Castlebank’s rebirth reaches milestone

The opening of the new community hub at Castlebank Park which will be available for hire by members of the public
The opening of the new community hub at Castlebank Park which will be available for hire by members of the public

The dream of returning Lanark’s Castlebank Park to how it looked during its 1950’s ‘Golden Age’ has taken another step towards becoming reality.

The section of the park’s new Horticulural Centre which will act as a `Community Hub` was declared open by the Beechgrove Garden’s George Anderson in a ceremony which South Lanarkshire’s Provost Ian McAllan also attended.

Work converting what was an old, derelict sawmill in the park into the centre and hub began in spring of this year after funding came from the LEADER rural development agency and the Renewable Energy Fund.

Cash for kitting out the centre with furniture, office supplies and kitchen utensils came from the Leavenseat Trust.

The Castlebank Regeneration project is being managed by the Lanark Community Development Trust and its spokeswoman told the Gazette: “The end result is that the renovated building now includes a classroom, meeting space, kitchen and office. As well as hosting a range of horticultural training activities and events throughout the year, the rooms within the centre will also be available for community hire.”

The regeneration of the park, originally a private Victorian estate with world-renowned terraced gardens, was gifted to the people of Lanark in the early Fifties.

It was a favourite playground for generations of local children but gradually fell into disrepair, climaxing with the famous gardens being closed to the public because the terraces had become dangerously unstable. Now the park is well on the road to recovery with a dedicated team of volunteers contributing an estimated 4000 hours of unpaid work each year to transforming the park gardens.

The Trust has also been given a Big Lottery Grant to employ an Educational Gardener; applications to www.lanarktrust.co.uk by December 14 please.