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January 19, 2010

Village set to welcome Waverley

The villagers of Arrochar and Tarbet have been working long and hard to bring about a vision for their community that they hope will secure its long term prosperity. Like a jigsaw, the pieces are slowly fitting into place. A multi million pound community campus is nearing completion and work is set to start soon on the next development – a pontoon and onshore facilities to accommodate the Clyde’s most famous paddle steamer

The community have been very encouraged by the support of the Scottish Government for the proposals drawn up by them, Argyll & Bute Council, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, and others, working within a Marine Access Group for the Cowal area of the wider Clyde waterway.  Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust and Community Council representatives, with advisors and project managers from Community Links Scotland have been working alongside the authorities on a wide ranging business plan to bring marine traffic back to the head of Loch Long to integrate with local services and allow Arrochar to again become a travel interchange hub, accessing road (A83/A82/A814) , West Highland Rail (North to Fort William and Oban, South to Helensburgh, Dumbarton and Glasgow), cycle and walking routes (Including the Cowal and Loch Lomondside Parkway), as well as linking with the Clyde, Loch Lomond and Loch Katarine ferry services which it is anticipated will build up with the return of this valuable interchange and landing point.

Arrochar and Tarbet community representatives spoke passionately to Richard Lochhead the minister for Rural affairs when he visited Arrochar to present the Calor Village of the Year Award in October about the possibility of resurrecting ferry and pedestrian services on Loch Long to return Arrochar and the surrounding areas to its former glory with travellers coming and going in all directions from the Clyde Steamers as they did the 50’s and early 60’s.
A great deal of work has gone into the proposal which now includes improved shore side visitor facilities to enhance the visitor experience for travellers coming from PS Waverley and other ferry operators.  The Community owned Pit Stop Diner has had an extensive makeover to provide toilets, shower and laundry facilities as well upgrading the catering and local gateway information services that visitors will expect on disembarking and awaiting boarding ferry services.

The community are delighted with the Scottish Government now adding support funding from the Rural Priorities scheme within the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) to grants and funding support previously provided over a 10 year development period by the Scottish Land Fund (SLF), the Big Lottery Fund (BLF), Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Communities Scotland, Scottish Enterprise Dumbarton, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Islands LEADER, Lomond and Rural Stirling LEADER, European Union and other Trusts and charitable foundations.  All this funding has met the professional, capital and revenue costs incurred in the development of the Community’s Pitstop Diner, the new Community hall and now, projecting forward, a marine pontoon jetty and visitor centre on the former pier car park. 
All our community’s patience, detailed planning, many, many meetings and consultations, continual fund raising and ongoing operational efforts are all coming to an exciting conclusion as the new 3 Villages Hall is almost complete and our Campus Development Manager, local resident Liz Baillie, is in place to oversee the completion of the building contract and the opening arrangements.“Our appointment diary and regular bookings are coming along nicely in line with our early expectations” says Liz.  “However anyone wishing to visit and make a booking for a function or event will still be considered, as there are room and facility options we can accommodate in the multi—purpose venue”.  Visit our 3 Villages hall website   or