New visitor centre plans at Greenock Ocean Terminal

New plans have been revealed for a landmark building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock to welcome cruise ship passengers.

The plans, submitted as part of a planning application, are for a new visitor centre, restaurant and gallery at Greenock Ocean Terminal.

The project, led by Inverclyde Council, is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal and aims to provide a new berthing facility and a visitor centre designed by Scotland-based firm Richard Murphy Architects to boost cruise ship passengers welcomed to Scotland through the Greenock facility operated by Peel Ports.

In addition to the state of the art visitor centre welcoming cruise ship passengers from across the world, the plans also include a purpose built gallery celebrating the work of Inverclyde resident sculptor George Wyllie (1921-2012) and a new restaurant with panoramic views across the Clyde.

The visitor centre is expected to open in spring/summer 2020.

As part of the outline business case published last year, it is estimated that over 150,000 passengers could pass through Greenock Ocean Terminal delivering £26m in annual visitor and crew spend to the Scottish economy.

Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “The project is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal and aims to boost the capacity at Greenock Ocean Terminal for cruise ships.  The addition of a restaurant and Wyllie Gallery will help to provide a year round attraction for visitors to Greenock and Inverclyde.

“As a key City Deal project, the new visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal aims to make a significant contribution to economic growth and international tourism across the wider city region area.

“Just a few weeks ago, the eight city region councils and our partners launched a new tourist strategy and action plan which aims to increase visitors by 1 million by 2023.

“The development at ocean terminal over recent years from very small beginnings as, effectively, a side business to the container terminal business is a testimony to the commitment by Peel Ports to growing this market in Scotland.  The project to deliver new berthing facilities will help to support that growth.”

George Wyllie’s elder daughter, Louise Wyllie, said: “Inverclyde Council’s vision in realising this complex project is to be applauded.

“It has always been an ambition of The George Wyllie Foundation to celebrate and mark my father’s life and work in Inverclyde; an area which he loved and which was the lifeblood of all his art works.

“This exciting development at Ocean Terminal in Greenock marks a sea-change in the Foundation’s on-going voyage to mark his legacy as a ground-breaking artist and to make more people aware of his life’s work.

“Although making and creating art – be it music, plays or sculpture – was always a big part of his life, my father worked as a Customs and Excise officer for many years in this very spot. I know he would be thrilled that an world-class art space, designed by award-winning architect, Richard Murphy, was going to be part of a bigger picture which aims to inject new life into this area of Greenock.

Louise, who is also a trustee of the George Wyllie Foundation, added: “Giving access to arts for all was always part of my father’s approach to creativity and we can’t wait to get started on a host of exciting arts-for-all projects.”

The Greenock Ocean Terminal project to create a visitor centre and berthing facility is expected to cost £14.7m as part of the £1bn Glasgow City Region City Deal which is funded equally by the Scottish and UK governments.

The proposal for a new visitor centre landmark building for Greenock is being developed by Richard Murphy Associates, one of Scotland’s most celebrated architect firms. The company has won an unprecedented 22 RIBA Awards.

The planned completion date for the visitor centre is Spring/Summer 2020.

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