The countdown is on to the first public event organised by Rothesay’s Alliance for Action as it sets out in pursuit of its aim of ‘Building a Better Bute’.
Preparations are under way for ‘Remaking Rothesay’, a four-day event from February 24 to 27 in which members of the public will be asked for their thoughts on the future of the centre of the town - with a particular focus on design, architecture and planning - at a series of innovative sessions led by a Glasgow firm, Ice Cream Architecture.
That event is being held on the back of an online survey carried out by the Alliance, a group which is open to any interested member of the public and came into existence as a result of a public meeting last February seeking ways to grow the island’s population.
The Alliance’s membership currently includes the Mount Stuart Trust, local business owners, officials from the council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, members of the Isle of Bute Trust and ordinary Rothesay residents.
Broadly speaking, the Alliance’s aim is to work together to do as much as possible locally to improve the island’s economy, rather than sitting back and waiting for others further up the tree to do it.
More on ‘Remaking Rothesay’ very soon - in the meantime, the results of the survey carried out by the Alliance are below.
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Q1: What would best help Bute celebrate its unique status?
Answers (in descending order): Better collaboration and co-ordination between organisations on Bute (chosen by 62 people); better understanding of the market in which Rothesay and Bute operate (41); co-ordinating the festivals on Bute to establish the island as a festivals location (37); creating a new ‘Bute brand’ (32); identify and create new Bute events (12); better community information and signage (5).
Q2: What would most benefit young people?
Answers: Create more apprenticeships and employment (94 people); listen to young people and involve them more in trying to improve Bute (36); provide more and better activities based on what young people want (28); look at what other places have done to make things better (23); examine and improve the education options (11).
Q3: What can be done to improve enterprise and employment in Rothesay and on Bute?
Answers: Develop Bute’s tourism (60 people); create more jobs (52); support for self-employed/sole traders to create employment (41); develop a ‘we are all in this together’ approach to improving enterprise (28); develop the local food offer (10).
Q4: Which activity will have most impact on maintaining and developing Bute as a thriving community?
Answers: Support better employment opportunities (83 people); celebrate all that is positive about Bute (36); broaden the appeal of leisure activities (34); address population decline (29); create a community open space (5); better support for older people (5).
Q5: What would help people and organisations work better together on Bute?
Answers: A detailed communications strategy (53 people); a co-ordinator employed on Bute to ensure better working together (41); local meetings with key players in public bodies including councillors and officials (40); effective branding for a ‘Bute Partnership’ (32); an electronic town information display with up-to-date details of information about and activities on Bute (24).
Q6: Rothesay has a number of attractive and historic buildings. Much has been done in the past to improve Rothesay’s image and public spaces but much remains to be done: which do you think is most important?
Answers: Acquire and refurbish disused and derelict shops (72 people); create a generally better environment (38); create a ‘cultural quarter’ around the Castle, Mansion House and Bute Museum and establish a ‘cafe culture’ (34); create a new ‘vibe’ for Rothesay based on a vibrant, empowered community (19); improve the Royal Hotel (14); use of windows of vacant shops for art displays (9).
Q7: Please rank the six themes mentioned above in order of importance to you, with the number 1 your most important.
Number 1 answers: Enterprise and employment (77 people); developing Bute as a thriving community (39); working together to improve Bute (24); young people (22); unique Rothesay and Bute (15); Rothesay’s public realm (13).