Living Waterways Award win for North Glasgow Claypits project

Scottish Canals is delighted to pick up the prestigious Living Waterways Award, on behalf of the Glasgow Canal Project, for the community engagement work involved in creating an oasis of greenspace in the heart of North Glasgow.

Announced at an awards ceremony last night, Scottish Canals scooped the ‘Engaging Communities – Large Scale’ category for the project to create the city’s first inner city nature reserve on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal in Hamiltonhill.

The awards, hosted by the Canal and River Trust, seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based projects across the UK, which are transforming where we live and enriching our lives.

The Woodside, Firhill & Hamiltonhill project, which focussed on North Glasgow’s Hamiltonhill Claypits Local Nature Reserve (LNR), will see the transformation of vacant and derelict land into a vibrant oasis of greenspace in the heart of the city in partnership with local organisations and communities that developed a vision for the area.

Jill Malvenan, Design & Development Manager at Scottish Canals said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the Living Waterway Awards for Community Engagement on behalf of the Glasgow Canal Project and our partners Glasgow City Council, Sustrans, SNH, Claypits Local Nature Reserve Management Group, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership and Friends of Possil Greenspace.”

“It demonstrates the importance of working with, and listening to, local communities in developing plans for an area and securing funding that allows their ideas to become reality.  We can’t wait to start on site with the next phase of works that will further establish the Claypits Local Nature Reserve.”

The design team from Scottish Canals, LDN Architects, LUC (Land Use Consultants), and Kevin Murray Associates used a range of creative engagement techniques throughout the consultation with the local community, from presentations and workshops to art outreach programmes.

A comprehensive charrette process – a series of collaborative design sessions – helped give the community and local groups a voice. As a result, a sustainable and collaborative Development Framework was produced, and this is now influencing the redevelopment of the area.

The project has secured nearly £5 million in funding to enable the creation of the nature reserve, open for the benefit of all, in the heart of North Glasgow. In March this year the first new all-weather path through the reserve was opened, thanks to £400,000 funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme.

The new route links the reserve with the surrounding communities, the towpath network and the wider National Walking Cycling Network (NWCN) and allows the public to explore the 25 acres of woodland and wetland that make up the Claypits. Further works are due to start on site soon, to create additional core paths, infrastructure and a new bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal.

John Lauder, National Director for Sustrans Scotland said: “We are delighted that Scottish Canals’ work on the Claypits project has received national recognition – something that is hugely deserved.

“The Claypits is a unique project which has helped to transform local community green space and the canal in north Glasgow. It can be a model for the rest of Scotland.

“Our partnership with Scottish Canals is an excellent example of how Community Links funding can be used to create better, greener local environments while making an area more pleasant for residents and visitors to walk and cycle in the local area, as well as providing safe and continuous links to other active travel routes.”

A spokesperson for the Living Waterways Awards commented: “The charrette process, together with supporting activities, was clearly successful in giving the community a voice and creating a framework by which they could make changes to their local environment.  The transformation of wasteland, from eyesore to an attractive and accessible greenspace is evident, with urban sport activities on and around the canal along with a foot/cycle network bringing new visitors to the waterway.”

Notes to Editors

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See for more information

About Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links Programme

  • Community Links is funded by Scottish Government and delivered by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with local authorities, statutory bodies and educational institutions for the creation of cycle network infrastructure for everyday journeys. Since 2010 the programme has funded more than 500 projects across Scotland.

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