Lerwick Town Centre by asafwewe


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                          Draft Lerwick Town Centre

                                       Action Plan

                                       2007 - 2011



This Action Plan is a draft for generating discussion. The document is subject to public consultation.

This Action Plan should be read in conjunction to the Waterfront and Town Centre Strategy. The Strategy provides the vision for
the area while the Action Plan provides details on the projects to be implemented in the town centre, which will assist in
implementing the vision outlined in the strategy. The Culture and Civic Quarter Masterplan will identify projects along the waterfront
adjacent to the town centre.

The Scottish Executive is committed to promoting and ensuring the survival of town centres all over Scotland and Shetland is no
exception. Lerwick’s town centre provides many jobs for many people in Shetland and it is an important commercial area for the
entire county. Therefore it is important to promote the centre of the town by focusing on the appropriate growth and development.
The objectives of this Action Plan is to

          “Improve and promote a healthy, sustainable town centre environment, which encourages commercial
          growth in order to offer residents and visitors a wider choice in terms of shopping, entertainment and

This can be achieved by actively working towards three main aims as identified in the Town Centre and Waterfront Strategy:

   ·   To create a vibrant town centre
   ·   To create a sustainable town centre
   ·   To create a high quality environment

In order for the three aims to be achieved this Plan identifies opportunities for improvements within the town centre and provides
mechanisms for achieving them.

It is very important to understand the importance of Lerwick’s town centre to both local residence and visitors. It does not only
provide employment for many people all over Shetland, but it is also both a home to many families and is a traditional meeting
place for the community. It is also steeped in history about Shetland and the strong character of the buildings and streets reflect


this. The Town Centre is an important centre for the community of Shetland and therefore it is important that it is maintained and
promoted and that it continues to prosper.

                                           Creating a Vibrant Town Centre
In order to promote a vibrant town centre key objectives must be sought out in order to focus projects and ideas.

Key Objectives

   ·   Events and Opportunities to attract people to the town centre e.g. Tall Ships 2011, Johnsmas Foy
   ·   Promotion of a lively town during the daytime and evening. More events on at night as well as during the day in the town
   ·   Also encourage the opening of town shops on a Sunday and Wednesday particularly during the summer months when there
       is an increase of tourists and visitors.
   ·   Promote the “Homes above Shops” initiative. This will encourage the idea of a lively town both during the daytime and
       evening as there will be more people moving around the area after closing hours. This will also promote safety in the area,
       as there will be a larger social presence.
   ·   Promote the town as a place for the community to meet, encouraging more variety and diversity in the rather just a
       commercial and office centre.
   ·   Encourage additional retail outlets to establish businesses within the town centre.

Potential Projects

 AIM 1: To promote the area as a centre for the Community


Lerwick Town Centre is known among residents as a good meeting place. However over time the area has lost a large amount of
its community atmosphere. In order to restore this and promote the town centre as a vibrant community area steps need to be


   ·   Encourage the linkages with Hay’s Dock and the North Ness to expand the town centre along the waterfront providing a
       wider role for the community.
   ·   Continue to promote the idea of a vibrant town during the daytime and evening. Not only does this improve the town’s
       vitality but it also promotes safety in the area, as there is a stronger social atmosphere.
   ·   Encourage a mixed use town centre with shops, cafes etc on the ground floor with residential accommodation on the upper
   ·   Consult with the people of Shetland to seek there views on the role of the town centre and its future

 AIM 2: The Promotion of Events in the Town Centre

In the past 10 years there has been an increasing number of large events taking place in Lerwick and the town centre. These

   ·   The Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race 1999
   ·   The Flavour of Shetland
   ·   The Johnsmas Foy
   ·   The Summer Carnival


   ·   The Island Games 2005
   ·   Up Helly Aa

These have all attracted large crowds to Lerwick’s town centre and encouraged and promoted business there. Businesses and
Shops all gain exposure during these events and when they market themselves effectively, they can gain huge profits from the
crowds. Public Events are also very helpful in improving the town centre’s vitality and allowing people to sample the town’s
potential as a place to live, work and shop, while providing a boost to local retailers. In 2011 Lerwick will be hosting the Cutty Sark
Tall Ships Race. This provides the town centre an excellent opportunity to showcase itself as a modern and exciting place to visit.
Therefore it is important that the Town Centre is as lively and interesting as possible.


   ·   Continue to support and encourage local events taking place in the town centre in order to encourage the idea that Lerwick
       is an exciting place to be.
   ·   Support and invest in public events such as the Tall Ships 2011 to demonstrate the area’s enthusiasm for tourism and self-
   ·   Identify and implement improvements in advance of the Tall Ships Race.

 AIM 3: Encourage Shops, Services, Restaurants and Cafes to Open on Sundays and Wednesdays

Currently in the town centre in Lerwick very few shops are open on a Sunday. The only businesses open are a number of
newsagents and cafes. Lerwick could be missing a good opportunity for business, as there is a large demand for services even on
a Sunday in Lerwick. Also many shops continue to close on a Wednesday, in particular older, traditional businesses. Once again
these businesses are missing a major opportunity to promote themselves and Lerwick as a vibrant centre both day and night.



   ·   Promote Sunday shopping among retailers, particularly during summer months.
   ·   The encouragement of more promotional events taking place in the Lerwick Town Centre on a Sunday to encourage more
       visits there by both residents and tourists.

                                         Creating a Sustainable Town Centre
As a result of new international and national policies, Lerwick Town Centre should consider how to create a sustainable future for
generations to come. Shetland Islands Council has objectives, which reflect the movement towards sustainability for all
developments, now and in the future. This involves the promotion of more environmentally friendly development and more
sustainable living. There are many areas that the Town Centre must consider when looking to develop a sustainable living

Key Objectives

   ·   Promotion of a more eco-friendly Town Centre for example encouragement of recycling, alternative sources of energy etc.
   ·   Assess the coastal protection, infrastructure and drainage, in order to preserve the town centre’s historical buildings and also
       to limit the damage to the historic built environment.
   ·   Reduce vehicle movements around the town centre and promote walking and cycling opportunities.

 AIM 1: Promote a more environmentally friendly town centre

Lerwick Town Centre has a poor record of being eco-friendly despite increased awareness of the importance of the environment.
There is little sign of recycling or taking advantage of alternative sources of energy etc. Although this may be due to a lack of
knowledge about how to be more eco-friendly or having little funds in order to change their ways, there are still plenty of


opportunities for Lerwick Town Centre to improve. The redevelopment of the Waterfront also will provide a good opportunity to
allow the Centre to become more environmentally friendly.


   ·   Encourage small shops and businesses to take advantage of small eco-changes such as:

          1. Promote Recycling Actively in Lerwick Town for example public bars and clubs recycling glass bottles and glasses
          2. Small Shops and Retailers changing to energy saving schemes.
          3. Encourage Retailers and Businesses if they are being refurbished to improve insulation to cut down on heating costs.
          4. Reduce plastic bag usage
          5. Encourage the use of renewable energy through a potential group energy project. Such as the installation of solar
             energy panels on several town centre buildings for example or demonstrating support for renewable energy in
          6. Ensure that any new construction or renovation projects are completely eco-friendly and promotes sustainability in the
             Lerwick Town Centre.

These are all small changes that can help smaller businesses be more environmentally friendly and therefore more sustainable into
the future.

 AIM 2: Assess the Coastal Protection available in and around the Town Centre to ensure the safety and
 sustainability of the buildings there.

As Lerwick Town Centre sits directly on the coastline it is important to ensure that all of the buildings are capable of standing up to
the bad weather. Also drainage and infrastructure in the area must be assessed to ensure that they are all working effectively. It is
also important to ensure that all of the historic buildings and lanes are suitably protected against the harsh weather and decay that
they may receive.



   ·   Ensure that adequate protection is in place for buildings and historic areas around the Town Centre, now and in the future.
   ·   Promote and ensure that the harbours around the Town Centre are a clean and safe place to be for example clean the water
       in the small boat harbour.

                                                             AIM 3: Encourage the use of sustainable transport such as
                                                             cycling and walking

                                                           Over the last 10 years various measures to reduce the amount of traffic
                                                           moving through the Town Centre have been taken. This includes the part
                                                           pedestrianisation of Commercial Street, a tariff being introduced on
                                                           Victoria Pier and timed car parking below Fort Charlotte. There are many
                                                           benefits of reducing the flow of traffic around the town centre. This
                                                           includes improved safety, better air quality, reduced noise and improved
                                                           pedestrian environment. In a recent shopping survey, conducted in July
2007, 83 out of 172 people stated that the partial pedestrianisation has improved the safety of shoppers and 40 people stated that it
improved the shopping environment. 53 people also stated that it should be extended to include the entire street. However at the
same time of the 116 drivers questioned for the survey, 62 stated that the parking facilities in the town centre were not adequate.
However, it is important to note that this Action Plan is working towards a sustainable future and phasing out the large volume of
vehicles is part of improving the Town Centre environment for the future.


          ·   Enforce the pedestrianisation bylaw for Commercial Street.
          ·   Assess the need for Car Parking Charges at all central car parks, e.g. Hillhead and Below Fort Charlotte.
          ·   Promote the use of buses for accessing the Town Centre, (assess the need for providing revised timetables and
              improved advertising).


                                     Creating A High Quality Environment

It is very important for the future of the Town Centre that it attracts the maximum amount of people as it possibly can. Therefore it is
important that the town centre has an attractive environment that people will enjoy. In recent years many changes have taken place
to improve the visual environment of the Town Centre. This includes a paint scheme to improve shop fronts, floral basket scheme,
the re-flagging of Commercial Street and Heritage Lighting around the town centre replacing unappealing modern lighting.
However, it is important to maintain an attractive town centre environment as it can attract more customers and in turn boost
business. There are various projects, which can improve the environment of this area. This includes:

Key Objectives

   ·   Identify an environmental improvement scheme for the town centre
   ·   Re-introducing a Paint Scheme along Commercial Street and Commercial Road to improve shop fronts in this area.
   ·   To promote the use of Heritage Lighting along and around the harbour to enhance it and to promote Lerwick as a 24- hours
   ·   Investing in clear and effective signing for tourists visiting the town
   ·   Encourage an Anti-Litter Campaign, and look into purchasing cigarette and chewing gum bins for outside bars and clubs.

   ·   Consider what will replace the Esplanade Toilet Block.

 AIM 1: Improve the environment for visitors through small-
 scale environmental improvements

There are many areas that can be considered when looking into improving the Town Centre environment. These projects will focus
particularly on improving the environment for tourists visiting the town centre.


   ·   Inspect and clean up all of the Lerwick Lanes and promote them as part of the outstanding conservation area.
   ·   Encourage and Support opportunities for public art in the area
   ·   Consider renewing the flags and banners.
   ·   Install new street furniture to improve street scape
   ·   Improve the Gateways into Lerwick, both when leaving and entering the town, as first and last impressions of the town are
       very important.
   ·   Improve small boat harbour, create new walkway.
   ·   Provide cigarette and chewing gum bins outside of bars and clubs around the Town Centre.

 AIM 2: Improving signage for visitors

Currently around Lerwick there is quite poor signage for visitors trying to find their way around the area. There is a lack of co-
ordinated signs to help visitors find places throughout Lerwick and the own centre. An example of this is from the Northlink Ferry
Terminal to the Town Centre (in particular Commercial Street) there is very little clear and direct signing. This can lead to visitors
having a poor first impression of Shetland, which may affect their overall opinion of their trip. In order to change this situation
several actions should be undertaken.


   ·   Investigate into what areas are in particular need of clear and co-ordinated signage for both tourists and residents. For
       Example look particularly at all of the Gateways into Lerwick. It is also important to include signs, which also leave Lerwick
       as well.
   ·   Research into particularly effective forms of signage and consider which could be the most suitable in Lerwick.
   ·   Invest in re-newing and updating maps and signs around Lerwick and particularly around the Town Centre.
   ·   Consider investing in an “Events Board” which would be placed at the Market Cross or at the Tourist Centre which would tell
       tourists and residents alike what events where taking place in Lerwick today how to get to them. Having the board in the
       Town Centre of Lerwick means that it can receive maximum exposure.


 AIM 3: Re-Introduce a Paint Scheme along Commercial Street and Commercial Road to Improve Shop

The re-introduction of a Paint Scheme to improve the shop fronts around Lerwick would greatly improve the environment of the
Town Centre as it would allow shops to become more attractive and clean places to shop and work in. Several shops from
Commercial Street to Commercial Road, can be seen to have very poor shop fronts with peeling paint, rust stains and dirt.
Improving shop frontages would improve the image of the Town Centre and make the area a better place to visit.


   ·   Source funding for Paint Scheme.
   ·   An inspection of businesses and shop fronts to see which businesses require the scheme the most.
   ·   Attempt to undertake the scheme by summer 2008 to allow enough time for the Town Centre to improve its environment
       before the next large event of the Tall Ships 2011.

With the Tall Ships Race visiting again in 2011, an improvement in the shop fronts of Lerwick appears to be more than needed in
order to represent Shetland as an enjoyable, clean and pleasant place to be. It will promote local business and local economy and
contribute to the healthy development of commerce in Shetland.


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