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20/11/2023

Future Redevelopment Of Whin Park Approved

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The Highland Council has announced that a proposal for the future redevelopment of Whin Park in Inverness has received the backing of Inverness Councillors.

Members of the City of Inverness Area Committee agreed a vision which is in line with The Highland Council's Play Strategy that seeks to deliver 'free play' by restoring and enhancing this popular city asset as a key sustainable and inclusive destination.

Leader of Inverness and Area Cllr Ian Brown said: “The vision for Whin Park complements the aims of the Council's 'Our Future Highland' Programme and in particular the commitments to work together to improve quality of life and opportunities for Highland people.

He added: “Whin Park is the jewel in the crown of Highland Council's play areas but has become tired and tarnished through the high level of use it attracts not just from Inverness locals but from families travelling further afield. I am delighted that Inverness Councillors have agreed to support the redevelopment and hopefully by attracting more funding we can bring the 'sparkle' back to this gem of a facility.”

The vision is to provide: 'a high-quality play offering for children and young people in Inverness and beyond that serves the needs of all young people, regardless of ability and age; a varied range of sustainable play equipment supported by core facilities at the park, including toilet provision and the boating pond; and as funding allows, the future for the park will include the development of a natural play offering, alongside space for wheeling opportunities.'

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Works already completed at the park include the draining, cleaning and management of an invasive non-native weed species in the boating pond which was also repaired and leased out to resume its summer seasonal activity.

Councillors have also agreed a £150,000 Inverness Common Good Funding application which will contribute to the delivery of the park's vision.

Refurbishment works of the park toilets have been tendered and the contract awarded in October 2023 with works due to start later this month and completing in time for the 2024 season. The toilet block refurbishment is a key element to the park redevelopment and also to the active travel Riverside Way Development Project.

Results of an online engagement survey with local schools and the wider public highlighted the importance of Whin Park as a destination facility with a third of respondents stating they were from outwith the Inverness area. The main reason people visited Whin Park was to use the play equipment (85%) and 90% respondents wanted better play equipment.

Recognising the importance of Whin Park as a destination facility £234,988 Scottish Government Play Area Funding has been allocated to the redevelopment of the Park by Members of the Inverness, Central, Ness-side, Millburn and Inverness West Wards.

A phased approach is being adopted by the Council for the re-development of the park pending the availability and securing of funding for required works.

Phase one works totalling £118,162 are due to be completed in April 2024. The second phase of works will be focused on the play aspect of the park and the funding secured today will allow the project to proceed to the next stage to allow procurement activities to take place which are currently an estimated £500,000. Any future works to be carried out are to be planned and costed for which funding is being sought from external sources.

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