Grangemouth's Zetland Park Project emerged victorious at the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland Awards for Planning held last night (Thursday, June 15) in Glasgow.
The RTPI Awards showcase and celebrate the best plans, people and projects across Scotland. The project, hailed as a shining example of community driven, local authority enabled local park regeneration, claimed the coveted Overall Winner title, earning recognition for its exceptional achievements.
With a focus on rejuvenating the pride of the Portonian community, the Zetland Park Project surpassed its original proposals and successfully delivered a remarkable £2.53 million park regeneration initiative.
The project brought together a collaborative alliance of partners, including Falkirk Council and community groups, most notably Friends of Zetland Park, and funders to transform the park into a vibrant and thriving space. The project received a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £1.12m.
The capital works undertaken by Falkirk Council as part of the project were truly transformative. The renovation of the war memorial and cast-iron fountain restored these important historical landmarks to their former glory, paying homage to the town's heritage. Furthermore, a derelict boating pond was revitalised into a flourishing wildlife pond (pictured above), providing a sanctuary for local flora and fauna.
To enhance the park's functionality as an events venue, a new performance stage and events space were constructed, catering to a variety of cultural and artistic endeavours. The project also incorporated an inclusive heritage-themed play area, ensuring that children of all abilities could enjoy the park's amenities. Additionally, a climate-resilient ornamental rain garden (pictured above) and a floodlit pump track (pictured below) were established, promoting sustainable practices and encouraging outdoor activities.
In addition to the capital works, the Zetland Park Project invested £130,000 in a parallel activity programme. This comprehensive initiative encompassed a wide range of activities, including oral histories and interpretive research, the annual science festival, events days (pictured below), townscape appraisal programmes, and engaging projects such as flag design, sports, photography, cycling/bike activities, and performing arts initiatives.
The remarkable accomplishment of the Zetland Park Project is further magnified by the challenges it overcame. The project navigated the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, enduring multiple national lockdowns, price increases, and supply issues. Despite these obstacles, the project team's dedication and resilience prevailed, delivering an outcome that exceeded expectations.
In an era of global change and re-evaluation, the Zetland Park Project stands as a testament to the transformative power of heritage projects. By enhancing the wellbeing and lives of the Portonian community, as well as the overall quality of the area, this project has cemented its status as a catalyst for positive change.
The recognition of the Zetland Park Project at the RTPI Scotland Awards for Planning reinforces its significant impact and serves as an inspiration for future community-driven park regeneration initiatives.
Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council, said:
"The Zetland Park Project is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through community collaboration and council support. It has truly rejuvenated the pride of the Portonian community, showcasing the transformative power of heritage projects. Despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, the project team's unwavering dedication has delivered remarkable results. This recognition at the RTPI Scotland Awards for Planning is a testament to the project's success and its positive impact on the wellbeing and quality of place for the people of Grangemouth."
All RTPI Scotland Award winners will be put forward for the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence national awards. The national shortlist will be announced on 9 October, with the winners honoured at a celebration ceremony taking place in London on 21 November 2023.