Adventure park gets go-ahead

WASTELAND in West Lothian is to be transformed into a £22 million adventure park.

The eco-friendly facility will include a Trojan Horse slide, wooden forts, a 100ft sailing ship, overhead climbing frames, 500m zip lines, dry toboggan runs and various other activities.

The park will also include a lodge, situated on the edge of two lochs to the north of Couston Castle off the A801, which will be available for wedding receptions and private functions, with a "top-quality" restaurant on the first floor.

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Developers also aim to use the lochs themselves as a Royal Yachting Association approved sailing school, where children and adults can learn how to kayak, sail, wind-surf and water-ski.

Proposed accommodation includes 40 New England style log cabins, which can be hired or part-owned.

Polbeth-based entrepreneur Wayne Gardner-Young was given the green light for the scheme by West Lothian Council this week.

With full plans now approved, work is scheduled to begin in early 2011, providing 100 jobs in the building sector over 18 months, with the view of creating 250 full and part-time positions when the activity centre opens its doors at Easter 2013.

Mr Gardner-Young said: "A scheme of this undertaking will provide a welcomed boost to Scotland's economy, particularly at a time when we are facing challenging conditions across a range of industry sectors.

"Having lived in Scotland all my adult life I have witnessed the closure of many big manufacturing companies, resulting in skilled people being left out of work. This is why I am keen to extend my commitment to investing in Scotland's skills base, and this new leisure park is the best place to start."

The former sand and gravel quarry has been restored over a period of five years in preparation for the redevelopment, and underwent a feasibility study by RGA Associates, the company behind large projects including the Falkirk Wheel and Scottish Parliament.

Mr Gardner-Young expects his leisure park to attract visitors from all over Europe.

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He said: "With the Scottish Government having set a target of 35,000 new homes per year by 2015 to meet the current housing shortage, there will be a need and a demand for places of leisure for residents to enjoy. "That's what we're looking to deliver, a place where families can spend time together, within easy access across the central belt."

The park's eco-friendly credentials will be provided by a wind-powered electricity supply and a geo-thermal heating system.

West Lothian Council's development leader Martyn Day said: "We welcome this significant investment in tourism in West Lothian, which will generate a number of new jobs for the area."