Viewpark Conservation Group
In 2020 Viewpark Conservation Group purchased 171 acres of the Historic Douglas Support Estate, following a 16 year long campaign. Fondly referred to by the local community as ‘Our Glen’, the landmark buyout (the largest amount of urban land acquired to date under the Scottish Land Fund) secured the historic piece of green space, for future generations.
Plans to expand the nearby Strathclyde Business Park in 2004 led to the formation of a community group, which initially opposed the planning application but continued on to explore ways to ensure this well-used green space was protected from further development. Scottish Land Fund granted the project £512,600 enabling the land purchase with additional funds raised to cover development and administrative costs.
The funds awarded will help to restore a former farmhouse to create a reception area for people visiting the Glen, with information and education facilities, a café and exhibition area to showcase the history of the estate.
The focus for the first 5 years will be on developing an infrastructure to support several sporting activities, as well as commercial activity to sustain the initiative. This commercial aspect will go towards the ongoing maintenance costs and create sustainability by removing some of the dependence on grant funding.
Viewpark Conservation Group plans to increase the range of visitors and increase participation through community and volunteering activities which will in turn improve the park’s management, maintenance and security, including improving paths and managing woodland.
The vision of the Group is that ‘Our Glen will be a place where future generations can be secure in the knowledge that the asset has been retained for them. It is a place where everyone, but particularly children and young people can learn in a clean, healthy environment. We will create an infrastructure and activities that will substantially add value to their experiences’.
Another key area of interest for the team will be on creating activities to tackle poor general and mental health, offering memory walks for all generations and guided walks that will cover a variety of topics. Working alongside health professionals and other partners, the proposed activities will strive to improve health outcomes for the local community.
With the extensive history and heritage of the site, interpretation boards will be produced to inform local people and visitors of the centuries of history. This will be in addition to a vibrant events programme, continuing the success of previous Halloween walks which were attended by 500-700 people.
“My feet haven’t touched the ground!”
“The historic Douglas Estate now belongs to the people. After many delays, issues and hurdles, we now own the historic Douglas Estate. Thanks to all the board members, volunteers and fantastic community support – our glen is finally legally transferred into public ownership and we are most grateful to the Scottish Land Fund for their financial support.
“We have been top of all the lists for all the wrong reasons here – recording the highest levels of asthma and coronary heart disease in North Lanarkshire. This is an important step towards preserving and protecting Viewpark Glen and giving back something of natural beauty and benefit to the health and wellbeing of our local community.
“We wanted to preserve this dear green space for future generations, so that they could be persuaded away from a sedentary lifestyle constantly on computers and iPad, and come out into the great outdoors for healthier exercise and fresh air.
“There are woods with mature trees, fish in the North Calder, and habitat for deer, badgers and otters. It is a real asset to the area and the county.”Grace McNeill, Chairperson Viewpark Conservation Group