Where can I get paper copies of the petition?
You can download a copy to print off right here.
Where do I hand them in?
Greenock - You can drop them off at The Volunteer Centre in Westburn Centre, 175 Dalrymple Street, (right across from Tescos car Park)
Port Glasgow - You can drop them off at 7 1/2 John Wood Street.
We do not currently have a pick up / drop off in Gourock, we'd love to hear from you if you can help us out there.
How can I help?
Mostly by helping us keep awareness up by sharing the page, petition and blog.
You could also volunteer to take a stack of petitions away to get them signed. (we will provide these for you). To arrange that, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You could email your local councillor or MSP and let them know how you feel, politely and in your own words.
If you are a performer, you could enter our Celebration Ode online battle of the bands
Who is running this campaign?
The campaign was initiated by local heritage group Magic Torch, we first came together in 1999, at the time of the last Tall Ships and have worked to promote and celebrate local heritage ever since. Our News Archive charts the story of the Sheds over the last ten years, we have certainly voiced our opinions on alternative uses many times over that period. Many more local people have been helping us since the start of this campaign.
What do you hope to achieve?
Aim:To explore an alternative development strategy for regeneration of the Sugar Sheds in order to provide the maximum community benefit for the people of Inverclyde.
1. To work collaboratively with Riverside Inverclyde and all key stakeholders- including the local community- to explore alternative uses for the Sugar Sheds beyond the current outline planning permission.
Is there a sound business case for this proposal?
Nope. Not yet. Is there a sound business case for the current regeneration proposal? If so, how is that any more definitively workable than what we are suggesting here. Frequently changing financial markets and economies mean that investment opportunities are more challenging to pin down. This is the difficulty facing all regeneration initiatives. Some have chosen to grapple with this by more actively involving community groups and organisations, as this opens up avenues for funding, tax and rate relief which may not be available to developers. We would want to work with the URC on being part of a sound business proposal.
Isn't the new Arts Guild (The Beacon) going to be our new community venue?
The Beacon is an excellent development, and in fact it is a good example of local agencies and a community organisation working collaboratively to make something happen. However first and foremost, it is a theatre space. It would not offer the sorts of opportunities for bands, markets, large scale gallery installations etc. We do not see the two spaces as mutually exclusive, however we do think they could work brilliantly together. There are many towns and communities which are able to support more than one single solitary arts venue.
Who would run the building?
Well as it stands, the building is owned by James Watt Dock LLP. We are optimistic, upbeat folk...but we are not naive enough to hope that the building would just be given to the community or Magic Torch to "do things" with it. Certainly, there are many successful examples and legal models for community ownership of buildings...but at this stage, what we are asking for is for the community to be actively involved in the current regeneration proposals, that the space be given over to some community usage over the next few months, and that longer term this would lead to dedicated community space within the Sugar Sheds. There are many formal structures community groups and organisations can adopt to help them manage and resource themselves effectively, these could be explored as appropriate, involving a wide range of community membership.
How could you afford to do anything with the building?
There's no point in pretending this isn't a challenge. It is. A massive, long-term challenge. The building has already had almost £4million spent on it to ensure it is wind and watertight, renovating and developing the rest would cost even more. This is why the key to the building's future is likely to be mixed use and require activities with the potential to generate some income. However, by involving the community, other sources of funding other than straightforward private investment can become available. Every area in the country has the potential to get back a percentage of the money we spend on National Lottery tickets to be used to fund community projects which will make a positive difference to the area. Inverclyde does not do this, as such, we are a Lottery Funding "cold-spot", which means that both Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland and Big Lottery would welcome new project submissions from this area, including capital projects. It is not a guarantee, but it's a good start. And that's before you start looking at the many other funders and trust funds available across the UK, or exploring the investment opportunities of developing social enterprises. None of this money will simply fall into our lap, effective funding takes time...but there are many doors to knock on.