Most folk who ventured down to the tall Ships at the weekend had a good time, the sun shone, there was free music, the boats were lovely and the visiting crews were friendly and chatty, people were smiling.
However, a wee glance at online comments on Inverclyde Now, or various facebook pages associated with the event shows that clearly many people were unhappy with what they see as an ill equipped site for the thousands who attended with little postive impact for the local economy. I suppose that's all a matter of your personal opinion or experience over the weekend, as local stallholders, we were there from Friday night and pretty much stayed there for four days. But amidst the controversy and public opinion, there is one recurring theme.."the Sugar Sheds are an excellent venue". It's great to see the sheds being used and viewed in such a positive way, after all, their very future was in doubt after a mysterious fire swept through them 6 years ago.
The Sugar Sheds remain the centrepiece of the regeneration plans for Greenock, but perhaps, after the weekend, we should view those plans differently. Are the sheds really the right venue for more over-priced housing and nice new empty office space, unlikely to sell, or should we be daring to think differently...considering performances, indoor markets, exhibitions and art installations while we bide time waiting for the market to change. Assuming it ever does.
The brickwork, the high windows, the captured atmosphere of hundreds of years of history, once again brought this building to life in a way that nothing else has for years. We should capture that momentum and build on it, before the most recent ten year regeneration mission ends, and the building once more slides back into silence...
If you agree, you can visit Keep Greenock Sugar Sheds a Community Venue on facebook, go here to sign the online petition.