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February 25, 2009

Govan to rediscover ‘forgotten’ park

Locals have complained for years that Elder Park in Govan has suffered through neglect. Opened in 1855, the park had become one of Glasgow’s ‘forgotten’ parks. No longer. Locally based Linthouse Housing Association are embarking on a programme of works which will breathe new life into the park and create an important new resource for the Govan community

Elder Park in Govan opened in 1855 but local people insist it has been virtually ignored for many years.

All that is about to change as a range of new ventures are either under way or in the pipeline.

The largest is a £2million gardening and healthy living project planned by Linthouse Housing Association.

It involves transforming a derelict former B-listed farmhouse, believed to be the oldest building in Govan, in the park into a community hub.

Ingrid Campbell, Linthouse Urban Village co-ordinator, said: “The city council approached the housing association and asked us if there was anything we could do with the farmhouse.

“We’ve been working on a proposal for two years which involves reinstating the building to its former glory.”

The plans include a small museum with a display of local artefacts, a meeting room, office space, a botanical glasshouse and a family-friendly cafe with play area, and toilets.

One of the outhouses, which will have a roof garden, would have seven work spaces aimed at creative or community activities.

And there will be a market garden area with polytunnels and raised beds which would be run by local organisations involved in community regeneration, local groups or volunteers.

There will also be a children’s secret garden or a sensory garden and an orchard garden, while a paved central courtyard will provide a space for events such as a Christmas market.

The housing association hopes the Lottery and Historic Scotland will help fund the work.

Ms Campbell said: “Elder Park will have facilities and activities which will make it the hub of the community and somewhere for people of all ages to visit.”

Gordon Mackay, chairman of Friends of Elder Park, said: “This is a park that seems to have been forgotten.”

A spokesman for the city council, which owns the park, said: “The council has taken a central role in the conservation and regeneration of the Govan area, including making it a conservation area taking in Elder Park.

“We’ve also announced a scheme to release vacant property, such as the farmhouse.”