Rothesay garden revamp plans revealed

�100,000 is to be spent redeveloping these gardens on the corner of Montague Street and High Street in Rothesay town centre.
�100,000 is to be spent redeveloping these gardens on the corner of Montague Street and High Street in Rothesay town centre.

Plans for the redevelopment of the Montague Street gardens in the centre of Rothesay can finally be revealed.

The new-look gardens will comprise a circular plaza, or performance area, in the centre of the site, sunk slightly below street level and surrounded by timber seating for 40 people facing towards Rothesay Castle.

Three trees will line the Montague Street side of the site, while the existing tree in the south-west corner of the gardens will be retained in its current location.

Space for local artwork is to be provided along the southern edge of the site, with floodlighting to illuminate the artwork and the adjacent tree, while the memorial plaques in the current gardens will be retained, although the elderly fountain in the present site - used as additional flower beds, rather than as a working fountain - is to be removed.

Jim Smith, Argyll and Bute Council’s head of roads and amenity services, said: “I’m pleased to say the tenderer is in place and the contract will be awarded shortly.

“Once work gets under way the project will take ten weeks to complete and will mean major improvements for the gardens. ”

The garden revamp was chosen by Bute Community Council (BCC) as the best use of £100,000 set aside in Argyll and Bute Council’s 2012-13 budget for roads and amenity services capital works on the island.

Members of the public were invited to put forward suggestions for how to spend the cash; ideas included a Portakabin on Rothesay pier to provide toilet and shower facilities for visiting yachts, improvements to the Guildford Square bus shelter, repairs to the path and road network at the island’s cemeteries, a new play park and skate park for the town, painting of the empty shops in Port Bannatyne and the provision of a car park at the United Church of Bute

After choosing the garden project, BCC was criticised for a perceived lack of public consultation on the design of the redevelopment.

Community councillor Donnie MacLeod, who served on the BCC sub-committee which considered the public’s suggestions, said the chosen design was the only one of the three tender bids to be within the £100,000 budget.

“This is a flexible design,” Mr MacLeod told The Buteman, “and we would hope to be able to add to it over the years.

“We also hope to be able to change the artwork every now and then, or add extra benches or additional artwork.

“Once we got the tender bids, we didn’t have much of a decision to make.”

The Buteman contacted the firm which created the winning design, TGP Landscape Architects of Glasgow, to ask for a digital version of the plans to publish online and in print, but we were told the company was unable to supply the information until confirmation of the contract award.