Dumfries Neighbourhood all set for transformation

Enthusiastic residents, local business owners and councillors met on Wednesday the 13th of July to review ambitious plans which will see a Dumfries neighbourhood transformed this summer.

The designs for the neighbourhood have been developed jointly by residents, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Sustrans Scotland since October 2012, as part of the ‘Neighbourhood Street Design Project’. Plans will see the layouts of Cumberland Street, Brooke Street, McLellan Street, Queen Street and Shakespeare Street, in the vicinity of the Theatre Royal, altered to create more people friendly and vibrant spaces including:

· Re-laying of pavements on McLellan Street with high quality stone and raising up of each junction in the neighbourhood to pavement level will make it easier for people of all ages and ability to walk through the area.

· Installation of two new public spaces at ‘gateways’ to the neighbourhood. Artwork, to be manufactured by a local blacksmith, has been designed by the artist NADFLY in conjunction with residents and has been styled so at to celebrate the strong Victorian character of the neighbourhood.

· An upgrade of the public space outside the Theatre Royal with an extension of the public space and placement of seating, greenery, trees and cycle parking.

· Placement of trees and greenery to ‘soften’ the streets and create a more colourful space that feels slower and is more people focused.

Construction starts on the 25th of July and is expected to be completed by December 2016. During construction access to some parts of the neighbourhood will be restricted whilst works are undertaken. Work will be phased to minimise disruption to the community and local businesses. Details of planned road closures are available on: www.tellmescotland.gov.uk/.

This community led project has attracted praise for the unique way in which it has been delivered. Residents have been directly involved in all aspects of the projects ranging from deciding on street lighting styles, road name plates and planters through to the commissioning of artworks, alongside steering the design process. Support has also been given to residents to develop ideas which bring people together and strengthen the neighbourhood, resulting in the creation of vibrant community gardens on Queen Street and the rear of Cumberland Street which could be used for events.

This work has been undertaken in parallel with a Housing Renewal project by Dumfries and Galloway Council which has resulted in a number of other significant improvements to the housing stock in this area. This includes the provision of new build affordable housing, the provision of grants to property owners to carry out essential repairs, the renewal of cast iron Victorian fencing, the delivery of targeted energy efficiency measure and bringing empty homes back into use.

John Lauder, National Director, Sustrans Scotland said: “The construction phase builds on the local successes of this partnership project in bringing people together and empowering residents to take greater ownership of the neighbourhood. We are excited to see the final part of this project underway and alongside residents and The Council I look forward to celebrating and promoting the benefits of this way of working in years to come.”
The project has been jointly funded by Sustrans Scotland with funding from Transport Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council.[

Councillor Craig Peacock, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Housing Sub-Committee said: “The delivery of this project is a key stage in the delivery of Council’s Housing Renewal Area in Dumfries Town Centre. We hope the improvements made, in partnership with local residents, will help deliver our aspiration of the town centre being an attractive place to live as well as work. Changes to the street environment will complement a range of other actions that have been supported by the Council such as the delivery of brand new affordable housing. Our successful partnership with Sustrans has allowed us to attract significant external funding into our region to support improvement which has been driven by this local community.”

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