Former park gate house to be new community hub

29th April 2021

A new community hub – comprising a cafe, workshop, meeting space, office, kitchen, bike hire point and public toilets – is to be created in a disused public park gate house by Procast.

The company have won the £750,000 contract to transform Cowan Park Gate Lodge in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, which will also include the creation of new car parking spaces and the installation of charging points for electric cars and bikes.

The internal works will see the building stripped back to its original shell and they will involve the inclusion of energy-efficient technologies to make the structure fit for the future.

Work, slated to last 22 weeks, is due to get under way on May 10, 2021, and it will be delivered by Procast’s in-house teams along with specialist sub-contractors.

A company spokesman said: “This project will be challenging due to its busy location within a public area. The delivery of this programme of works is focused around strategic planning and traffic management to ensure that we can deliver our services safely without causing any disruptions to members of the public and the surrounding area.”

Funding for the renovation has come from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and through East Ren Council’s capital allocation.

Public consultations in the area have uncovered a fondness for the disused building – and of 909 opinions submitted regarding the Gate Lodge’s future, 690 were in support of a cafe, 54 a social enterprise and 31 in favour of either a cafe, social enterprise community bike hub, nursery or visitor centre.

The council will lease the building and land to social enterprise Include Me 2 Club, who submitted detailed proposals on how they would manage the Lodge as a community hub.

Closed-circuit television systems will be central to the new-look Lodge, to combat vandalism and other an ti-social behaviour that has blighted the area.

Paul McIlvenny, of Include Me 2 Club, told the Barrhead News: “The focus for us at Cowan Park’s Gatehouse Lodge is to establish a range of services, including a coffee shop which will be part of our Social Blend enterprise, helping young people and adults with additional support needs, disabilities and mental health conditions into training and employment.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The government funding will allow us to create a community hub and social enterprise within Cowan Park that will be a fantastic asset for the community.”

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