Falkirk Council: Anger at delays to improving Bo’ness park and proposal to get rid of Muiravonside farm

A report going to members of Falkirk Council’s executive will also suggest considering the transfer Newparks Farm in Muiravonside Country Park to a third-sector of commercial organization in a bid to save money.

Members of the group Friends of Kinneil had been hoping to see a review of the Bo’ness park’s current masterplan which they say does not make the most of the opportunities for tourism the estate offers.

But while councilors agreed to a review last year, the now disbanded Falkirk Community Trust was not able to produce a report in time.

Kinneil House and estate is popular with visitors from all over

Instead, council officers now say it makes more sense to look at the future of the 200-acre Bo’ness site alongside that of Callendar Park, Helix Park and Muiravonside Country Park, all of which were previously managed by the Trust.

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18 photos of Falkirk in the 1980s

But creating masterplans and bidding for lottery funds takes time and money so officers are suggesting dealing with Callendar Park, then Muiravonside and then Kinneil.

The Friends group has urged councilors to reject the proposals.

The recent Bountiful Bo’ness Harvest event in the grounds of Kinneil proved a popular event

Friend of Kinneil’s chairperson Ian Shearer said: “This report being presented to the council executive is extremely disappointing. We hope that councilors across parties will roundly reject it, as it is manifestly not what they had unanimously asked for.

“It offers little sense of vision or ambition from the estate’s owners, nor of its potential contribution to much-needed economic recovery and development as had been promised.

“This year should be a celebration of Kinneil’s centenary as a public heritage asset, after the local council began acquiring the estate in 1922 – also not mentioned.

“It seems to be being proposed that Kinneil should return to the back of the queue for major external fundraising. What message does this send to the community and to volnteers, if this is how Kinneil and Bo’ness are again rewarded?”

“The paper barely recognizes the exceptional historic attractions or the estate’s status as part of a World Heritage Site. The thousands of visitors whom the Friends have met over the years, would probably find it hard to believe the lack of enthusiasm, inspiration or investment commitment in this report.”

In the meantime, the report suggests that Sustainable Thinking Scotland (STS) should continue and expand their lease of Kinneil’s Walled Garden, to help them continue their work growing produce that is donated to local food banks and carrying out environmental research.

The report also raises concerns about the future of Newparks Farm, which is part of Muiravonside Country Park. If councilors agree, a report will be brought to the executive looking at how feasible it would be to transfer Newparks Farm to a third-sector of commercial organisation.

The report makes clear that the district’s only country park needs to generate additional income and reduce overall expenditure to make it more sustainable.

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