The transformation of a former private golf course into a new urban park
Grantee: South Lanarkshire Council
What the project set out to achieve
The works set out to transform a former private golf course, previously in a derelict state, into a new urban park. It was seen as the catalyst and centrepiece for a master planning exercise to regenerate the immediate area including new housing and access routes to the wider greenspace of Cathkin Park and the Commonwealth Games cycling facility.
Where the project idea came from
Following the closure of Blairbeth Golf Club, the site had been vacant, and with no positive activity taking place, the site became a magnet for anti-social behaviour. A study commissioned by South Lanarkshire Council in 2010 also showed a high amount of greenspace deprivation in the areas surrounding the site. The conversion of the site presented a great opportunity to address the proliferation of anti-social behaviour by making the site a desirable area for positive activities and community development. It would also address greenspace deprivation within the surrounding communities. There were other additional advantages, such as improved health outcomes associated with increased access to greenspace.
How the community helped develop the project
A number of community groups and organisations in the area all expressed a demand for multi-functional greenspace in the area and were fully supportive of this project and the wide range of benefits it set out to bring. Local communities played a big part in the implementation of the project with extensive consultation carried out within all sectors of the community. A ‘Friends of the Park’ group was also formed and was responsible for a lot of the on-going park activity and maintenance, and has remained active and instrumental since. Outreach work was carried out to ensure that groups from all sectors from the community were encouraged to use the park for a range of activities that meet their interests.
How the project fits into the bigger picture
The opening of this greenspace to the public was an exciting and innovative project which will provide over 20 hectares of new, urban, semi-natural, managed greenspace, creating a series of paths and cycle-ways improving accessibility to what was previously private land. The new park provide a number of facilities, including an allotment, outdoor classrooms, seating, trim trail, accessible path networks, a wide range of formal and informal activities and events as well as educational visits for schools and volunteering opportunities. This has enabled significant positive community use and reduced the potential for anti-social behaviour on-site.
The biodiversity of the site was enhanced by creating a series of natural meadows connected by woodland corridors, attracting back native species that had been driven away during the site’s intensive management as a golf course. The management and maintenance of the wetland area of the site created an integrated natural habitat, reducing flood risk and creating more natural processes which are allowing the watercourse to better support local ecosystems.
How the project improved the local area
The project put in place the following:
- 3.7km of new walking and cycling routes for differing abilities, and connected into Glasgow City Council's "Magnificant Eleven" circuit
- a three circuit pump track
- one hectare of allotment space (50 allotments) together with a community growing area
- two outdoor classrooms, viewpoints, and exercise areas
- 1,400m2 wetland created
- 10,000m2 wildflower meadow created
- 87m of boardwalk created
- 144m renaturalised, decanalised stream
- 9,000m2 woodland enhanced with native species
- community orchard with local provenance species
At the time of project design the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) figures for the area surrounding the park were low, with some datazones in the most deprived 5%. Evidence has shown that access to greenspace can have a significant impact on many of the SIMD indicators particularly health, crime and education.
In addition to this, the park has had a positive effect on community cohesion, bringing different sectors of the community together to take part in community activities in a public greenspace, with over 15 nurseries, primary and secondary schools using the space. The project also fit well into South Lanarkshire Council’s plans to improve greenspace and EU criteria for the expansion and improvement of green infrastructure in Scotland. In 2020, 20 hectares of the site was designated as a Local Nature Reserve.
Please read our project blogs below to gain additional insight into the impacts of the project.