DALKEITH Country Park has revealed exciting plans to expand Fort Douglas as part of a £300,000 investment – just one year after opening the popular children’s playground.
Since opening in July 2016 the 1,000m2 playground has welcomed more than 175,000 youngsters – and now a planning application has been lodged with Midlothian Council to gain permission to develop its second phase.
The proposals marry the old and the new, with thrilling zip wires and high rise walkways reminiscent of Dalkeith’s much-loved original children’s playground joined by magical treehouses and two giant racing slides.
The plans also include a new structure based on the Park’s nineteenth century Orangerie with zip wires for brave young adventurers – creating a fantastic play area of size and variation that hasn’t been seen before in the east of Scotland.
The proposals have been developed by Dalkeith Country Park’s owner, Buccleuch, and playground specialists, Capco, which designs and builds adventure playgrounds and equipment for various attractions. They include significant developments for older children, so families can enjoy a truly special day out together at Fort Douglas.
The new structures will be added to existing play equipment which includes balance blocks, log walks, jungle climbers, jumping disks, climbing walls, balancing boards and suspended tyres, basket swings and tube slides – as well as the centrepiece look-out treehouse and dedicated toddlers’ area.
Fort Douglas was originally created as part of Buccleuch’s £8.9million investment in Dalkeith Country Park, which also included the redevelopment of the 18th century stables and courtyard into a truly unique retail, food and wellbeing destination, Restoration Yard.
Buccleuch Chief Executive, John Glen, said: “It was always our ambition to expand Fort Douglas and, as it has proved so popular since opening last year, now is the perfect time to lodge our plans for the development of phase two.
“We’ve invested heavily in Dalkeith Country Park with the introduction of Restoration Yard and Fort Douglas to create an exceptional destination in the heart of Midlothian – and we want to continue making these exciting additions so that people of all ages can enjoy the Park throughout the year.
“As we expand we can welcome more visitors from the region and further afield, as well as creating more jobs for people in the local area. We hope the plans are well received by councillors and the community.”
The redevelopment work undertaken at Dalkeith Country Park received the ‘Regeneration and Conservation Award’ at this year’s Edinburgh Architectural Association (EAA) Awards and the ‘Building Conservation Award’ at RICS Awards, Scotland.
The Park is now in the running to receive the ‘Building Conservation Award’ at RICS Awards national finals in November.
Plans were submitted on 12 September and a decision is expected in coming months. Should approval be granted, work would start in winter 2017 with the new upgraded adventure playground at Fort Douglas ready by spring 2018, subject to approval dates.