Ambitious plans revealed

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AT A public meeting in the Castle Green Hall on Thursday evening, Broughty Ferry Development Trust revealed its ambitious plans for the improvement of facilities at Castle Green.

Architects Nicoll Russell Studios had been commissioned by the trust to produce a feasibility study, funded by the Lottery and driven by an ongoing community consultation.

Scott Turpie of Nicoll Russell said that the study had considered all existing built assets at Castle Green, but had discovered that none of them met the study’s brief fully.

One of a number of options studied proposes a new building with café, interpretation and multi-purpose facilities at its heart.

The exploratory proposals investigate the potential to integrate such a building with the landscaped mounds that currently define the south east edge of the park, allowing a double outlook over the playpark on one side, and spectacular views across the Tay on the other.

Mr Turpie continued: “Consideration of the building as an ‘inhabited landscape’ offers a number of benefits, not least of which is the fact that the visual impact of the building is mitigated to allow the truly significant aspects of the site - castle, beach, river, park and esplanade - to dominate and define the character of the area.

“The roof of the building, which will, of course, be seen from the raised level of the castle itself, is predominantly grass banking with paths, steps, ramps and viewing points woven into it. Visitors will be able to explore this new landscape, just as in fine weather they currently walk over (and relax on) the existing mounding.

“The paths and viewing points, none of which are higher than the existing mounding, allow views to be focused on the key features of the surrounding environment.”

Mr Turpie added: “The ground floor layout shows a double aspect café looking out across terraces onto the spectacular views across the beach and river on one side, and the playpark on the other.

“Entrances on both sides lead directly into a central area with café / servery and counter related to small retail and information points.”

The plans feature an exhibition/interpretation zone which runs down the central spine of the building, naturally daylit from above, and leads to a flexible, multi-purpose room built into the mounds at the west edge of the site.

This room would be equipped with audio visual equipment and could be used for a range of functions including classroom for educational visits and lectures, public meetings, exhibitions, etc.

The kitchen serving the café also serves a kiosk type counter at the east end of the building that can service both the beach and the park via a covered external area. Either side of this kitchen/service area, again concealed below landscaped mounding, are toilets and beach changing / locker facilities.

The beach facilities can be reached via their own secondary entrance overseen by the kiosk staff.

Mr Turpie explained: “The design of the building and landscaping immediately around its perimeter has been developed to allow implementation even without the full realisation of the suggested modifications to the wider Council Masterplan for the area.

“There is no doubt, however, that the proposals would be significantly enhanced on completion of works such as the ‘boardwalk’ widening of the existing footpath, the car parking rationalisation, the pump-house/substation screening, and the proposed landscaping to augment the relationship with Windmill Gardens.”

He added that the castle was the important building in the area and to that end clearing away the semi-derelict and ugly water sports centre would open up views of the beach from Castle Lane.

He stressed that the proposed new building would respect the height lines of the existing mounds and would still be accessible to the public to enjoy the view from the top as before.

The meeting was well attended with over 30 residents and interested parties and feedback from them was overwhelmingly positive.