New vision for Newton stewart

AN internationally renowned architect spoke to the Galloway Gazette this week about his masterplan to save his home town of Newton Stewart.

Graham Henderson, son of former businessman Keith and his wife Margaret, has been at the forefront of designing four international airports and is the brains behind ‘The ‘Ome’, luxury self-contained floating island homes that are the latest must have acquisition for the well-heeled in Dubai.

But walking up Victoria Street this week ago all Graham could think was “what a disappointment”. Back at his parents’ riverside hone he grabbed pen and paper and sketched out a vision for the future that he is confident could turn the town into a tourist mecca, that he opinions will be so attractive, it will get significant backing from international financiers.

The masterplan will see the main street facing the Cree with a one-way system in Victoria Street with a mini-roundabout at the clock tower and Riverside Road widened by one lane with fly fishing berths created and protected by a stone-clad quay wall as part of his idea of a flood prevention scheme.

Victoria Street will be turned into a tree lined thoroughfare with non-linear parking bays and Graham plans to have a covered walkway with a row of bespoke craft shops in Victora Lane based on the famous Vittoria Milan in Italy.

Across the river, he has a stunning plan for the power supply to his parents home that will come off grid and use a personal hydro scheme powered by the river Cree. Contrary to advise given to Dumfries and Galloway Council about what was flooding on the town the removal of the island south of the Creebridge is paramount if you want to end the flooding risk to the town.

He points to fact that under the Flood Management Scotland 2009 Act the council have a duty to maintain man-made or natural obstructions in case risk of flooding. Graham is busy drawing detailed pans of his vision and plans to return to the town to talk to community leaders to get them on board with these ground breaking plans.

Graham is horrified that the prime geographical location of Newton Stewart, equidistant between the current local authority power towns of Stranraer and Dumfries should made it top of the priority list. Funding sold be centred on the town and not on towns on the periphery of the region, ha claims.

He wants to create a bank called ‘The Common Wealth and Development Bank of Scotland’ that will return profits to the customers not the shareholders.

The centrepiece for this unique vision of 21st Century newton Stewart will be a titanium covered robotic salmon with CCTV in its eyeballs that will patrol the Cree and become such an unique feature it will draw tourist from all over the world. And if you think that is in the realms of fantasy or like a scene out of Bladerunner, theee robo-fish are already in operation commercially to inspect oil rigs and underwater pipes.

Mid Galloway councillor Graham Nicol attended a presentation that Mr Henderson gave at The Galloway Gazette. He commented that it was an interesting concept but that some of these ideas had already been suggested and funding for a project of this magnitude “would be difficult in the present financial climate”.

Do you want to see Newton Stewart radicaly redesigned or left alone? Send your comments on Graham’s plans to the Galoway Gazette by email to, tweet at @gallgaz or gp to our Facebook page.