First look at new £10m learning disability hub

DESIGNS for a new £10 million day centre for people in Inverclyde with learning disabilities have been revealed as the project reaches a key milestone.

Artist’s impressions have been released as part of the planning application that has been submitted seeking permission to build the facility on the former Hector McNeil Swimming Pool site in Brachelston Street, Greenock.

The project is being led and funded by Inverclyde Council/HSCP, working alongside architects Holmes Miller and development partner hub West Scotland.

If permission is granted, the new-build facility would replace the existing Fitzgerald Centre and would have space for up to 50 adults.

Councillor Martin McCluskey, vice-convener of Inverclyde Council’s social care and social work scrutiny panel, said: “It’s 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 brand new, state-of-the-art learning disability hub for the people of Inverclyde. I’m also pleased with the emphasis on the low carbon focus of this project.v

Inverclyde Learning Disability Hub artist's impression
Inverclyde Learning Disability Hub artist's impression

“A great deal of effort has gone into getting us to this stage and I’d like to congratulate all involved thus far in getting us here as we now wait with anticipation for the conclusion of the planning process.”

The development is being funded by Inverclyde Council with a contribution from the Integration Joint Board (IJB) – the organisation that oversees local health and social care functions delegated to it by the Council/Health Board and delivered by the HSCP.

The project has also attracted a grant of almost £1m from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Fund/Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP) due to the low carbon design of the building in keeping with the council’s net zero action plan, which sets out a series of objectives and associated actions to reduce harmful emissions. 

Alan Cowan, chair of Inverclyde IJB, said: “I am sure that I speak for many when I say that I am delighted to see the progress of this much needed new hub that will deliver modern and suitable surroundings to support our adults and young people with a learning disability.

“Subject to the planning process, I look forward to seeing it open.”

While the exterior design draws inspiration from Greenock’s famous Sugar Sheds, the internal layout and external landscaping has been developed through partnership working with learning disability staff and extensive consultation with service users and families.

The aim is to provide an enhanced sensory experience for those users with complex needs, including those with co-existing conditions such as autism, visual and perceptual impairments, physical and sensory disabilities, dementia and life-limiting conditions.

Careful consideration has been given to the use of materials, texture, colour and noise to provide the best possible environment for service users and staff indoors and outdoors.

Inverclyde Learning Disability Hub artist's impression 2
Inverclyde Learning Disability Hub artist's impression.

Nada Shehab, project architect from Holmes Miller, said: “It has been great working with a strong client group that has a clear vision of how good design will provide them with a canvas to improve the lives and experiences of their service users.”

Another key focus of the project is achieving enhanced energy efficiencies and a low operational carbon footprint, including the use of roof-mounted solar panels to help offset emissions.

Iain Marley, chief executive of hub West, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Inverclyde Council to deliver the Inverclyde Learning Disability Hub.

“The project team has been working closely with the council and HSCP to develop a great design which addresses the needs and aspirations of the service users and also incorporates a fresh, calm and welcoming environment for all the building users.

“We are enthused to have McLaughlin & Harvey on board for their first hub West Scotland project, and are looking forward to working closely together with all partners to progress the successful delivery of this important project.”

An update on the project went before the social work and social care scrutiny panel on 23 February 2023 and is available within agenda item 06 at or via the Related Links section of this page. 

The meeting is also available to watch on the Inverclyde Council YouTube channel or by clicking on the link in the Other Websites section of this page. 

The planning application is available to view on the planning section of the council website or via the Related Links section of this page.