Water Works is about transformation and local empowerment. The site is located in Barrhead North, a neighbourhood with significant levels of social deprivation and health inequalities along with a disproportionately high area of vacant and derelict land.
Water Works is strongly underpinned by land planning policy and is an integral part of our Local Development Plan. The Water Works project is actively widening the scope of regeneration to include meaningful community engagement and direct action alongside major public and private investment. Over £1 million has been invested in the Barrhead North area. Water Work’s key outcomes include:
- Physically transform and reclaim 2 hectares of derelict land;
- Challenge negative perceptions of Barrhead North and create positive new ones;
- Improve health and wellbeing by offering opportunities for gardening and recreation;
- Create opportunities for intergenerational collaboration and project work;
- Contribute to initiatives to attract new investment to the Barrhead North area.
The project is innovative in two significant ways. Firstly, Water Works has been used as a catalyst project in the wider regeneration work in Barrhead North. The project started in advance of the construction of commercial units, road realignment and brown field remediation work. This ‘community first’ approach has given local people a personal stake in the regeneration initiative and provided confidence that things can happen quickly on the ground. This has started to reverse negative perceptions of the area. While community consultation is common practice when developing a regeneration masterplan (typically it would involve a charrette), Water Works takes the standard of consultation and engagement one step further and has allowed the community to lead the way with hands-on transformation of a space. This approach recognises and delivers a holistic approach to regeneration which puts communities at the centre and considers how local cohesion, health and well-being, and environmental sustainability contribute to successful places.
The second innovation is a new and sustainable approach to derelict land. Rather than demolish and remove the structures associated with the sewage works these have been reused and reinvented as central features of the wild flower garden. Discarded stone and materials found on site have been recycled to make new paths and landscaping while the huge concrete tanks have been reinvented as giant flower pots. Soil used to backfill the concrete tanks was salvaged from a nearby re-laid football pitch. This recycling has made the project both environmentally sustainable and extremely cost effective. Salvaging stone saved over £5000 while salvaging soil saved a further £15,000. With a small budget of £45,000 for construction this represented substantial savings.