Winchburgh Developments Limited has confirmed the landscape works have commenced on the Auldcathie District Park and that Perth-based Allison Enterprises has been awarded the contract for the landscaping of work on Phase One of the project which is due to open late summer 2021.

The work on Phase One also includes the installation of a new outdoor play park which has been designed with input of local school pupils. The play contract has been awarded to Broxburn based Russell Play and will offer play facilities suitable for wide range of ages, from toddlers to teens as well as opportunities for inclusive and accessible play. The combined value of the two contracts is worth nearly £1 million.

Phase One of the new park expands over 40 acres and will include the planting of over 15,000 new woodland trees and shrubs. A further 400 additional trees grown by the community throughout lockdown will also be planted to create an area of community woodland.

The first phase will feature over two kilometres of paths and fitness trails, a one-acre community garden, an enclosed dog park and over eleven acres of grassed playing areas with walkways linking to the Union Canal.

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

When complete in 2022 the park will expand over 85 acres, with a significant part of the site reclaimed from the Auldcathie landfill, land which had lain derelict for over 17 years. Extensive reclamation and capping works have taken place over the last two years to revitalise and prepare the site to create an expansive open space for everyone to enjoy.

The final park will see a further 15,000 trees planted and will include a variety of different open spaces including a dedicated bike park, additional paths and fitness trails, extensive wildlife areas and a community orchard. The viewing areas on higher ground will afford long-range views across Winchburgh and to the Forth bridges beyond. On completion, a café with public toilets will be located in the centre of the park.

Auldcathie District Park will be situated adjacent to the new schools’ campus area, which is located on the south east boundary of the park site adjacent to the B9080. With good connections between the park and schools’ campus, these ‘schools in the park’ will feature playing fields and synthetic sports pitches, providing a quality learning environment for future pupils.

Billy Allison, Allison Enterprises, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be involved in providing the landscaping and fencing packages for this project. The opportunity has been afforded to our business to leave a positive legacy and we hope that the community and its families enjoy the greenspace being created for generations to come.”

Ian Logan, Associate, Optimised Environments (OPEN), is responsible for the design of Auldcathie District Park said: “Working on the design of the park has been a very unique and rewarding experience for myself and the design team at OPEN which has involved complex and large-scale remediation works, extensive community consultation, play park design and landscape design for the 85-acre space. The whole team looking forward to see the park open so that the Winchburgh community and visitors can experience the park, especially the children’s play area which will hopefully prove to be a hit with the children and an asset for Winchburgh.’

John Hamilton, CEO, Winchburgh Developments Limited said: “Auldcathie District Park is one of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of our masterplan for Winchburgh and it’s fantastic to see landscaping work beginning and the first trees going in. We’re entering a particularly exciting phase of the masterplan now, with work on many projects continuing at pace including the canal marina which is due to be completed in spring, the new schools’ campus and five housebuilders currently on site building new homes. We recognise the importance of quality outdoor spaces for both physical and mental wellbeing of the community here, which is why we have invested significantly in this project.”

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We are delighted to see the first phases of landscaping taking place in the new Auldcathie District Park in Winchburgh.

“This is a significant milestone in the settlement expansion of Winchburgh, and is testimony to the resilience and hard work of the Winchburgh community, council officials and the developer team over the last 15 years.

“Auldcathie District Park will be a wonderful asset for the Winchburgh and wider West Lothian community when complete, adding more fantastic leisure and open space for local residents.”

The masterplan also includes the delivery of three further parks. Daisy Park will be located next to the Union Canal in the centre of the village 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 3,800 new homes, improved transport links, employment opportunities, state-of-the-art schools and stunning new outdoor spaces to the historic village.