DECISION Due Next Week On Greenock Cruise Terminal, Art Gallery And Restaurant Plan

COUNCILLORS are expected to give planning permission next week for a multi-million pound cruise passenger terminal building, art gallery and restaurant on Greenock's riverfront.

The distinctive building on land beside the Waterfront Cinema is being proposed in conjunction with a new cruise berth facility and pontoon at the neighbouring Ocean Terminal.

Planning officials are recommending approval for the development. Councillors on Inverclyde Planning Board are due to consider the application on Wednesday.

The terminal area of the new building will be mainly at ground floor level on the north-western wing, relocating from within the port facility. The gallery, dedicated to the work of George Wyllie, will be located at ground, mezzanine and first floor level in the south-eastern wing. A restaurant will be located at the upper floor level link between the two wings, extending onto the roof of the north-western wing.

The development will mean the number of spaces in the Waterfront car park will go from 266 to 172. Roads department guidelines for the site state there should be 215 spaces.

The existing car park access from Custom House Way is to be relocated further east, towards the leisure complex.

Returning cruise ship coaches will use a drop-off point on Custom House Way, which will provide for 10 coach spaces on the existing carriageway. A temporary traffic management system will be put in place via a Traffic Regulation Order to close the road to all vehicles except buses and to create a one-way (eastbound) system. Council officials state that it is expected the order will result in restrictions being in force for two periods of up to one hour between the hours of 11.30 and 18.30 hours on days cruise ships are in.

A report by planners states: "Whilst it is noted that the proposal will result in a reduction of the number of car parking spaces within the adjacent car park, the use to which the car park is put at present and the proposed use has to be considered, together with the site’s town centre location.

"It has been noted that the car park has become busier during daytime hours largely due to office worker parking on account of restrictions elsewhere. The proposed passenger terminal element will not result in additional parking demand, with the possible exception of intermittent staff, due to the transient nature of the users.

"The restaurant will conduct most trade in the evening and at weekends when the car park will be at its quietest. The art gallery is most likely to have visitors throughout its opening hours but not necessarily with any peak hours, and visits to the building could have an element of dual purpose, with art gallery patrons also being restaurant customers and vice versa."

It continues: "Due to the town centre location, the building is accessible by a range of means of transport. There are bus services within two minutes’ walk (on Container Way adjacent to Tesco) and Greenock Central Railway Station is approximately 10 minutes’ walk.

"Existing pedestrian links are well established, including through the Bullring car park and along Custom House Way. I also note that there are other parking opportunities within walking distance in the town centre as part of the overall parking strategy. The Head of Service for Roads and Transportation has therefore concluded that, although the number of parking spaces within the adjacent car park is being reduced, the proposal can, nevertheless, be accommodated within the wider but easily accessible area."

The project is being led by Inverclyde Council and is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

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