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Mon August 02 2021

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East Renfrewshire rethinks park upgrade

9 Jul East Renfrewshire Council has revised its plans for a £19.5m upgrade of a country park after the pandemic changed the ways that people use the area.

The council has unveiled a proposal to upgrade Dams to Darnley Country Park through park-wide measures instead of focusing on a large visitor centre.

A key part of the plan is to create a walkway on the banks of Balgray Reservoir. Aurs Road will be redeveloped to create improved walking and cycling routes, which will run alongside the reservoir in the country park.

The project is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal - a £1.13bn partnership between eight local authorities, the Scottish government and the UK government - and the council hopes to begin development in early 2022.

Visitor numbers to Dams to Darnley Country Park have soared during the pandemic, and the way people use the area has changed. This led to the design team - in consultation with walking and cycling charity Sustrans Scotland and Scottish Water - reconsidering the best way to improve the area.

Instead of creating a large visitor centre, it is now planned to focus on creating a range of facilities and attractions across the entire country park area.

This could include a smaller visitor facility with café, toilets at strategic locations, good quality play areas, and a range of other potential additions.

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Work on this part of the project would get under way in 2023 following the completion of the Aurs Road transformation.

East Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Tony Buchanan, said: “It's fantastic to see this transformational project brought to life in these artist's impressions. Life has changed so much as a result of the pandemic and I'm delighted the project is now being adapted to meet the changing needs of visitors to the area. This will provide a fantastic destination for visitors, whilst also improving transport links and creating job opportunities. I can't wait to see work getting under way next year.”

As well as creating the promenade area for walkers and cyclists, the Aurs Road project will also include realigning two sections of the road, the creation of a roundabout and the replacement of the weak road bridge. This will make it a safer, more direct local route between Newton Mearns and Barrhead, with improved connections for walking and cycling, as well as enabling a bus route between the communities by replacing the weak bridge and realigning the road.

The boardwalk will also connect to existing paths.

The improvements to the area surrounding Dams to Darnley Country Park will cost £19.5m to deliver and an application is about to be submitted to Sustrans to fund part of the project.

Work to progress the new Barrhead South train station is also moving forward. It is proposed that work will start on the station in late 2023 with completion in 2025.

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