By Louise Wylie
Saughton Park Walled Gardens Glasshouse is due to reopen at the beginning of January as funding for the key micro-hydro project is secured.
The SPEN Community Energy Fund has awarded the energy scheme the money necessary to produce electricity for community facilities and the Walled Gardens glasshouse.
A statement released by the development team said: “This project will provide long term energy security for the park and will help to stimulate economic activity in the surrounding area.
The development team also praised the potential of the project to demonstrate how low carbon technology can provide energy savings and cut CO2 emissions while still creating a space that benefits the local community.
The green energy project will also provide electricity for the electric vehicle charge points and park lighting.
Currently the rest of the park is operational, which includes the football pitches, skatepark, playpark and walking paths.
John Hunter, 62, who was visiting the playpark with his grandson, said: “It’s got facilities for children of all ages. I was here a few weeks ago and the skate park was full, which was great to see. The sandpit is also very good for younger children.”
The £7.3 million project began on the historic park in August 2017, and so far, restoration on the 110-year-old bandstand has been completed, as has landscaping work.
Lighting has also been improved and new playpark equipment purchased.
Construction continues on a new café and accessible toilets within the Walled Garden, as well as the conversion of the park’s stable block into a community venue.
Pete McDougall, the Project Development Officer, said: “We have built almost a mile of new tarmac paths and ensured that the park is wholly wheelchair accessible. The new play park has new tarmac paths, picnic benches that are wheelchair friendly and there is a range of wheel chair accessible play equipment such as a roundabout and a wheelchair trampoline.
“Included in the new courtyard buildings where the new café and community room is a Changing Places Toilet too.”
The renovation is currently the biggest project of its kind in Scotland.
Saughton Park was opened as a public park in 1905, but its recorded history dates back to 1128.
It was an Abbey farm until the 16th century, when a tower house was built upon the grounds which was used at different times as a family home, an asylum, and a fine art gallery.
Saughtonhall was used as quarters for the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War.
The park is expected to be fully re-opened by January 6th, 2019.