Company secures £8.5m contract to deliver heart of the Helix

An aerial view of hown Central Park will look
An aerial view of hown Central Park will look

A multi-million pound contract to deliver the ‘heart’ of the Helix project has been awarded.

RJ McLeod, one of Scotland’s largest, privately-owned civil engineering and building contractors, will construct the ‘public realm’ elements, including a people’s park and canal hub with visitor facilities.

Full and part-time jobs, as well as 12 traineeships, will be created.

The £8.5 million contract will see 100 acres of unused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth transformed into Central Park.

It will include:

*A huge new lagoon providing facilities for the public to take part in water-based sports and leisure activities.

*Over 5km of new paths connecting into the wider 350-hectare Helix development and beyond.

*Enhancement of the wetland and woodland areas to protect biodiversity throughout the Falkirk area, as well as providing learning opportunities.

*Creation of new wildflower meadows and enhanced native planting schemes.

*Visitor facilities, including a cafe and public toilets.

*A multi-use, outdoor events area to support a range of events.

*Splash play, environmental play and exploration areas for children and families.

The canal hub will feature the Kelpies – two 30 metre high, stainless steel horses’ heads designed by sculptor Andy Scott – and is expected to help draw up to 350,000 visitors annually to Falkirk, confirming its position as a top Scottish tourist destination.

A £25 million Big Lottery Fund Living Landmarks grant is helping to deliver the £41 million project in a partnership initiative with Falkirk Council, Scottish Canals and Central Scotland Forest Trust through the Helix Trust.

Mike King, Helix Trust programme director, said: “The Central Park is the beating heart of the project and this latest contract award will help establish key connections between the various elements of the Helix.

“The award also signifies another significant step forward in creating what will be one of the most exciting and unique community and visitor experiences in the UK.”

Jamie Corser, RJ McLeod’s business development manager, said: “We are very pleased to be awarded this contract, not just because we are able to play our part in delivering this exciting project but it also assists us in providing sustained employment for our staff and operatives, many of whom are from the central belt.”

Additional funding for the Central Park development was received through a contribution from Avondale Environmental from the Landfill Communities Fund.

Director John Holt said: “I am delighted to see that the Helix project’s vision of a beautiful urban parkland is now on track to become a reality. The Helix will undoubtedly make a positive difference to the environment and to the lives of local people.”