Proposed £7m Investment Into West Blackhall Street

Posted on: 25 August 2023

Proposed £7m Investment Into West Blackhall Street

Changes are being proposed to a £7m project to transform Greenock's traditional high street which has been in the pipeline for over five years.

Council chiefs say work on the major revamp for West Blackhall Street could start as soon as October, but it has emerged that funding for much of it is still not agreed.

Municipal Buildings bosses are now proposing that the improvements should be split into two parts so the development can proceed.

The first phase would run until next July at a cost of just over £3m and would see the street made one-way from the Oak Mall shopping centre along to the junction with Grey Place.

All the footways will be resurfaced, using the same 'high-quality' materials used recently for an upgrade in Kilmacolm.

New streetlights will also be installed. While it's hoped the second phase would start immediately afterwards, from July 2024 to March 2025, the £4m needed for it is not yet secured.

It has to be confirmed by the active travel organisation Sustrans. Under this stage of the project, there would be a new cycleway plus street resurfacing.

There will also be raised crossing points, new street furniture, and vegetation boxes provided.

But a revised design has had to be drawn up to allow the two-part plan to go ahead.

A report from officials to councillors said: 'At the end of May Sustrans informed officers that Transport Scotland had stopped multi-year funding and as such the West Blackhall Street project contract could not proceed in its current form as the 70-week contract would span multiple years.

'Officers have worked on options to enable the project to proceed and be delivered over multiple years, taking into account that the future funding has been provisionally accepted.

'This will potentially allow the project to proceed with no delays to programme but is dependent on the £2.9 million required from Sustrans in 2024/25 being confirmed.'

The changes which have been made include not widening the footways, and placing all the benches and vegetation boxes on the north footway as a 'buffer zone' between pedestrians and cyclists.

The footway and the cycleway will be level, to create an extended area that could be used for street events.

The report says: 'The fundamentals of the original schemes have been retained namely, resurface the footway and road with high quality materials, install new street lighting, create space for outdoor events and introduce urban planting, along with a change of prioritisation towards pedestrians and cyclists rather than vehicles, with the introduction of continuous footways along West Blackhall Street.'

Councillors are due to discuss the update on the project at a meeting next week.


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