£5m revamp to make under-used Glenrothes park a ‘must visit’ destination

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There is a suite of major “ambitious” improvements on the way for Riverside Park in Glenrothes.

Fife Cabinet Committee councillors have approved plans to use almost £5m of funding from the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund to make the park a “must visit” destination. As it currently stands, Riverside Park is an “under-used and deteriorating asset” with the “potential to become a destination for recreation for residents and tourists.”

According to a report from Gordon Mole, head of business and employability services, the park currently has three-star visitor attraction status with VisitScotland. However, the council has been told that unless improvements are made, the rating is “unlikely to be retained.”

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As part of the improvements, a new £1 million play park is planned to provide enhanced, fully accessible play equipment, while a new pump (cycling) track will be fully accessible and capable of hosting international competitions. Pond works to improve environmental quality and sustainability have already begun, but money will also be spent on enhanced park entrances, better signage, improved access, and upgrades to footpaths, street lighting, and the car park.

The money will help to transform the under-used park (Pics: Submitted)The money will help to transform the under-used park (Pics: Submitted)
The money will help to transform the under-used park (Pics: Submitted)

Generally, Councillor Altany Craik, Fife Council spokesperson for finance, economy and strategic planning, said the grant will help the park realise its true potential.

“The park already boasts numerous attractive features, but this significant investment thanks to the Levelling Up Fund will enhance its appeal to both locals and visitors alike,” he said. “We all want to make sure Riverside Park is a place we all can be proud of for generations to come, and I’m looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.”

However, the UK Government’s Levelling Up grant is not available forever, and the council will be on a strict timeline to get the work done before the funding expires next March.

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Councillor Craig Walker (SNP for Glenrothes West & Kinglassie) raised some concerns about the council’s ability to deliver the improvements within the tight timescales, but Mr Mole assured the committee that everything is under control. “We do expect to finish [the work] by Christmas so we have a three month slip-over, but we really want to get the bulk of work finished before the winter,” council officers stated.

Construction work will take place throughout 2024 and possibly into early 2025, and the council has said there will be regular updates provided for park users and the community.

“Our successful levelling up funding bid not only provides a great opportunity to regenerate, upgrade and improve Riverside Park, but it also helps us minimise annual maintenance requirements for several years,” Cllr Craik concluded. “We’ve worked with the Friends of Riverside Park in the design and delivery of this project to build on the strengths and ambitions of people in the area, and the park’s regeneration will allow a greater number of people to have full use of the park and its facilities which can only be a good thing.”