A new underpass and sensory garden in Ayr have been officially opened with help from pupils from Doonfoot Primary school.
The £1.4m project features a new underpass on Dunure Road, a former rail tunnel, which safely links pedestrian and cycle paths between Alloway and Burton, and the new sensory garden. Pupils in primary five, six and seven classes were invited to take part in a competition to name the garden.
Primary five pupil Lucy Roberts’ winning name – Sense-Ayr-Ee – was voted the top choice by the judges who were impressed by the variety and standard of entries.
Lucy was presented with a book token by Councillor Bob Pollock, South Ayrshire Council, and teacher, Miss Rhagan Kerr and Depute Head, Fraser Baird, received 100 gardening kits on behalf of the school and 300 water bottles, one for every pupil.
Also situated on Dunure Road, the new sensory garden, which is open to everyone to enjoy, was officially launched with the unveiling of a plaque explaining the project background. It features a wetland area, pathways, a board walk with a sensory route and planting that will stimulate visitors’ senses through touch, sight, scent, taste and hearing.
Councillor Bob Pollock, Economic Development Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “The garden is looking fantastic already and it’s only going to get better as nature moves in. Well done to Lucy and all the children and staff at Doonfoot Primary school who have really got behind the project. The garden is a great advert for sustainable travel and how it can not only help the environment but our own health and wellbeing as well.”
The Alloway to Burton Underpass Link project is just one of many projects underway to encourage Active Travel in Ayrshire. Active Travel aims to encourage people to get out and about in their communities walking and cycling in preference to taking the car.
Aileen Herraghty, Grant Manager at Sustrans explained: “The underpass on Dunure Road will provide a safe and direct link that connects to the National Cycle Network Route 7. Users can now avoid crossing the A719, making it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for their everyday and leisure journeys.
“Announcing the new improvements and sensory garden on Clean Air Day (a day focused on action to tackle air pollution) is very fitting. I hope it will inspire and encourage more people in Ayrshire to walk, wheel and cycle, enjoy the outdoors and help tackle air pollution from transport.”
David Manson, Special Project Officer, Ayrshire Roads Alliance, added: “Gardens and the natural environment stimulate not only a sense of enjoyment but a tremendous variety of benefits and with its spectacular name, this sensory garden is sure to be greatly welcomed by everyone who visits. Lucy and all the pupils have done a great job and I’m sure they will look forward, like us all, to seeing the garden grow and develop.”
The underpass and sensory garden were supported by funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme and the National Cycle Network Development Fund, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and Cycling Walking Safer Streets (CWSS), designed by environmental design company Sweco and developed by construction company Story Contracting.
SPT Chair, Councillor Stephen Dornan said: “SPT is delighted to support the delivery of active routes in South Ayrshire through our capital programme. The new underpass completes a vital missing link on the National Cycle Network and will make walking, wheeling and cycling a much more enjoyable and safer experience for everyone using it.”
James O’Sullivan, Senior Project Manager from Story Contracting said: “We are delighted to bring this fantastic sensory garden and brand-new underpass to life for the local community and all who visit to enjoy. It was a pleasure to lead on the construction of this project on behalf of Ayrshire Roads Alliance and I am grateful to everyone who contributed to its success – including the pupils of Doonfoot Primary School who helped us name the garden and plant the final flowers.”