MacEwen longlist: Balyett

Complementing coastal surroundings and boosting local economy

AHR for Dumfries & Galloway Council 

Location: Stranraer Gateways, Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway­­­­­­­­­

AHR was commissioned by Dumfries & Galloway Council to enhance key approach locations while creating a positive impression to the outskirts of Stranraer. An underlying driver for the project was to counteract the decline in footfall within the town centre following the relocation of the ferry port for Northern Ireland up the coast.

The first completed ‘Gateway’ is at the Balyett layby adjacent to the A77 with views to Loch Ryan and incorporating a popular but tired-looking café. The project entailed construction of a cantilevered larch-clad pavilion providing sheltered seating and a binocular outlook to take advantage of the panoramic views and shoreline birdlife. The café was refurbished externally to compliment the rural shelter, creating a simple, functional place sympathetic to its surroundings. It serves visitors and the local community alike and makes reference to the porthole views of the visible but distant ferries and observation of wading birds.

The council conducted extensive consultation in relation to the wider masterplan for Stranraer and Loch Ryan regeneration. Local residents were consulted to consider a variety of smaller interventions identified as ‘gateway opportunities’- areas on the outskirts of town requiring minimal work and expenditure but which could provide a sense of welcome and arrival.

Completed in June 2015 at a cost of £55,000, the refurbished café and new pavilion have been well received. Architecturally, the Scottish larch-clad intervention sits comfortably and in scale with its natural setting on the loch shore located on the existing coastal path and cycle route. The project has regenerated a major approach to the town, providing a purpose to stop. The café has also been socially and economically rewarding for the existing tenant who has witnessed a dramatic transformation to his council-owned facility. People are encouraged by the council’s commitment to underpin the local economy through rejuvenation of existing businesses and social spaces.


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