Councillors act on Vogrie survey findings

The toilets at Vogrie Country Park will be upgraded and a study commissioned on improving the paths and grounds to guide longer term investment.

Vogrie House, Vogrie Country Park. Photo by Scott Louden.
Vogrie House, Vogrie Country Park. Photo by Scott Louden.

The actions are among a range of measures approved at the full Council meeting on Tuesday.

A total of £200,000 from the Scottish Government’s Placed Based Investment Fund will be spent improving the toilets while a further £50,000 of Blueprint funding, for projects to maximise the economic benefits of the Borders Railway, will go on the paths study.

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Councillors heard 730 people filled in a survey about how they use the park and what they liked and disliked about the facilities.

While respondents spoke highly of many aspects of the park including the Rangers service and natural landscape, the quality and availability of the toilets was the least liked facility (38% of respondents).

Respondents were also asked to rank their top priorities for improvements with paths coming out as number one.

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for green spaces, Councillor Dianne Alexander said: “The response to the survey has been phenomenal. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to fill it in. Its clear people feel very strongly about, and have a real fondness for, Vogrie.

“What has emerged from the survey is the need to improve the toilet facilities as quickly as possible and to look at how improving access to the paths and landscape would allow everyone to enjoy what’s on offer at the park.”

The outcome of the commissioned study will then help shape a new management plan for the park. Officers have also agreed to continue looking into other funding streams to attract more visitors and bring in additional revenue like glamping. Vogrie House could also be used for conferences and/or indoor play.

Cllr Alexander said: “Our aim is to make sure we provide a year-round, family orientated, multi activity leisure attraction which will enhance and safeguard the future of Vogrie Country Park.”