THE new £4.2 million Lochshore Park Hub was officially opened today.
North Ayrshire Provost Anthea Dickson undertook the official ribbon-cutting duties as the development reached its most significant and exciting milestone.
The Lochshore Park Hub will provide food, drink, shelter, toilets, function spaces, changing rooms and more – and will be the focal point for everything that takes place at the site.
Since June 2021 the local community and key stakeholders have been providing ideas on what should be included within Lochshore Park.
The Hub is one of the first projects to be realised in Phase 1 of Lochshore Park and has been made possible with grant contributions from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Scottish Enterprise, sportscotland, Garnock Rugby Club, and Land Trust.
An active travel route linking Lochshore Park to the NCN7 cycle route has also been completed, while work on a new 5km running/cycling loop started earlier this summer and is due to finish later this year.
Celebrating the opening of the Park Hub, Councillor Dickson said: “This is a fantastic and impressive development and great honour for me, as a local councillor and someone who lives close by, to be opening it
“The potential of Lochshore Park is really exciting – there is so much scope for it and it promises to become a really popular destination for the local community and visitors for months and years to come.”
Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet Member for Economy and Climate Change, said: “This is a great day for all those involved and a really important milestone for Lochshore Park.
“It is an example of the community, Council and partners working together to develop something that can enrich lives and make a difference.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland said:
“This project is a great example of what collective ambition can deliver. By listening to the local community and ensuring their needs are at the heart of the plans, the Lochshore Park Hub will become a fantastic community asset for many years to come.
“We were delighted to provide National Lottery investment from our Sports Facilities Fund for a project we believe will provide more inclusive opportunities for the people of North Ayrshire to take part in sport and physical activity.”
Dave Perry of Garnock Rugby Club said: “We are delighted to be involved with the fantastic facility at Lochshore Park.
“The new development will be a great asset for the local community, our club members young and old together with visitors to the area.”
Jamie Reed, NDA Director of Socio Economics said: “NDA and Magnox are delighted to support the development of the Lochshore Park Hub.
“We always saw this project as an integral part of a wider regeneration strategy for the area.
“Our decommissioning mission at Hunterston A, and in future years Hunterston B, relies on developments of this nature. They provide improved health and well-being facilities for the local and wider community as well as delivering environmental, economic regeneration and social benefits.”
Scottish Enterprise’s Managing Director for Innovation and Investment, Jane Martin, said: “I’d like to congratulate North Ayrshire Council and their partners in developing this site and providing important opportunities for local communities with this vibrant new facility and we are delighted to have played a small part in helping them to make it happen.”
Also included in the first phase are woodland planting and there will be opportunities for the community to get involved in this later this year. Full details will be provided closer to the time.
Other proposals for the park include natural play areas and activity zones, wild camping area, festival and events space, heritage interpretation, a community garden, new woodland and wetland habitats, facilities for dog walkers, new visitor access points and car parking.
North Ayrshire Council is currently exploring funding opportunities to enable the delivery of a second phase of development, with an application recently submitted to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund Round 2; a decision on this fund is anticipated in late Autumn 2022.
If successful, this second phase would include exciting new large-scale play features – designed to celebrate the unique history and industrial heritage of Lochshore and the Garnock Valley, the northern access, event space, community garden, adventure sports facilities, new leisure/ active travel routes around the site and much more.
Lochshore will also benefit from marketing as a key attraction within the Clyde
Muirshiel Regional Park and act as a destination hub for The Coig, allowing Lochshore to benefit from partnership promotion.