Through Scottish Government’s new Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme, Green Action Trust and Falkirk Council have secured over £560,000 towards the delivery of a large package of greenspace improvements in Falkirk, totalling close to £750,000.
The improvements will benefit an area of previously derelict land at Lionthorn Policy Bing and will include:
Landscaping and plant growing (by installing a substantial new topsoil layer) to provide visual interest and shelter on this exposed site
Creation of extensive meadow areas and ‘nectar rich’ bulb planting which will contribute to the creation of the ‘John Muir Pollinator Way’, Scotland’s first B-Lines project.
Native woodland planting
Development of wetland ‘scrapes’ (seasonal ponds to encourage wildlife)
Extra heavy standard trees – to provide immediate visual interest, structure, and amenity
‘Edible’ hedge planting to encourage wildlife and biodiversity
‘Kick about’ grass pitch
Path link/access enhancements to improve the local active travel provision
The Lionthorn Policy Bing project will deliver on a number of objectives of the wider Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) and will be completed during spring/summer 2022. For an overview of what will be delivered at Lionthorn, watch the CSGN video:
Talking about the Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme, Scottish Government’s Communities Minister Tom Arthur said,
“Derelict sites can be a blight on communities and often hold back development. The five year, £50 million low carbon Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme is intended to have a transformational impact by investing in creating great places, regenerating communities, creating jobs and helping tackle climate change.
“I am delighted to see projects from the first round of funding, such as the greenspace improvements at Lionthorn Bing, progress. The project will bring significant community benefit and I look forward to seeing it once completed.”
Commenting on the Lionthorn project, Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said,
“It’s fantastic that this last phase of major greenspace improvements at this vacant and derelict site is going ahead. Council staff continue to work with our partners and agencies, and we thank all of the funders, particularly the Scottish Government’s Vacant & Derelict Land Investment Programme for their support.
“We are very excited to be working with our partners, the Green Action Trust, to complete the regeneration of the long closed Policy Bing colliery site. On completion this will provide a tremendous new amenity park for the neighbouring communities of Lionthorn, Hallglen and Glen Village as well as helping to connect this area with the important habitats at Callendar Woods and South Falkirk allowing local wildlife to thrive.”
Green Action Trust’s CEO Derek Robertson commented,
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Falkirk Council to deliver the greenspace improvements at Lionthorn Bing. This is a great example of what can be achieved through partnership working and a shared ambition to improve the environmental quality of our towns. I look forward to seeing the plans come to fruition, which will deliver a valuable amenity for the local communities, as well as making a positive contribution to the aims of the wider Central Scotland Green Network.”
Lionthorn Policy Bing is owned by Falkirk Council and is the remains of a coal mining spoil heap lying between the communities of Lionthorn and Hallglen. The colliery closed in 1960, resulting in the site being cleared and the top section of the bing being converted into a blaes sports area. By the early 1980’s, the pitches were no longer regularly used and they fell into disrepair.
Although other areas of the bing have been improved over the intervening years (through woodland planting and creation of footpaths), the top of the bing has until recently remained untreated. Several proposals have been tabled over this time to try to find a productive use for the land, but all of these have been discounted for various reasons.
The top of the bing was subsequently identified in a number of local plans and strategies (e.g. Local Development Plan 2, Open Space Strategy and Greenspace Strategy) as providing an opportunity to enhance the area’s Green Network through improvements to biodiversity, the active travel network and improving the area’s landscape, with the aim of making the area a better place to live, play and visit.
This led to a community consultation exercise in 2018 which informed a masterplan to guide the future development of the site, with the vision of creating a high-quality multi-functional greenspace/parkland. A survey was completed as part of this consultation and detailed results can be viewed here: Lionthorn Policy Bing Survey Results.
Certain relatively low-cost elements of the masterplan (i.e., some of the meadow and wetland areas) have already been delivered by project partners. However, delivery of the main physical enhancements was dependent on securing significant levels of external funding.
Green Action Trust (acting as project manager on behalf of Falkirk Council) are currently tendering the contract, and work is expected to be completed during spring/summer 2022. Local residents are advised that due to the scale of landscaping being undertaken, there will be a degree of unavoidable disturbance and access to parts of the area may be restricted while work is being undertaken.
Further detailed plans illustrating the new features to be added at Lionthorn can be accessed below:
For queries relating to the project, please email us at [email protected]