Plans to transform future of Lanarkshire street attract ‘overwhelming support’

A community survey to explore the potential for transforming a street in Larkhall into a part-pedestrianised community space has attracted “overwhelming support”.

In total, 83 per cent of respondents supported the idea to transform Larkhall’s King Street.

Only four per cent of those who gave their views disagreed with the proposal, with 13 per cent saying they didn’t know.

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The survey, part of a feasibility study exploring potential community use of King Street, was launched by Larkhall Community Growers, on behalf of the Larkhall Plan Partnership, in mid-January.

Results released today show that 55 per cent of people consider the quality of public space in the town center to be “poor” and 91 per cent of respondents say they would welcome the creation of new public open space in Larkhall.

On being asked about potential uses of new public space in the town centre, respondents ranked markets, seasonal events, seating and resting space, and planting and landscaping as their priorities.

A separate survey of young people at Larkhall Academy attracted 243 responses, and respondents’ priorities for community space matched that of the wider community, with markets and seasonal events coming out on top by a considerable margin.

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The survey of young people found high use of the town centre, but low satisfaction with it, with only 30 per cent of young people feeling proud of their town centre, while 37 per cent don’t feel there is enough space to do the things they want to do in the town centre.

A separate survey of local businesses is ongoing, and, to date, also shows a clear majority (58 per cent) supporting the part-pedestrianisation proposals.

In total more than 900 people have responded to the three surveys, and a more detailed analysis of the findings will now be carried out by the researchers delivering the feasibility study.

The idea for community space in the town center was sparked by suggestions in the ‘Our Larkhall – Your Voice Matters’ survey, carried out by Larkhall Plan Partnership two years ago.

Nancy Barr, Chair of Larkhall Community Growers, told Lanarkshire Live: “These early survey results confirm there is overwhelming support from the community for using King Street as a community space. It’s reassuring to know that we are responding in the way the community wants to needs that have previously been highlighted.

“The list of potential uses for a part pedestrianized King Street also resonates very strongly with verbal feedback we have had from local people, so it’s reassuring to know we are on the right track with this idea. There’s still a lot to do, and our conversations with businesses and other groups in the community will continue, but to know the community has given this idea their unequivocal backing is fantastic.”

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The feasibility study is being carried out by Alan Jones Associates, a company specializing in strategic community development, and the project has been made possible with the support of funding from South Lanarkshire Council.

Consultation with the business community of Larkhall is ongoing, and local businesses are being invited to take part in a drop-in session to discuss the proposals with the group.

The information session for local businesses will take place on Thursday, February 24 from 2-8pm at the Lighthouse on King Street. There is no need to pre-book, and local business representatives will be able to discuss the plans and explore ideas directly with Larkhall Community Growers and a feasibility study researcher.

The full results of the feasibility study, including recommendations, are expected to be published in late March.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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