Planning for success at Stonehouse Park
Feasibility Study and Woodland Management Plan published
The future of Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park, Stonehouse, is looking bright upon the completion of a Feasibility Study and Woodland Management Plan after several months of community consultation and public interest.
The documents, available to view below, take into account the 300 plus replies in the public consultation period, and explore options for the development and management of woodland in the historic park, as an attractive and well managed area for community use, taking into account the unique heritage of the park.
Following a successful bid to the Central Scotland Green Network Trust Development Fund, Friends of Stonehouse Park (FOSP) werre able to commission Mark Hamilton Landscape Services to undertake the Woodland Park Management Plan, and landscape architects ERZ Studio to undertake the Feasibility Study. Both were completed with support from Central Scotland Green Network Trust, Forestry Commission and Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.
The FOSP committee also met with representatives from South Lanarkshire Council, Kenny Lean, Economic Development Manager and Malcolm Muir, Countryside and Greenspace Manager, to discuss future land management issues and partnership working. These would allow FOSP to progress with plans to regenerate and refresh the park and its facilities.
Looking at the ambitious plan of improvements over five years, the FOSP committee plan to initially look at developments in the woodland areas of the park and latterly address the formal park, with improvements to equipment and facilities, thus broadening the appeal for visitors.
Karen Kelly, FOSP Secretary said, “We know that the local community are right behind us and want improvements in the park space. We would love to get the ball rolling by bringing back the amazing chute and refurbishing the bandstand-making a huge impact really quickly.”
She continues, “However, we have to start small and take bite sizes pieces of the park to task. Therefore for our committee it is most beneficial to begin in the woodland. As the majority of the committee work full time it is sheer determination and good will that are making changes happen. We would welcome more enthusiastic individuals to join our committee.”
The FOSP organise a full plan of events throughout the year to keep up use of the park, including the recent re-instatement of the historic Duck Race in June and Little Saplings monthly family play days.
They also hope to achieve Green Flag status, the benchmark for parks, and promote Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park as a recognisable ‘day out’ destination.
Christina McKelvie MSP, Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, has welcomed a draft plan for the future of Stonehouse Park. She says, “The Friends have really come together as a community with great support from all around the area. They have already secured funding to complete a Feasibility Study and have consulted widely to find out more about what local people – including the children – want from their park.”
She continues, “I am so impressed by this community effort, the energy and determination that surround it. I totally support their efforts and wish the project well as it moves forward.”
The park dates back to 1925 when the land was gifted from Alexander Hamilton. The bandstand, still in place today, was a feature from the 1911 Scottish Exhibition held in Glasgow. The park used to boast the longest chute in Scotland, though it was dismantled in 1967 for safety reasons. A boating pond formerly stood where the playground is today. The overall formal layout of the park has changed little, however, it has lost some of its key features. Opportunities for utilising existing historic elements and creating a more cohesive network of paths within the park as well as connecting to other sites and path networks in Stonehouse have been highlighted in the study.
Donna Marshall, CAVLP Manager says, “The completion of the Feasibility Study and Woodland Management Plan is an exciting next step for the incredibly hard-working and dedicated Friends of Stonehouse Park volunteers.”
She adds, “It will help solidify future planning, to ensure that the Park remains at the heart of a vibrant community, as it was when it was presented to the public in 1925 by Alexander Hamilton. At the centre of the park lies the bandstand, which was the centrepiece of the popular Lanarkshire Tourist attraction, entertaining audiences with bands from all over Scotland, including Stonehouse’s own Pipe Band and Silver Band. It still stands today as a memory of its illustrious past and the future potential of Stonehouse Park.”
Read the Feasibility Study and Woodland Management Plan above. To find out about upcoming events in Stonehouse Park, visit the Friends of Stonehouse Park Facebook page.
For further information on the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund, contact CSGNT on 01501 822015 or click here.