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Draft Lerwick Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy 2007-2011


Draft Lerwick Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy 2007-2011

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									Appendix 1
                                                  Prepared by the Planning Service
                                                 Submitted as a draft to the Planning Board
                                                                                August 2007

                                                              Creating a sense of place
                                                              Stimulating sustainable growth
                                                          Promoting enterprise
                                            Enhancing spaces, facilities, and amenities of the town centre
                                                          Improving linkages between town centre areas
                                                                  Promoting and recognising quality
                                                     Improve physical quality of the town infrastructure

Draft Lerwick Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy 2007-2011

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                  1

The Scottish Executive is committed to securing town centres, which provide economic, social, health and environmental
benefits for the wider community. This involves promoting and enhancing town centres by focusing appropriate growth and
development. Shetland Islands Council shares this commitment to the Town Centre. The aim of this strategy is to continue
the success of Lerwick Town Centre while at the same time recognising the importance of the waterfront from the Esplanade
to Garthspool in assisting the continued regeneration of the centre of Lerwick.

Strategy Aims and Objectives
In order to encourage appropriate development with the centre of Lerwick, this strategy sets out 4 key objectives:

   1. To promote a distinct, competitive place and encourage regeneration in order to create a town centre that is
      attractive for local businesses and suited to generation of new employment opportunities.

   2. To create a climate that enables all sectors of the community to have access to a wide choice of shopping, leisure and
      other services.
   3. To improve the physical quality of the town centre environment.
   4. To support development in existing accessible locations or in locations where accessibility can be improved.

To achieve these objectives, this strategy will play an important role in identifying priorities, lead partners and resources,
develop joint working, attract investment and actively promote the Town Centre and Waterfront. It is proposed that the
strategy will be adopted by Shetland Islands Council as a Supplementary Document and will therefore help to:

   §   Inform development management decisions, guiding and shaping opportunities as they come forward in the Town
       Centre area.
   §   Shape emerging planning policy for the town centre and waterfront

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                        2
   “To continue the success of the town centre in providing an attractive people focused place with a vibrant, commercially
   successful, mixed use centre playing its central role as the culture and civic heart of the town and indeed Shetland.”

The way forward

The overall aim is to ensure Lerwick Town Centre continues as a vibrant and successful trading, civic and cultural centre and
enhance its role as a place of interest and quality. The approach adopted is one that seeks to deliver for physical
enhancements and improvements and seeks to create a centre what is a vibrant place to live, visit and work. The successful
development of the town centre and waterfront, the work cannot be taken in isolation or left to one or two key agencies or
individuals. It will be up to all the key stakeholders working within the town centre and waterfront and those interested in
its vitality to work together to produce and deliver the measures that will bring successful outcomes.

The remainder of this strategy will consider the development of the waterfront and town centre as one area. Attached as
an appendix to this report is a Town Centre Action Plan, which identifies particular opportunities for the environmental
enhancement of the town centre. In addition the regeneration of the Waterfront is set out in the Masterplan for this area.
The Action Plan and the Masterplan will identify opportunities for improvements and appropriate sites for new development
and through the sequential approach, will indicate whether development will be appropriate in different locations. All
planning applications for the area should be assessed against the Development Plan, the policy set out in Scottish Planning
Policy (SPP 8) and the Strategy, the Action Plan and masterplan and the development brief for the Culture Quarter.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                  3
                                                     History of Lerwick

   Lerwick first appeared as a temporary settlement in the 17th Century, building on the trade from the Dutch fishing
   fleets. Piers and Lodberries (a flat rock used as a landing place) were developed and warehouses were being built to
   store goods loaded and unloaded by boat. Some of these early buildings, which stand in the sea, can still be seen along
   Commercial Street today.

   During these early years, most people lived in the lanes, steep and overcrowded, but providing shelter from the winter
   weather. These early houses were rebuilt in the 1960’s, rebuilding and renovation to a high standard, making the lanes a
   desirable place to live today.

   The 19th Century saw the town continue to prosper as Greenland whalers from the Scottish and Northern Ports came to
   replenish supplies and take on crew. This increase in activity led to the establishment of boat yards, warehouses and
   new docks along the seafront. Victoria pier was built in 1868, the same year as a steamer service to mainland Scotland
   began. During this time much of the foreshore was reclaimed, becoming what we know today as The Esplanade. Before
   the First World War the Lerwick was further developed on the success of the Herring boom where Hay’s Dock became a
   hive of activity and in 1878, the first town plan was drawn up. It was around that time that many of the impressive
   buildings in Lerwick were built. The town was quite for a while after the wars before the oil boom in the 1970’s, raising
   the population to over 7,000. More recently, tourism has increased which has provided an increase in activity within the
   town centre and the number of people using the area.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                     4
                         Focusing Development in the Town Centre and Waterfront

It is recognised that there are a number of activity within Lerwick.      These areas of activity range from recreation,
industrial, commercial/retail and mixed uses. The areas are as follows:

Town Centre
Waterfront Albert Wharf to Garthspool
Clickimin Leisure Centre
Sandveien Neighbourhood Centre
Seafield/Seafield Road
Anderson High School
Port Business Park
Marine Business Park
Staney Hill Industrial Estate
Black Hill Industrial Estate
South Gremista
North Gremista
Green Head
Dales Voe

The Local Development Plan will identify the network of centres and the role and function of individual centres In Lerwick.
This strategy will only cover the future development of the Town Centre and the Waterfront.

The 1996 Town Centre Strategy covered the Town Centre only, identified by the Lerwick Conservation Area. However with
recent developments along the waterfront including the North Ness Business Park, New Museum and Archives, increase in
DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                 5
demand for larger retail sites and the potential development opportunities along the waterfront, the waterfront is very
much interlinked with the original town centre role. Due to the proximity of the historic town centre and the waterfront,
the regeneration and development of each area must be considered collectively.

This Strategy jointly considers the development of the Town Centre and Waterfront. There is a cross over in future role
of each area however the historic town centre will still remain the retail core. Any proposed retail uses out with the town
centre, including in waterfront locations, will be assessed for the requirement of a retail impact assessment. This will
encourage developers to consider sites with the town centre before other sites along the waterfront and also other
locations in Lerwick.

There are land uses within the town centre and waterfront, which are not suitable for these locations and need to relocate
to other activity centres within Lerwick. This will allow other more appropriate developments to be included within the
strategy area.

Any proposed new development and in particular retail, offices and food and drink proposals should be considered within the
strategy area before other centres within the town. The waterfront will provide a variety of good sites for redevelopment
in future, these sites should be considered before other sites in Lerwick. This sequential test approach will be employed in
the assessment of future development.

There is an opportunity to create improved links between the Town Centre and the Proposed Culture and Civic Quarter both
attracting people to the Culture Quarter and also encouraging an increase in the number of people visiting the town centre.
The two areas of development and the linkages between the two play different roles but if they can be interlinked to work
together, they will jointly increase the number of visitors. This will create a more vibrant town centre as whole and
increase business opportunities in the area. Eventually what is being proposed is an extension of the town centre and its
uses to the waterfront.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                 6
                                   Improving the Town Centre and Waterfront

Historic Town Centre

The Action Plan will identify improvements required to create the distinctive, successful place required to sustain a future
role for Lerwick as an effective town centre. The majority of these improvements are small-scale environmental
improvements that will collectively make the town centre an attractive place. The improvement projects, which have been
identified, are listed below but the detail is included in the Action Plan.

Potential large development projects identified to assist the environmental enhancement of the town centre:

   §   Diversification of the Post office building
   §   New public toilets on the esplanade
   §   Repair of the Small Dock harbour wall and walkway
   §   Shop front improvement scheme
   §   Public art projects
   §   Walking trails
                                                   *Projects to be confirmed through public consultation

Although there are many small-scale projects, as identified in the town centre action plan, which can be undertaken in a
reasonable timescale, there is no immediate remedy to the challenges facing many of the sites with along the waterfront.
Many of the sites, which could be developed, are still required for other uses.

The projects identified within this Strategy, Town Centre Action Plan and Culture Quarter Masterplan shall feed into other
development plans and strategies for example the community plan, transport and economic strategies.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                      7
The Town Centre Action Plan will not only identify potential and desirable development projects, but it will also identify
clear actions, tools and delivery mechanisms.

The Action Plan

The Action Plan is broken down into various themes as follows:

   1. Create a vibrant town centre

The town centre and waterfront together have the opportunity to create an excellent vibrant centre for Shetland,
providing residential, employment, and leisure and community facilities for all. The aims set out in the action plan and also
the masterplan will steer development to capture the areas potential.

   2. Create a sustainable town centre

In line with national and international policy, the council has aims, which reflect the move towards sustainability for all
development. The action plan and masterplan highlight the issues surrounding sustainability and provide aims to reflect

   3. Create a high quality environment

The creation of a high quality environment will be encouraged in and around the town centre. This is essential in order to
attract people into the area who will visit not only because of the range of goods and services on offer but also because the
high quality surroundings. This will be achieved through a range of measures related to the public realm, connectivity, public
art and regeneration.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                       8
Town Centre Management Group

The Town Centre Management Group will have a major input into the Action Plan for the town centre. It was established in
1995 as a result of concerns raised with regard to the Lerwick Lanes Outstanding Conservation Area and the concerns
raised due to the number of vacant properties in the town centre. The LTCMG was formed in partnership with the following
organisations: Lerwick Town Centre Association, Lerwick Community Council, Lerwick Port Authority, Shetland Amenity
Trust, Shetland Enterprise (now HIE Shetland), Visit Shetland, Northern Constabulary, Shetland Islands Council and the
local Councillor for the Lerwick Harbour and Bressay ward. The LTCMG in the past has made significant achievements with
regard to environmental improvements in the Town Centre, placing the group in an ideal position to continue the
implementation of this strategy and associated Action Plan. There is a need to revitalise this group so members can share in
the work that needs to be done.

The area along the waterfront has seen a demand for different land uses over the past 10 years and the area, in the future
will no longer suit the commercial and industrial uses, which occupy the area today. The redevelopment of the area
identified in the Culture Quarter Masterplan has seen considerable regeneration to date including the new Museum and
Archives, and the North Ness business park. There is considerable scope for turning the waterfront into a hive of activity
suited to today’s needs of a modern town centre, complementing the historic centre. Within the Culture and Civic Quarter,
it is proposed to build on the success of the recent developments and continue to build on the areas potential. The
Masterplan for the Culture and Civic Quarter has identified a number of main principles, which are:

   1. Relocation of the oil depot
   2. Remodel the area through a mixed-use approach is the main aim with less emphasis on retail than in the town centre.
      Residential and office uses in the area could combine with active uses on the ground floor levels, which may create
      more activity at night. This area would be suitable for small business us such as creative industry units, and perhaps
      larger retail units which cannot be accommodated on Commercial Street.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                 9
   3. Increase urban density through development of plots to 2-4 storeys in height. This will provide an urban feel and
      accommodate a range of town centre uses.
   4. Provide for residential need in the town centre to complement the Councils plans to increase the supply of affordable
   5. Creation of public realm which links strongly with the historic town centre and Esplanade to ensure areas are mutually
   6. Consider the relocation of a number of industrial and commercial uses, which do not complement with town centre
      regeneration, which may require acquisition in order to assemble sites for a range of town centre uses.
   7. Redevelop the fish market once a new site has been identified and developed. This site could benefit from a range of
      uses, which would complement the surrounding developments and support the linkage with the town centre.
   8. Ensure that buildings create a memorable and legible townscape by virtue of their massing and orientation and that
      they contribute to high quality public realm and provide quality public spaces.

The Culture Quarter Masterplan will be developed by the associated working group and will identify improvements to
waterfront locations out with the Town Centre Conservation Area i.e. the area from Albert Wharf to Garthspool. The
Culture Quarter should not be seen as a threat to the town centre but as an extension of the town centre. Encouraging
development within the waterfront will pose less of a threat than developing sites out with the centre of Lerwick.

Wide range of quality shopping attractions and hospitality

The town centre and waterfront must be the primary retail area of Lerwick. To achieve this the town centre will have to
appeal to a different market and continue to adapt. This can be achieved by concentrating on browsing or comparison
merchandise groups enabling the town centre to create its own niche or specialist retail offer. This includes merchandise
such as home accessories; gifs (including arts and crafts); fashion boutiques for women and children (including accessories);
men’s clothing, casual leisure (activity, lifestyles, youth); books music and video; hobbies and pastimes. Much of the
commercial premises within the town centre are not compatible with modern day needs. A number of today’s businesses
require premises that are regular in shape to conform to their corporate layouts, preferable with an open floor plan. Few
premises in Lerwick meet this criteria. However every effort should be made to identify and maximise every opportunity to

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                  10
create a town centre that can compete against other commercial centres, wherever possible it is necessary to create space
and units to provide the required size of premises as close to the town centre as possible. The redevelopment of the post
office building could possibly provide larger units.

Food and Drink opportunities

There are many quality food and drink outlets within the town centre however there could be room for improvement.
Hospitality plays an important role in creating the right ambiance for residents and visitors to relax and enjoy the
attractions. Apart from pubs, restaurants and hotels, the town offers should include wine bars, continental restaurants,
bistros, and teashops. One of the key attractions in any town centre and a key aspect of a successful visitor economy is a
quality range of eating and drinking establishments. New establishments should cater for both day and night time visitors
to the town.

Commercial Street is the main shipping area in the town as well as large sections of Commercial Road and other streets
leading from Commercial Street provide a large amount of floor space for business developments, however many of these
units are small and only on one level and are not suitable for today’s needs. The waterfront provides many sites for future
redevelopment to expand the town centre including the following sites: fish market, Malakoff, Oil depot, former WAG site,
Buildbase, past office buildings and other small storage and engineering workshops.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                    11
                                                   Monitoring and Review

      Monitoring is essential to the effective planning and management of the town centre and waterfront as well as
      regular contact with Lerwick Town Centre Management Group, Town Centre Association and the Culture
      Quarter Working Group.

      A health check should be carried out to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the town centre and
      waterfront and to analyse the factors that contribute to its vitality and viability. Vitality is a measure of how
      lively and busy a town centre is and viability is a measure of its capacity to attract ongoing investment, for
      maintenance, improvement and adaptation of changing needs. It is recommended that a health check is
      carried out every 4 years to assist decision makers in identifying new opportunities for improvement.

DRAFT Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy                                                                                 12

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