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A total of 31,000 new trees to be planted as part of the design led by local community for a new district park.

Winchburgh Developments Limited has confirmed that I&H Brown has commenced work on a brand new 78-acre district park at Winchburgh in a contract worth £6 million. The first phase of the park is scheduled to open in spring 2021.

Over 500 members of the Winchburgh community, and a further 350 Winchburgh primary school pupils, were involved in a detailed consultation in 2018, contributing ideas and providing feedback on options for the design and layout of the park, which will become the town’s largest outdoor recreational venue.

An estimated 31,000 trees will be planted, providing a number of woodland walks as well as extensive areas of new wildlife habitat. The first 420 trees, donated by the local Winchburgh Community Growing Group through the Woodland Trust, will be planted this winter.

The original design for the park extended over 45 acres, but this expanded to 78 acres with the final plan including extensive meadows and woodland areas, including wide open spaces for picnics and open play. Further dedicated play areas have been incorporated to suit different age groups from young children to teens, including sensory play and large natural play areas, as well as an enclosed dog park.

A café with public toilets will be located in the centre of the park, with community growing areas and orchards nearby. The design also includes a 2.5-kilometre loop of accessible paths, which will connect with the Union Canal towpath, as well as a mountain bike track and fitness trails. Viewing areas on higher ground affording long-range views across Winchburgh and to the Forth bridges beyond.

Auldcathie Park will be situated adjacent to the new schools’ campus area, which is to be located on former farmland on the south east boundary of the park site and will feature playing fields and sports pitches. Within the masterplan area there will be two new secondary schools and at least two new primary schools.

John Hamilton, CEO, Winchburgh Developments Limited said: “The new Auldcathie District Park is an integral part of the Winchburgh masterplan, bringing important new green infrastructure to the area and connecting the town via a network of blue and green links. The response from the Winchburgh community to this project has been fantastic, and their ideas and recommendations have been incorporated into the final design for the park, which will provide important new recreational facilities benefitting the health and wellbeing of the people living and working here.

“We will continue to maintain contact with the local community as the park naturally evolves over time. Over one and a half acres of the park will be transferred to Winchburgh Community Growers, and we are also assessing wider opportunities for a potential community management scheme on a long-term basis.”

John West, Winchburgh Community Growing Group, said:

"Winchburgh Community Growing Group has been growing fast since June 2018 thanks to the positive response we have had from the local community along with the support from Winchburgh Developments Ltd, which has helped to sow the seeds to our success.  

We’re are super excited and proud to move onto the next phase of our journey – transforming over one and a half acres of the new Auldcathie park into a new space for the community to sow, grow, eat and learn together.”

Deryck Irving, Head of Strategic Development, Central Scotland Green Network Trust added:

“The Central Scotland Green Network is one of the largest greenspace initiatives in Europe and aims, by 2050, to create a Central Scotland where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality. This can only be achieved by a wide range of partners – public and private sector; voluntary groups and communities – working together to create and maintain high quality, well connected, green places.

“The work being carried out by Winchburgh Developments Ltd at Auldcathie is a fantastic example of this in practice – not just because of the creation of new high-quality greenspace which will make Winchburgh an attractive and vibrant place to live and work but because of the involvement of the local community in all stages of the project from initial ideas through to the plans for ongoing management.”

Alastair Lewis, Technical Director at Sweco, who are supervising the remediation works for the District Park, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the restoration of this derelict landfill site. This is creating a valuable community asset, and at the same time enabling the safe development of the schools’ campus area on the adjacent arable farmland. The engineering design has been undertaken by a highly experienced team of environmental and geotechnical consultants and ground gas specialists, in consultation with West Lothian Council’s Environmental Health department, to ensure the safe delivery of this public resource.”

Tom Conn, executive councillor for the environment at West Lothian Council said: “We are delighted to have a large District Park being created at Winchburgh, bringing the total number of District Parks in West Lothian to eight overall.

“Not only are we fortunate to have investment in another large area of greenspace for leisure and recreation, but this is a remarkable operation making use of what was once derelict land and turning it into a positive asset.

“The community consultation process has been extensive throughout Winchburgh and the park promises to provide a wide range of facilities for all. With a rise in interest in food growing, we are particularly pleased that the Winchburgh Community Growing Group has been working closely with the developers to ensure the creation of an orchard and retaining an acre of land in the park for community growing.”

The masterplan also includes the delivery of three new neighbourhood parks. Daisy Park will be located next to the Union Canal in the centre of the town, a second in the Glendevon area to the west, and a third to the east at Hawkhill.

Spanning 352 hectares, Winchburgh is one of the largest and most exciting placemaking projects currently underway in the UK delivering at least 3,450 new homes, improved transport links, employment opportunities, state-of-the-art schools and stunning new outdoor spaces to the historic village.

For further information, visit www.winchburghdevelopments.co.uk.

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