Mr Green.
Referring to the pontoons already in place, Wigtown West Councillor Grahame Forster asked Mr Green if these had been the wrong pontoon? The council officer said he could not comment on whether they were right or wrong but that some of them had been disturbed by the weather. He confirmed that there would be more pontoons but “not a significant number”.
Now that the new look Castle Green had been such a hit with townspeople and visitors, Stranraer Councillor John Dougan asked about the progress of a retail development plan for the town centre. Mr Green said that there were ongoing discussions with potential investors who had expressed an interest in Stranraer and particularly the Waterfront. He added that the masterplan blueprint for the regeneration project stated that the Waterfront will impact on the town centre. Mr Dougan suggested talking to other authorities who had experience of town centre regeneration to ask for guidance.
Stranraer Councillor Iain Dick asked about traffic management in the town centre if changes were made. Area Manager Harry Hay said that any possible impact on existing junctions and parking arrangements would be looked at.