Planning application submitted for learning disability hub

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 20-Mar-2023

Plans for Inverclyde’s new £10m adult learning disability hub move forward

A planning application has been submitted for a new sustainable and inclusive adult learning disability hub in Inverclyde, designed jointly by architects at Holmes Miller and Inverclyde Council, working in partnership with hub West Scotland. 

The £10m facility, which will be located in Brachelston Street on the site of the former Hector McNeil Memorial Swimming Baths, will replace the current Fitzgerald Centre in Greenock.

It will provide day care facilities and enhanced learning activity spaces for up to 50 adults with learning and physical disabilities within the Inverclyde community.

Construction of the centre is expected to start on site this summer. 

To deliver on Inverclyde Council’s net zero aspirations, a ‘fabric first’ approach to design has been adopted at the centre, which will result in an efficient and low-energy building.

Carbon emissions will also be offset by a large array of roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels.

While the exterior design draws inspiration from Greenock’s famous Sugar Sheds, the centre’s internal layout has been developed through extensive consultation with the facility’s senior management team, the health and social care partnership, service users, and their families. 

The aim is to provide an enhanced sensory experience for users with complex needs, such as autism, dementia, visual and perceptual impairments, and physical and sensory disabilities.

Work on the new facility will begin this summer

Work on the new facility will begin this summer

Careful consideration has been given to materials, texture, colour, and acoustics, to provide users with the best-possible environment to meet their needs. 

And the landscaping around the facility will build on the existing natural characteristics of the prominent site and will complement the sympathetic nature of the building.

Nada Shehab, project architect at Holmes Miller, said: “Our designs are for a building with a human scale and a modern distinctive character that takes subtle inspiration from prominent Greenock architecture.

“It has been great working with a strong client group that has a clear vision of how good design can improve the lives and experiences of their service users and their community, both now and in the future.”

Councillor Martin McCluskey, vice-convener of Inverclyde Council’s social care and social work scrutiny panel, added: “We promised people with learning disabilities and their families that the council would deliver a modern, state-of-the-art centre for them and their families. 

“And it is an exciting moment to get to the stage where we can start to see how this facility for the people of Inverclyde could look.

“While we await the outcome of the planning application, we can still celebrate this significant milestone and another major step towards delivering a new, state-of-the-art learning disability hub for the people of Inverclyde.

“I’m also pleased with the emphasis on low-carbon focus of this project.” 

The project team for the new building also includes McLaughlin & Harvey (main contractor), Harley Haddow (civil and structural engineers), Davie & McCulloch (mechanical and electrical engineers), and Brown & Wallace (cost consultants).

Service users and their families have been involved in the design process

Service users and their families have been involved in the design process

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