Community Park Plan
|The organisation was originally set up in 1995 as the Greenheart Campaign to fight a proposal to build houses in the Horses’ Field which is in the green heart of the village. Some Greenheart members then joined the Community Council so that they could present the case at the public
inquiry in March 1998 in a more official capacity. After a successful outcome it was decided to keep the Greenheart organisation open, though not active, in case it was needed in the future, as the overall aim of Greenheart was to ‘preserve the rural environment of the village.’|
A short time after this, Fiona Robertson, a local resident and landscape architect, was commissioned by Stirling Council to look at developing local access, recreational facilities and historical interpretation facilities, within the green core of Strathblane and Blanefield. She produced the Strathblane Community Park Feasibility Study which was approved in principle by the Council and enthusiastically welcomed by the community as a whole. The main proposals were:
• to extend and upgrade the paths network in and around the village
• to redesign and re-equip the play park
• to create a heritage trail and provide a heritage interpretation board
• to provide public seating
Before Stirling Council was prepared to actively support the Community Park Plan, it required some evidence of community support; so in the spring of 2000 the Community Council organised a community action day in Milndavie Glen where at least 40 members of the public helped to clean up debris, dig out drainage and remove dead wood. Following the success of this action Stirling Council obtained funds to plant new trees and create a path to link with the existing stepped path. This was followed by further woodland work beside the play park in preparation for a new play area, and by the installation of a bench at the top of the glen path and in the football field. Local volunteers were closely involved with all the woodland work including tree planting in the glen.
It soon became clear that the Community Council did not have the necessary resources to progress the Community Park Plan any further and so Greenheart was re-activated for this purpose with the extended overall aim ‘to preserve and enhance the rural environment of the village’. Greenheart has worked closely with the Community Council (there have been several joint members) and with other local organisations.|
Local Community Planning
In 2003 consideration was given to including a proposal for an all weather multi-purpose sports pitch on the school field. BTCV drew up costs, and consultations took place with the community council and representatives from the school, the police, Stirling Council, and Killearn, where there was already a multi-court in the school grounds. However it was decided to leave the proposal for a future date, as it would make the overall project too large and delay improvements to the play park.
Library link path
Greenheart, the Community Council, the School Board and the PTA, and several other local organisations, joined forces with Stirling Council to prepare two bids to the New Opportunities Fund: one was for money to
drain the school field and to burn in a running track; the second was to provide a cycle path along the old
railway line from Station Road to Park Place. Although the bids were unsuccessful, this partnership provided a good basis on which to develop the various projects and the drainage of the school field was adopted into the overall Greenheart project.
|Stage one was to make a new path from the library car park along the foot of the school field to link with the bridge leading to Dumbrock Drive and to the entrance into the play park. A new bridge was installed across the burn; a recycling shed for glass (now redundant) was provided just beyond the library car park; and the paper recycling bins were screened with wooden fencing.
The work was done in Feb/March 2003 and was jointly funded by Stirling Landfill Tax Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage with smaller amounts from Stirling Council Environment Scheme, Stirling Greenforce Campaign, and Strathblane Community Council. Stirling Council Countryside Services installed the new bridge free of charge; the Countryside Ranger acted as project manager; and the work was done by MG Contracting.
The work was done during summer 2004 and was jointly funded by Stirling Landfill Tax Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage. Stirling Council Countryside Ranger acted as project manager and the work was done by BTCV (British Trust Conservation Volunteers).
|Stage two was to continue the path across the play park with a link to the new bridge.|
Work to upgrade the paths around the King George V playing field, linking to the old railway, the top of the Ash Track, the top of Danny’s Brae and to the foot of Southview Drive, was undertaken in September 2006. This phase has linked in with the school campaign for safer routes to school.
The overall cost was higher than initially estimated largely because much of the work had to be done by hand to avoid the use of machinery on land covering old water pipes; also the top of the ash track had to be surfaced with tarmac. Another additional expense was the double movement of materials due to the weight restriction on the bridge leading from Park Place to the (KGV) football field. To cover these a second grant application was made to SNH. While the work was in progress it became clear that additional drainage was needed for the path between the burn and the KGV football field. Money for this had to be diverted from Danny’s Brae which was then only partially upgraded. Hopefully this can be remedied sometime in the future.
The project was jointly funded by Scottish Natural Heritage; Stirling Council Local Community Development Fund; and Stirling Landfill Tax Trust. The project was managed by Neil Donaldson Environmental Consultancy Ltd and the work was carried out by Ralstone Contracts Ltd.
Country path pictures
Play park and drainage of school playing field
As Greenheart does not have charitable status, British Trust Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) acted as agent to acquire funds and to provide the project management to re-equip the play park and drain the school playing field. Unfortunately both applications for Scottish Executive funding were unsuccessful, but the exercise did show up the difficulties of getting funds for a school field, as it is generally considered the responsibility of the Local Council. It has also shown that grant applications are more likely to be successful where there is substantial evidence of community involvement. During this time a grant of £15,000 was obtained through the Community Council from Stirling Council Local Community Development Fund towards the drainage work, but this was withdrawn as it had not been spent in time.
In March 2006 it was decided to split the project; the School Board would pursue the issue of drainage for the school playing field whilst BTCV would continue to act as agent for the play park.
Whilst the School Board was looking at cheaper options for drainage, in spring 2006, it learned that the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was offering £10,000 towards the installation of ball courts in school grounds if the community could find the rest of the money. The overall cost is about £62,000. Stirling Council is offering £10,000 and will manage the project. The School Board is currently seeking the additional funding.
During summer 2006 Stirling Council Children’s Play Services commissioned a new design for the play park at a reduced budget of around £50,000. The area covered includes the adjacent woodland, although this will remain largely in its natural state. The design includes landscape play features based on the character of the site, as well as more traditional play equipment. A meeting was held in the school in September to see the draft plan. This was also attended by school staff and a primary seven pupil. Some elements had been omitted to reduce costs but it was decided to reinstate them and adjust the design later if there were insufficient funds. The designer was also asked to increase the provision for teenagers and add in seating in the woodland that would be suitable for a primary school class doing nature study. All this has increased the overall cost to £68,302, excluding the project management which will be carried out by the Council. The Council will also insure, inspect and maintain the equipment and wider area. A copy of the plan has been shown to the school pupil council and another has been put into the library.
This exercise is linking in with the school’s initiative to become an ‘eco’ school.
In summer 2006 both BTCV and Stirling Council Children’s Play Services advised that applications submitted by a local group were more likely to succeed than those submitted by an outside agency or community council, and so it was decided to establish a local development trust with charitable status. This will enable us to apply directly to the lottery and other bodies for funding for the play park and future elements of the overall project.
Cycle path and Bridle way
|The park plan includes a proposal to create a cycle path/bridle way along the old railway line from Station Road to the road bridge leading to Park Place. Also, Stirling Council has commissioned a feasibility study into linking the West Highland Way at Dumgoyach back down the old railway to link with the Strathkelvin Way beside the manse on Campsie Road. Unfortunately, there are other parts of the cycle network in the Council area which are of a higher priority but the Council hope to pursue funding whenever the opportunity arises.
Heritage trail and heritage interpretation board
For future consideration