Jobs boost as forest park to be transformed with £2.3m funding

Almost 170 trees will be planted at Cuningar Loop, and new walkways, picnic areas and a teaching amphitheatre are all planned.

Jobs boost as forest park to be transformed with £2.3m funding LDRS

A woodland park on the banks of the River Clyde is set to grow after a £2.3m funding boost.

Almost 170 trees will be planted at Cuningar Loop, and new walkways, picnic areas and a teaching amphitheatre are all planned.

An extra 21 acres of currently vacant and derelict land will be added to the existing 37 acres of woodland.

Money has been given to the Clyde Gateway regeneration programme – a partnership between Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise – by the Scottish Government.

It comes from the Clyde Mission fund, set up to use the river to drive economic, social and environmental benefits.

More than £11m was handed out to a range of projects in December, including for the transformation of Water Row, Govan, and repairs to the Finnieston Crane.

The Scottish Government now wants people to share their views on other ways to address the “unique opportunities and challenges” around the Clyde.

A ‘Call for Ideas’ has gone live and will close on March 29.

The extra £2.3m for the Cuningar Loop, near Dalmarnock, will help fund Clyde Gateway and NatureScot’s transformation of previously inaccessible land.

Developed alongside and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, the current park, which opened in 2016, includes adventure play, a bike pump track and a bouldering zone.

Alison Thewliss MP, chair of Clyde Gateway, said: “Green recovery will play a vital role in our response to the pandemic and this exciting new development allows the creation of an exemplar for greenspace and low carbon, which connects health and nature as a priority and one which will be worthy of being showcased on a worldwide stage.”

The extension will include 11,000 square metres of wildflower meadow and grassland, nearly 7000 square metres of new woodland planting and 167 specimen trees.

More woodland walkways, with seating and picnic areas, and a 400m extension of the current riverside walkway are also part of the project.

The educational area and teaching amphitheatre, made using tree trunks, will include a pond. There will also be 50 additional parking spaces.

During the new phase, it is predicted 43 opportunities for youth employment will be created.

Clyde Gateway’s chief executive Ian Manson said: “Cuningar Loop woodland park has been a focal point for Clyde Gateway, and as well as providing an immediate jobs boost in terms of construction, it will help address issues of health inequality, educational attainment and social capital, which have been further impacted by Covid-19.”

The Clyde Mission, which covers either side of the river from Glasgow to the opening between Gourock and Dunoon, is led by the Scottish Government in partnership with local councils, quangos and universities.

Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government’s economy secretary, said: “It’s our goal to make the river an engine of sustainable and inclusive growth for Glasgow, the region and Scotland.

“We want to understand the priorities and ambitions of people and organisations connected to the river.

“Whether you live or work in the area, this is your opportunity to influence the Clyde Mission’s development and future plans.”

She added: “The river presents challenges as well as opportunities and we want to hear ideas on themes including jobs, skills and how best to bring land back into productive use through projects like the Cuningar Loop woodland park, which benefits communities and the environment.”

By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands

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