Over a decade in the making, the Lionthorn Policy Bing greenspace enhancement project has reached its completion, breathing new life into a previously neglected area.
The site was officially opened on Friday 23 June by Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, who along with members of Falkirk Council, Green Action Trust, and Mackenzie Construction, helped to plant the final trees to complete the transformation.
Owned by Falkirk Council, Lionthorn Policy Bing is the remains of a coal mining spoil heap lying between the two communities of Hallglen and Lionthorn. The area, which was classified as vacant and derelict, has now been transformed into a vibrant, open greenspace for residents and visitors to enjoy.
We have been working on enhancing the site across various phases going all the way back to 2009, and so it has taken a tremendous amount of planning and work behind the scenes, in partnership with both Falkirk Council and the local community, to see the project to completion. As we reported last year, a vital step to fund the final phase of the project was taken when over £0.5m was secured via the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme, taking the total investment in this phase to £780,000.
The project achieved a wide range of objectives, including creating space to relax, exercise and play; encouraging biodiversity; and mitigating climate change through tree planting. The site also provides active travel links to the neighbouring path networks and communities. In a wider context, these attributes deliver many key aims of the Central Scotland Green Network.
[Image shows (sitting l-r): Cllr Paul Garner & Council Leader Meiklejohn (Falkirk Council); Joe Fitzpatrick MSP; and standing (l-r): Danny Thallon, Richard Broadley, Anna Perks & Mike Ewart (Falkirk Council); Douglas Worrall & Nicola Duenas (Green Action Trust); Local Cllr Lorna Binnie; Mark Wilson (Mackenzie Construction); Mandy Brown, Katie Drummond & Harry Brickell (Scottish Government)
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council, commented:
“The Lionthorn Policy Bing project’s completion marks a significant step forward in Falkirk’s journey towards a greener and more sustainable future.
“It is a testament to the power of collaboration, visionary planning, and community engagement. The project stands as a shining example of the positive impact that can be achieved when policy support, funding, and the dedication of residents converge.
“We’re grateful for the support we have received from both Green Action Trust and Scottish Government making this a reality.”
Local Government Empowerment and Planning Minister, Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:
“We know that high quality green spaces are vital for communities to flourish and I’m pleased the Scottish Government was able to support the improvement work at Lionthorn Bing by providing £583,000 from the low carbon Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme.
“Reusing our land in this way has multiple benefits, including improving community health. The work also reflects the core aims of the investment programme to support ambitious local approaches to tackling persistent vacant and derelict land and deliver place-based regeneration as part of a just transition to net zero.”
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of Green Action Trust, said:
“It’s fantastic to see the result of all the hard work and investment that has gone into transforming Lionthorn Policy Bing.
“It has been a privilege to work with Falkirk Council and the Scottish Government to realise our shared ambitions to improve the environmental quality of this area.
“The project is also a great example of how partnership working can deliver the wider aims of the Central Scotland Green Network to improve communities’ access to greenspace while addressing the climate and biodiversity crises.”
For more information about the project, visit the Lionthorn Bing page.