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Crinan Canal Charrette : Rethinking the Link

Managing Director and Co-Founder
/ News
May 4 2016

Scottish Canals and Argyll & Bute Council completes Crinan Canal Charrette, assisted by HarrisonStevens advising on public realm proposals.

HarrisonStevens were part of the wider consultant team assisting the Scottish Canals and Argyll & Bute Council in a series of collaborative design workshops, known as a ‘charrette’, to help shape the future of the Crinan Canal Corridor. The charrette ran from the 27th to the 30th of April, with local-residents, businesses, landowners, community groups, and other agencies working together to create a shared vision for the canal corridor and the communities on its banks.

Supported by technical experts and designers, the sessions generated several ideas and proposals to help maximise the tourism, leisure and business opportunities offered by the canal and ensure the long-term future of Ardrishaig, Crinan and Lochgilphead. The results of the four-day event were showcased in an exhibition held on the final day.  HarrisonStevens were a member of the facilitator team providing illustrative and intelligence input to the consultation event. A follow up exhibition pulling all the ideas and proposals together was held in late June 2016, providing the local communities the opportunity, in three different locations over two days, to review and critique priorities and desires for their locale.

Re-think the Link was the theme of this Charrette which focused on the Crinan Canal corridor between Ardrishaig in the south to Crinan in the North.  The 10km stretch of Canal runs through several smaller communities with the significant focus to the south with the relatively large settlements of Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig.  The canal is a busy tourist route through the remote and rural part of the region, the objective of the event was to capture the communities and stakeholders’ ambitions, desires and wishes for the corridor and to conclude with a number of priority projects


The four-day event held in a few community halls and spaces across the corridor had two and half days of consultation workshops, more general to start and then by the end a focus on specific areas and themes.  The third day was a sketching and drawing day for the design team to illustrate the ideas into plans, visualisations and graphics.  The fourth day was a presentation day of these ideas and an opportunity for the community to review and comment further on the conclusions made.  The event was then followed up with a report and further consultation events at the end of June, again held in several locations to engage with as many as possible within this rural community.


The environmental improvements which were born out of these discussions included opportunities in each community for new streetscapes, better signing, linkages, connectivity and improved built fabrics.  There were a number of development opportunities identified in Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead.  A major landmark cycle/walking route connecting these two towns was proposed and supported by significant funders and the local authority.

The outcome of the event has been the production of an action plan for the local authority and Scottish Canals to take forward over the next 10 years, identifying the steps to implement on their way to linking the canal back into the community, and maximising the potential of this major asset in the region.


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