Team tries to bring Grangemouth park back to life

The sorry sight of Zetland Park's paddling pool could soon be a thing of the past
The sorry sight of Zetland Park's paddling pool could soon be a thing of the past

A community is being called upon to get behind exciting new proposals to develop its historic park.

Friends of Zetland Park has teamed up with Falkirk Council and Glasgow consultants TGP to draw up ambitious draft plans for the park which include a natural pond in the location of the former paddling pool, a skatepark facility and a permanent stage for annual Children’s Day coronations and year round entertainment events.

The consultation was launched at an event in the town centre last Friday and will hopefully be the first stage of getting the whole park looking as good as its recently refurbished tennis courts.

Vice chairman Tom Brown said: “The whole idea of the consultation is to get the views of the town’s people. The difference in the draft plan and the final plan will be the input of the people who take part in the consultation.”

This is the first stage of Friends of Zetland Park applying for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, under its Parks For People programme, to allow the plans to become a reality.

Mr Brown said: “We want this to be the town’s plan and we must have the backing of the town’s people to have a chance of gaining the funding from Heritage Lottery.”

The proposals also tie in with Falkirk Council’s open space strategy and its parks development plan.

“The consultant wanted to bring a water feature back, with a naturalised pond with plant life in place of the concrete paddling pool, said Mr Brown

“There are also plans to build a recreation area in an arc shape with raised seating with its back to the pond.”

Friends of Zetland Park chairman, and former Falkirk councillor Pat McCafferty said: “It would save the council erecting a stage for Children’s Day every year and, if it was big enough, you could have live bands or dancers performing on it throughout the year.

“The pond development and stage could spell the end of the biggest eyesore we’ve had in the town for many years.”

Other proposals include a multi use games area, or MUGA, on the site of the old tennis courts which could be used for sports like basketball and moving the existing children’s playpark closer to the public toilets and creating a skatepark in its place.

Plans are available to view and comment on in Grangemouth Library, Bo’ness Road, Falkirk Council One Stop Shop in York Square and Grangemouth Sports Centre and Community Education Unit, in Abbots Road, until the end of the week.

A finalised plan is scheduled to go before Falkirk Council’s planning department in January next year and, if everything goes well, work could begin on the park in 2016.