It is also seeking to:
- Ensure the Green Network is integrated, as appropriate, into emerging development plans, development frameworks, master plans and planning briefs.
- Promote connectivity and multifunctional use of all types of green space at a range of scales in both urban and rural areas.
- Identify opportunities and priority areas for Green Network enhancement to target available resources and facilitate its delivery.
Local Development Plan
West Lothian Council has prepared a background technical note relating to the Green Network for the Main Issues Report in advance of the new Local Development Plan due in Autumn 2015.
This has identified the existing assets and strategic green network and lists a substantial number of potential projects that cover Greenspace / Biodiversity / Riparian corridor and Active Travel improvements.
The detailed West Lothian Green Network will be mapped and once available, there will be a follow-up workshop involving with stakeholders to gather comments on the green network proposed.
Open Space Strategy Refresh (2015-2020)
West Lothian Council are updating and refreshing their 2005 Audit and 2010 Open Space Strategy, in line with Scottish Planning Policy recommendation that open space strategies are reviewed regularly. This update will include a refresh of the whole strategy, GIS mapping updates, incorporation of information gathered during the life of the strategy, an audit of greenspaces previously not included and the development of an action plan.
The scope of works has included site visits to cemeteries, churchyards, country parks and semi-natural open spaces not previously audited. The quality of the sites will be assessed and reported on in a format that can be incorporated into West Lothian Council’s Open Space Audit database.
Through West Lothian Council’s Capital Programme, resources have been allocated for improving 33 West Lothian parks from 2014 to 2018. 11 parks have either been improved or works are underway. Initial community engagements for a further 9 parks and open spaces have also taken place, with works scheduled for 2015/16. All the reports from these engagements can be found on West Lothian Council’s website. A placemaking approach was used with the council’s park improvement projects. The approach involved as many stakeholders as possible, including residents and workers, throughout the process. Community groups are being encouraged to help look after the parks and use them to their full potential after the physical improvements have been made.
All three West Lothian country parks secured funding through Landtrust to improve access and to upgrade information boards and signage through the parks. There have also been path improvements in the three Country Parks in the last year through capital funding. This has included a new path through the animal attraction at Beecraigs and an upgrade of the path running through Hillhouse which has seen users, such as walkers, horse riders and cyclists, increase to over 12,500 people a year.
The regeneration of Almondvale Park in the centre of Livingston is a major project for West Lothian Council in 2014-2016. Almondvale Park was identified in the West Lothian Local Plan (2009) as needing revitalisation. Following an initial independent report and community consultations, proposals for improvements were drawn up, some funding was allocated in through the Capital programme and part funding secured through Sustrans’ Community Links fund. Plans for the park can be found on West Lothian Council’s website. The improvements are to be made during 2015.
Little Boghead Nature Park
A placemaking exercise for Little Boghead Nature Park has now been completed and capital funding has been made available to improve and develop this wildlife rich park.
West Lothian Council’s Ranger Service will lead the project which will restore the site through enhancement of the existing habitats, improved access for the community and a management plan put in place.
Easter Inch Moss
A project funded by the SNH Bog Restoration Fund aims to re-establish Easter Inch Moss as a lowland ‘working’ peat bog.
The Ranger Service at West Lothian Council has been working with volunteers, including groups from Lothian Conservation Volunteers, the Trust for Conservation Volunteers and Oatridge College, to remove the encroaching birch scrub from the moss and damming of ditches to help re-wet areas.
West Lothian Council hope that through the project delivery, East Inch Moss will be restored to a healthy bog that will continue to absorb and store carbon, helping reduce climate change for future generations.