Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) has appointed a team of consultants, comprised of Ryden, Optimised Environments (OPEN) and Mason Evans, to develop a masterplan for the North Kyle Forest area.
On Tuesday 27th October 2015, the team is inviting local residents to give their views on various possible uses for the Forest at a consultation event at Dalmellington Community Centre between 3-8pm.
The aim is to show how the North Kyle Forest can be a catalyst for economic, environmental and social regeneration within the coalfield community area. Path networks, camping, glamping, off-road motorsports, water sports and mountain biking are all possible options that will be presented at the event, along with environmental improvements throughout the site.
Why develop North Kyle Forest now?
The forest trees seen today were planted in the 1970s and are now starting to reach maturity. As these trees are replaced, the forest can be restructured with new trees and different uses developed within the woodland.
The restoration of Dunston Hill and Netherton and the proposals for Chalmerston also present an opportunity to improve the local landscape. The North Kyle Forest links these sites and could create far more opportunities for public access and recreation. The Forest could also link local communities and provide a fantastic resource for outdoor activity.
As open cast sites are reinstated, there is also a need to create new training and employment opportunities to help sustain the local economy. The masterplan will consider whether renewable energy, such as hydro or wind energy, is an option, if it directly benefits the local community.
Fiona Clandillon, planning associate at Ryden who heads up the masterplanning team, will be present at the community consultation event and said: “I look forward to finding out how the local communities feel about the proposed possible uses and residents joining us to debate the options and make their voices heard.”