Zetland Park has been a feature of Grangemouth since the park was gifted by the Earl of Zetland (Shetland) to the people of Grangemouth in 1880. The park is the principal open space serving Grangemouth and is a green oasis at the heart of this busy industrial town. We reported that 2020 looks to be a great year for Zetland Park with an award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund announced for the park.

The regeneration project brought together a collaborative alliance of partners, including Falkirk Council and community groups, most notably Friends of Zetland Park, and funders to transform the park into a vibrant and thriving space. The project received a grant of £1.12m from NL Heritage Fund.

The Friends of Zetland Park were initially tasked with raising £25,000 as part of the NL Heritage Fund bid. The Friends of Zetland Park and the Zetland Park Regeneration Project worked with MyParkScotland towards raising the community contribution for the application. This was followed by a crowdfund to raise money for an Inclusive Play Area along with a sponsored cycle fundraiser both hosted on the MyParkScotland website. These crowdfunds were successful not only as fundraisers, but also helped to demonstrate local support and raise awareness of the ambitious project to revitalise Zetland Park.

The transformative work at Zetland Park has been recognised by success as the Overall winner in the  Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland Awards for Planning. As an RTPI Scotland Awards winner, the project will be put forward for the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence national awards. The national shortlist will be announced on 9 October, with the winners honoured at a celebration ceremony taking place in London on 21 November 2023.

“The Zetland Park Project is an exemplar of community driven, local authority enabled place making focussed park regeneration.”

The timing of the project meant that there were a number of hurdles and challenges to overcome including national lockdowns imposed during COVID-19 and also the resultant price increases and supply issues. Nevertheless the project has been completed transforming the park whilst also considering how the park is used by a variety of users within the community.

Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council, said:

"The Zetland Park Project is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through community collaboration and council support. It has truly rejuvenated the pride of the Portonian community

Some of the key elements of the park's transformation include the renovation of the war memorial and the cast-iron fountain, restoring these important historical landmarks to their former glory, thus paying homage to the town's heritage.

Working together, the Council, Green Action Trust, NatureScot and the Rose Garden Action Group in Grangemouth have transformed the Zetland Park's Rose Garden. A Rose and Raingarden has been created, delivering an exemplar of nature-based solutions to problems like flooding. The raingarden elements were carefully integrated with the Rose Garden and other design features, showing that they functioned together, rather than the raingarden simply being a drainage pond at the side of the site. The project has resulted in the creation of an attractive, biodiverse, publicly accessible space. The flooding issues have been addressed and the Rose Garden has been given a new lease of life.

The project also incorporates a new fully inclusive heritage-themed play area, which provides a range of play equipment for all children no matter their ability or disability – including pieces of equipment and a sensory garden that are suitable for those in wheelchairs.

In addition, a floodlit pumptrack has been installed, and the park now plays host to The Grangemouth Bike Library - a community project to get more people cycling in Grangemouth by providing loans of a bike, lock, helmet and high-vis reflective gear free of charge for up to 1 month.

To enhance the park's functionality as an events venue, a new performance stage and events space was constructed, catering to a variety of cultural and artistic endeavours.

Alongside the physical works in the park the project invested £130,000 in an activity programme. This included a wide range of activities, from oral histories and interpretive research, the annual science festival, events days, townscape appraisal programmes, to engaging projects such as flag design, sports, photography, cycling/bike activities and performing arts initiatives.

The project has revitalised a much loved and valuable park and demonstrates how partnership working can transform a heritage space for use by the community.

Find out more about Zetland Park  and the Friends of Zetland Park  to learn about what is going on in the park now and future plans.

All images provided by Falkirk Council

Take a look at the Project of the Month archive.