AMBITIOUS plans to create a walkway at a popular Barrhead beauty spot have been unveiled.

New artist’s impressions show revised proposals for redeveloping the Aurs Road area to create improved walking and cycling routes which will run alongside Balgray Reservoir, at Dams to Darnley Country Park.

The £20million project is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal – a £1.13billion partnership between East Renfrewshire Council, seven other local authorities, the Scottish Government and the UK Government – and development is scheduled to begin early next year.

During the coronavirus pandemic, visitor numbers to Dams to Darnley Country Park have soared and the way people use the area has changed.

This led to the design team, in close consultation with Scottish Water and walking and cycling charity Sustrans Scotland, reconsidering the best way to improve the area.

Instead of creating a large visitor centre, the plans now focus on creating a range of facilities and attractions across the entire country park area.

These could include a smaller visitor facility with café, toilets at strategic locations, good-quality play areas and a range of other potential additions.

Work on this part of the project would get under way in 2023, following the completion of the Aurs Road transformation.

Barrhead News:

East Renfrewshire Council leader Tony Buchanan told the Barrhead News: “It’s fantastic to see this transformational project brought to life in these artist’s impressions.

“Life has changed so much as a result of the pandemic and I’m delighted the project is now being adapted to meet the changing needs of visitors to the area.

“This will provide a fantastic destination for visitors, whilst also improving transport links and creating job opportunities.

“I can’t wait to see work getting underway next year.”

As well as creating the impressive promenade area for walkers and cyclists, the project will also include realigning two sections of Aurs Road, the creation of a roundabout and the replacement of a weak road bridge.

This aims to provide a safer, more direct local route between Barrhead and Newton Mearns, with improved connections for walking and cycling.

Replacing the weak bridge and realigning the road will also mean a bus route between the two communities can be established.

Council chiefs say the boardwalk will also connect to existing paths, giving visitors a “vibrant and attractive environment” for leisure and exercise.

The total cost for the improvements to the area surrounding Dams to Darnley Country Park is estimated to be £19.5m, with an application to Sustrans to fund part of the project about to be submitted.

Rosemarie McInally, chair of Barrhead Community Council, has backed the plans.

She said: “Barrhead Community Council welcomes the investment in the country park, which will provide an opportunity for more outdoor activities for residents of Barrhead and a major increase in safety for walkers, who won’t have to take the risk of walking on Aurs Road.”

Work to deliver the new Barrhead South train station is also moving forward.

Once completed, the train and bus interchange will provide improved access to jobs and services for the existing community of Auchenback and new residents from planned housing developments in the surrounding area.

It is proposed that work will get underway in late 2023, with completion scheduled in 2025.

Barrhead News:

Last week, the Barrhead News told how concerns have been raised by some councillors over the spiralling costs of the new station, which are now set to be twice the original £9m estimate.

Inflation and changes to the scope of the scheme have been given as reasons for the rise by council chiefs, with the final bill set to reach £18m.

Funding has been earmarked from the City Deal as part of an overall £44m investment package for East Renfrewshire.

Of that total, £38m is being provided by the UK and Scottish governments, with the remaining £6m coming from council coffers.

A council report reveals that costs for the new station have increased for several reasons, including legal requirements concerning accessibility, which mean lifts and an overhead bridge are now needed.

Also, the original estimate was based on a start date in 2018 but, as work is now expected to begin in 2023, tender prices have increased due to inflation.

Councillor Buchanan said construction costs are currently expected to have increased by 30% for “a variety of reasons,” including Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

Questions have also been asked over increased costs for a new leisure centre at Eastwood, which is not being funded through the City Deal.

Initially, £26m was allocated for the leisure hub but, in March, it was revealed the overall cost could be more than £50m.

For more information about City Deal projects planned for East Renfrewshire, visit HERE.