A NEW report has suggested two sites to help fill in the gaps in Helensburgh town centre as part of its new conservation area status.

The document has identified the end of a row of tenement blocks on East Princes Street, at its junction with Maitland Street, as a potential area for development.

And two empty sites on Colquhoun Street, either side of the premises occupied by Noble Inc Tattoo Studio and Keys Galore, have also been highlighted by Argyll and Bute Council officers.

The draft conservation area appraisal and conservation strategy was put before the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee on Wednesday, March 18.

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The committee is recommended to agree an eight-week consultation period on the plans for the conservation area, including a public meeting.

Under the heading ‘opportunities for development’, the council’s draft document said: “There is a presumption against new development within the conservation area which would harm its character or appearance.

“However, it is important to define that proposals that only deliver a neutral effect will also not be sufficient.

“Local plan policy and supplementary guidance promotes positive intervention, with an emphasis on high quality design, with the core objective of enhancement and contribution to a sense of place.

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“There are some key gap sites within the conservation area boundary. One of these is at the end of a row of tenements at the corner of Princes Street and Maitland Street.

“This site is particularly important on the boundary to the town centre area on one of the principal streets that largely defines the townscape character.

“The development of this site can make a significant contribution to the first impression of the area. There is the opportunity to provide a strong corner feature that completes the urban block and provides a positive transition onto Maitland Street.

“Other important gap site are the two vacant plots either side of 8-12 Colquhoun Street.

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"These sites are particularly sensitive as they are located on an important linking street between the former pier and the main civic square.

“Insertion of buildings of the appropriate scale and design is important in re-establishing the building line which will frame the views of the square and waterfront.

“For all of these gap sites it is vital that they incorporate active commercial frontages which are a unique component of Helensburgh’s town centre character.”

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