A bold £400 million vision for the future of Perth has been unveiled to the public.
The blueprint sets out dreams and ambitions to create “one of Europe’s great small cities” over the next 20 years.
The masterplan has been put together by the Perth City Development Board a public-private concern and focuses on several large-scale projects between now and 2035, when the population is expected to have grown by 50% to around 60,000.
One of the main aims is to raise the city’s average wage by attracting more “blue chip” companies and promoting Perth College’s growing reputation for teaching excellence and niche research.
New crossings over the river Tay are also planned, plus a major overhaul of run-down city centre streets including new pedestrian zones and a £1 million new “culture quarter” at Mill Street.
The proposals estimated to cost around £400 million to bring to reality are being put to the public at a series of consultation events across the region. Feedback will be used to shape the strategy over the coming months.
Board chairman John Bullough said of the city plan: “It’s not just the view of one organisation, it’s a collective vision built from the broad range of experience available within the development board to make Perth a great, small European city.
“Developing the city isn’t just about building more roads, houses or schools. We need all of these things, but the Perth City Plan sets out actions for smart growth so that we are building the right houses, with high-quality designs, to create a new generation of sustainable communities and neighbourhoods with access to employment and services.
“To achieve this, the new plan balances long-term perspectives with short-term action. It sets out where we want to be in 20 years but it also identifies how we are going to get there.”
Among the proposed developments is a facelift of St Paul’s Square, removing parked cars “and other clutter”, while introducing seating and planting. This plan will hinge on the long-awaited restoration of St Paul’s Church.
A car park in New Row could also be reinvented as an “elegant park” for small community events and festivals.
The board said the cost and feasibility of building a series of new pedestrian and cycling bridges over the Tay should be investigated.
Mr Bullough added: “Many towns and cities come up with similar plans but only a select few deliver them. Those who do succeed, do so through bravery.
“It’s the confidence, guts and aspiration to deliver plans that a very few, very loud people always complain about. The more ambitious the plans are, the louder the noise.
“But the development board are absolutely confident that the quieter, vast majority of Perth realise that doing nothing is simply not an option.”