A DISUSED landmark in Barrhead’s Cowan Park could be turned into a community café under council plans.

A survey of residents last year called for Gate Lodge, at the park’s entrance, to be brought back into use, as well as the introduction of public toilets and CCTV for public safety.

Earlier this year, a meeting of Barrhead Community Council heard how the building is consistently listed as a “missed opportunity” for the area.

However, that could all change now that a funding application to breathe new life into the lodge has been put together.

Lorna Wallace, of East Renfrewshire Council, said: “Because it’s a common-good building, we can’t let it to a private company to come in and run that.

“We would call for interested social enterprises and groups to come forward. We have had quite a few different ideas.

“We feel people are looking for a café in Cowan Park and this would be a good way to do that.”

Under the development plans, the revamped lodge would have public toilets and it is also hoped CCTV cameras could be installed to cover both paths leading to the building.

In last year’s survey, calls for CCTV came top out of 1,001 responses, followed by public toilets that were open during the day, better lighting, improved drainage to tackle flooding and the introduction of outdoor learning by local schools and nurseries.

The call for cameras came amid concerns East Renfrewshire Council wasn’t doing enough to end vandalism at the park.

In one previous incident, witnesses reported seeing youths setting fire to a picnic bench in the park’s play area but, by the time fire crews and the police arrived, the culprits had fled the scene.

That incident took place not long after the park received an investment totalling £250,000 to improve the facilities available for the community.

Other requests, in order of priority, included planting to improve the look of the park and encourage wildlife, converting the older tennis courts into a free multi-sport area, a dedicated space for older children and teenagers, a quiet area with a sensory garden and the installation of electricity and facilities to hold outdoor events.

However, the café was by far the most popular choice for what the Gate Lodge should be used for.

Community councillor Rena McGuire said she was not surprised that CCTV topped the ‘wish list’ for the park.

She added: “There is nothing there at the moment to provide security or prevent vandalism.

“We most definitely thought the council were planning to install CCTV, so I hope it happens.”

A council spokesperson said it is working in partnership with community stakeholders to plan the future of Cowan Park.

“The results from this survey will be used to inform an investment plan for the park and all suggested improvements and upgrades, including CCTV, will be explored,” added the spokesperson.

“We would like to thank everyone who had their say and completed the survey.”


Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. We're not exaggerating when we say the future of local newspapers and the vital service we have provided for many years is under threat.

Please consider supporting Barrhead News in whatever way you can - by paying just 90p for a copy of the newspaper when you're shopping for essential supplies for yourself and others or by subscribing to our e-edition here.