Water chance to put Kirkintilloch on the map

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A WAVE of fresh interest in living on the canal could be created in Kirkintilloch, it is hoped.

Scottish Canals is seeking permission to create nine moorings for residential boats at Southbank Marina.

It is part of a pioneering ‘Living On Water’ campaign – inspired by the success of thriving houseboat communities in Ireland, Holland and Scandinavia.

Katie Hughes, director of Scottish Canals, said the initiative was being progressed thanks to additional Scottish Government funding.

She enthused: “This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a unique living environment and become part of a vibrant houseboat community that is becoming an attractive alternative for anyone interested in a lifestyle change that brings them closer to nature, benefits from the tranquillity of Scotland’s canals and offers excellent value for money.

“The early success of our pilot projects in Edinburgh’s Leamington Wharf and Muirton Wharf in Inverness, as well as the anticipated interest at Speirs Wharf in Glasgow once we launch in a few weeks’ time, have prompted us to consider other sites across Scotland, with Southbank Marina at Kirkintilloch one of these locations.”

A planning application has been lodged by Scottish Canals for nine residential moorings, with car parking and landscaping works.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “It is great to see private inward investment proposed for the town, especially around the canal.

“Any proposal will have to satisfy the relevant statutory processes, but if this is something that is permitted and implemented in Kirkintilloch it could certainly add all-year-round life and activity along the canal, and complement emerging regeneration plans for the town centre.”

A Masterplan champions’ group was formed last year and members include local businesses, community groups and Scottish Canals.

The council’s draft plan is being prepared and will go before councillors in May for approval to consult further with local people.

At the heart of the masterplan, which was drawn up following a series of consultation events, is a rejuvenated town hall and improved access and parking.

The proposals also include using the current Lairdsland Primary site for new housing when the school relocates to Southbank Marina.

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