Scottish Home Awards 2020 ‘Green Infrastructure Development of the Year’: Halfway Community Park

Southside Housing Association developed a Masterplan for a large openspace in the middle of Halfway, Cardonald  in 2017.  This Masterplan proposed the creation of a “Community Park”, to replace the under utilised and poorly maintained open space that surrounds the community controlled housing in this neighbourhood. After a number of years of liaising with the community, stakeholders and critically stakeholder the idea of Halfway Community Park finally became reality in 2019.

Halfway Community Park has transformed what was an expanse of underused open space adjacent to the Moss Heights high rise blocks in Cardonald/Halfway, Glasgow into a vibrant community park. The vision was to create a thriving community greenspace that would be at the centre of the neighbourhood offering access to both passive and active recreation.

The Masterplan proposal delivered on the outcomes of extensive community engagement with  the introduction of improved pathways, a ‘homezone’ pedestrianised area (including the removal of roads and vehicular traffic), increased biodiversity and space for recreation, natural play, social gathering, community growing space and increased tree and shrub planting.
The project brings together a number of key stakeholders who are members of the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership (MGSDP), as well as Scottish Natural Heritage, Glasgow City Council and a number of other funders. Most importantly, it has galvanized community activity with the creation of a new community group that has, and continues to work very closely with us to manage the improved area.

As well as transforming the area into a thriving community space that will be at the center of the neighbourhood, our long term vision  is to connect the currently disparate buildings and spaces at the centre of Cardonald. This major project which will enhance the quality of life of residents through access to high quality green space and activities, reducing social isolation and increasing the appeal of the area.

We have undertaken measures to ensure that the development uses environmental solutions for water maintenance and management along with increasing planting both shrubs, trees and flowers. This has ensured that the scheme stays in keeping with the local environment whilst actually increasing the green and blue infrastructure that is reflected in the surrounding area. We have been sensitive with the materials that we have used, creating a natural play area using wood, and natural stones and granites. We have used the natural contours of the site, some of which are very challenging, to integrate many of the features, particularly the children’s play areas and the significant hillside now incorporates a chute/slide.
The development of the park provides the opportunity to introduce sustainable flood management measures, which will be used to reduce the flood risk downstream, whilst taking flows out of the combined sewer network, making the drainage infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Green infrastructure investment has supported the development of increased biodiversity planting, landscaping for greater access and provision of facilities for recreation, natural play, social gathering and food growing.

This development will facilitate the design and construction of the sustainable drainage measures which are being employed as part of the Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP), to reduce flood risk in the area and ensure the drainage network is resilient to climate change. Increased tree and shrub planting will encourage a great diversity of wildlife and with the engagement of local people we will build natural habitats for small mammals and bug and insects.

SHA will work with local partners in the delivery of various community based programmes within the Park proposal to ensure local people benefit from the park. This includes > 50 volunteering places which will enable involvement of local people in the delivery of the Park development and ongoing use of the space, which will include the management and maintenance of the park.

SHA has in place a robust management and maintenance plan that will be delivered in house by our own Facilities Management service. This will be supported by maintenance from Scottish Water for the drainage systems and we will seek to work with a number of environmental charities and organisations so that bio diversity features are well supported and encouraged.

As part of this commitment to community engagement, SHA has worked with residents to form the Friends of Halfway Park network which will provide a means for local people to participate in the strategic and operational direction of the Park, including:  identification of Park programmes/activities, recruitment of volunteers/’green champions, accessing training to promote the community ownership of the park.  To date the Friends network has a membership of 50+ people that have participated in discussions, a major celebration event and meetings in relation to the direction of the Park. The network is supported by SHA in partnership with Glasgow City Council.

As a social landlord we strive to provide excellent customer service to all our tenants, sharing with them information about the schemes they live on. We regularly publish updates and newsletter and are developing a comprehensive calendar of engagement activities that help our residents to understand the planting and bio diversity on the site. We share information on both our social media platforms and website and at tenancy sign up for new tenants we talk tenants through all the changes that have been made.

The friends of Halfway Park community group hold regular meetings for residents and will update the community regarding planting and maintenance issues and volunteering opportunities. We will work with partner organisations to hold events that inform and empower our residents to take ownership of the Park and encourage everyone to better look after the are around their homes.

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