Canal and North Gateway, Glasgow
The Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention aims to improve Scotland’s urban environment by increasing and enhancing greenspace in our towns and cities, especially close to areas of multiple deprivation. The fund, managed by NatureScot, helps make these areas more attractive for people to live and work in, and therefore helps attract jobs, businesses and further investment.
A fund of this nature has the capacity to offer a nature-based solution to transform derelict and vacant sites in an urban setting. And bringing vacant and derelict sites into productive use often has an added benefit of making any adjacent land more attractive for housing developments and thus economic regeneration.
However, derelict sites are often located in poorer, more deprived, areas and highly likely to visibly demonstrate Scotland’s industrial past. Moreover, the ownership of such land can be complex and create uncertainty. It’s this combination of factors that often makes transforming these sites both rewarding and challenging.
NatureScot’s Green Infrastructure team is glad to be involved in the Scottish Canals project near the Hamiltonhill area of Glasgow. This project has overseen the transformation of the land around the canal corridor between Firhill and Port Dundas. A longstanding heavy industrial past had left the area badly scarred and opportunities to change the use of the site were frustratingly rare. Now, thanks to the Green Infrastructure Fund, a huge improvement has been delivered.
‘Improving’ hardly does justice to the ambitious nature of the work here. At its heart lies The Claypits Local Nature Reserve which is seeing a 10ha derelict site transformed. The change has people at its core, thanks to an open and accessible path and boardwalk network, mountain bike trail, re-designed gateway entrances, viewpoints, and a feature canal pedestrian bridge linking Maryhill and Woodside communities with the Claypits area (which links Hamiltonhill and Possilpark with Woodside and Maryhill).
The greening of this area has brought wider benefits. Nature too has profited from the success of transforming this site and people are taking daily advantage of the new facilities. Green Infrastructure projects will enable 8 sites to be removed from the Vacant or Derelict register, 5 of which have been derelict for 20 years or more.
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