Greenock town centre is the main area of retail activity in Inverclyde and the plans and policies of Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council strive to safeguard, enhance and develop it as the major shopping, office administrative and cultural centre of the area. In the current difficult retail trading conditions, the TCRF works undertaken have concentrated on providing relevant physical enhancements in order to attract new emergent customer market segments to Greenock town centre.
This potential market is being generated by more than thirty annual luxury cruise liner arrivals and 60,000 passengers at Clydeport Ocean Terminal to the east of the town, the new £10M Greenock Arts Guild Theatre and waterfront residential quarter to the west and the increase in footfall anticipated from the £1.5m upgrade of the bus station by Strathclyde Passenger Transport.
In order to attract new customers to the retail core and maximise the footfall within the town centre, the entrance portals and streets leading to Greenock town centre required to be upgraded from their fairly bland, functional appearance to provide new quality distinctive entrance points which would present a modern and welcoming image to visitors.
This has been achieved by introducing bespoke quality signage, landscaping and public art designed to convey a perception of a modern, vibrant, culturally inspired town centre. These new customers attracted will help sustain vitality and encourage enterprise to flourish in the retail, tourism and service sectors.
The three nodal point areas and connecting streets that were identified as being crucial for future connectivity and improved access to the town centre are adjacent to the sources of new customers. These nodes and routes therefore included 1) Cathcart Street from the A8 to Clyde Square, 2) West Blackhall Street from the Grey Place to the Oak Mall; and 3) the Westburn underpass area linking the bus station to the retail core.
The works undertaken included the cleaning of grime and growth from stone walls and concrete structures; the relaying and leveling of paving slabs, the renewal and upgrading of hard standings and improvements to planting, lighting and street furniture at the three town centre entrance portal areas above. Prominent and distinctive individual pieces of public art were introduced to areas of public realm at these entrances.
In addition the TRCF works assisted numerous retail and service sector businesses with external elevation signs and graphics and undertook the renovation and upgrading of building elevations above fascia level to combat dirt and grime, peeling paint, spalling render and faulty rainwater goods.
By the creation of attractive new entrance portals and street frontages, the beneficiaries of the project will be visitors to Greenock, being attracted to the retail core and the higher footfall will create vitality, support existing businesses, improve marginal enterprises and encourage new businesses to be established in retail, tourism and service sectors. By addressing access and connectivity, safety and security benefits will accrue to the local population, particularly the elderly.
MURAL Makes Welcome Return To Town Centre (Courtesy of Inverclyde Now)
A DISTINCTIVE street mural has made a welcome return to Greenock town centre.
Regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde commissioned 6274 public art to bring back the mural which was in place on the walls of the Westburn underpass for decades before it was taken down and replaced by a new public artwork in November last year.
The painted tiles depicted a street scene of Greenock in the days before the construction of the town’s Oak Mall. Shops and businesses of the town’s past including Westburn House, the Regal Café and Sheila Simpson Wool were all part of the artwork.
Before the initial building work started on the Westburn site, 6274 public art took photographs of each section of the underpass mural. There was a large amount of graffiti and damage to the tiles over the years which had to be digitally touched up. The next stage was to hand-illustrate the street scene as close as possible to the original as they could.
Once completed, a few modern Greenock landmarks were added, including references to the Tall Ships festival, Clydeport cranes and Queen Mary 2 cruise ship plus the soon-to-be completed Beacon arts centre. It has now been installed in the area on the Oak Mall side of the Westburn underpass.
Andy Nicol from 6274 said: “We really wanted to do the original mural justice. It was a very popular part of the town which local people thought had been lost. We were delighted to be part of the restoration project and we hope the public enjoy having it back with the new additions.”
Once the artwork was approved by Riverside Inverclyde, the street scene was then ready to be transferred on to full colour, frost and fade resistant graphic tiles. Once fired in a kiln at 800 degrees, the glaze set and the tiles were inspected. Only once each tile was fully approved were they individually numbered and packaged for installation. The tiling installation was complete by Dunoon’s M and M Ceramics.
Andy said: “During our time working on community engagement projects within the public realm we have found this unique tiling process to be the best solution for public domain projects that must last the test of time. The graphic results speak for themselves and the tiles will be around for years to come.”
It is hoped the project will prompt a few conversations in the town and 6274 are keen to hear any information and stories about any of the places within the mural, especially from the 60s and 70s.
03 May, 2013
09 April, 2013
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21 March, 2013