FIFE’S biggest free tourist attraction, Lochore Meadows Country Park, is wowing visitors with a fresh new look following six months of improvements.
The much-loved landmark, which attracts more than half a million people every year, has been transformed since Fife Coast and Countryside Trust took over its running in July.
Thanks to funding from Fife Council and the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership project, also being managed by the Trust, we have been able to carry out an extensive modernisation programme to improve the visitor experience.
Toilets have been refurbished and upgraded and a state-of-the-art touch-screen computer terminal has been installed. In addition, the park centre was painted and improved signage and lighting put in place.
Best of all, we have been able to use the additional Council funding to bring back the post of Park Manager and immediately made a star signing by appointing Ian Laing to the post.
Ian recently collected a lifetime achievement award from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in recognition of his many years of service protecting animals and safeguarding their habitats during his time as Wildlife Crime Officer with Police Scotland. He has brought all of his skills, knowledge and experience to bear since taking up his post at Lochore in July.
The next stage of the ambitious regeneration project will see plans drawn up to replace the existing Park Centre with a brand new building.
We are asking the public, the people who know their park best, to suggest facilities that could be included in the new Park Centre, which will be partially funded by a £1 million contribution from Fife Council’s capital programme.
Trust Chief Executive Amanda McFarlane hailed the exciting progress achieved at the park in just six months of Coast and Countryside Trust stewardship, ably supported by significant council funding.
She said: “Ian and his team have done a wonderful job already with the various improvements to the Park and the Centre, making it even more welcoming for visitors.
We have already received some fantastic feedback and we would love to hear what people would like to see within a purpose-built park centre.
We can’t promise to be able to do everything but we will do everything we can to make the new centre a fitting centrepiece for this fantastic park.”
Now that Lochore Meadows has received some TLC, the Trust is planning the next stage in the park’s regeneration. Within the next couple of months, an on-site shop will open, creating jobs and further enhancing the park’s appeal as a destination for visitors from Fife and far beyond.
In keeping with the Trust’s innovative and inclusive vision for the park, electric vehicles are going to be purchased to help people travel from Kelty and the surrounding area to Lochore Meadows. A dedicated website for the park has also been launched.
Councillor Gavin Yates, Executive Spokesperson for Community Heath & Wellbeing, is pleased with the positive changes that have taken place in the park over the last six months.
He said: “The additional £120,000 per year from Fife Council is already greatly contributing towards these improvements. Coupled with the Trust’s expertise in managing some of Fife’s other outdoor attractions, I believe we’re onto a winning formula to regenerate the country park.
This is an important facility for Fife that is dearly loved by locals and visitors alike. I think I speak for the park’s customers when I say that we’re looking forward to reaching that next step in its important development. The Council’s £1m commitment to upgrade or develop the visitor centre buildings is key to that.
I’d like to congratulate the Trust on their progress so far and am sure this will continue into the busy summer season.”