UK set for 460ha of new parkland

A huge funding boost of more than £70m will see 460ha of parkland planted on three sites across the UK as a flurry of contractors line up to bid for the work.

The Helix project won £25m of Big Lottery Fund cash and will use it to plant over 250,000 trees across 300ha in central Scotland.

The Falkirk site will change from an unused urban scrub area into a landscape with 34km of paths and cycle tracks, and a 30m-high "Kelpie" horse sculpture.

Connswater Community Greenway won £23.5m to create a 9km linear park in east Belfast. The project will connect 153ha of public open space, build 43 bridges and lay 19km of cycle paths.

Greater East Belfast Partnership chairman Sammy Douglas said: "The greenway will turn the rivers and open spaces into community assets and provide a living landmark for our children."

Cornwall's Heartlands won £22.3m to turn a derelict mining area into a World Heritage Site centred on a new park. The 7.5ha space will have formal gardens, play areas and a performance space.

Councillor Carolyn Rule, Kerrier District Council's economy and regeneration chief, said the new landscape should "be the catalyst for future growth and prosperity".

Big Lottery Fund chairman Sir Clive Booth called the schemes groundbreaking and said he looked forward to them "capturing the imagination of the surrounding communities" across the country.

The grants were made by the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks programme.

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