DETAILED plans for the £800,000 revamp of Lochore Meadows Country Park have been lodged for approval.

The major investment will see the popular play area get a much-needed upgrade and work done on infrastructure to complement existing facilities.

More than 900,000 people descended on ‘the Meedies’ last year alone, making it the region’s most popular free visitor attraction.    

If the formal planning application submitted this week is given the green light, over £500,000 is to be spent on creating a brand new inclusive ‘destination’ playpark for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. 

Councillor Judy Hamilton, community and housing services sub-committee convener, said: “Improved facilities for physical activity and sport are a key priority for this administration and, as part of this ongoing commitment, and I am determined that even in these difficult times, we are continuing to ensure the health and wellbeing of our communities. 

“Our investment comes as outdoor venues like Lochore Meadows have enjoyed increased footfall, as Fifers have rediscovered our open spaces during the pandemic.  

“This new play area will enhance the extensive facilities already on offer, which also include a new energy efficient visitor centre, built in 2017, with a café and toilet facilities, golf, mountain bike trails, water sports, woodland walks, a picnic and barbeque area and plenty of wildlife.

“And new visitors were welcomed over the summer as visitors with motorhomes were able to rent a pitch for an overnight stay as they toured through Fife. 

“Lochore Meadows has been enjoyed by generations of Fifers and our commitment to improve the facilities there will ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.” 

Swings designed to be used by children with disabilities and a sensory tunnel will be amongst a range of new equipment coming to the park, carefully planned to let all children play together in one place.  

New fencing at key locations near the loch and through the wooded area, as well as CCTV, will help keep visitors safe and a new pathway will connect the play area to the visitor centre, giving easy access to the café and toilet facilities.

It remains to be seen how the proposed new look goes down with generations who have loved the park for decades, but park manager Iain Laing has described the new play area as “something special”. 

“It’s one of the jewels in our crown and we want people to keep coming back,” he added.

“We’ve worked closely with the NHS and play park designers to carefully plan and develop a much-improved play area that’s accessible and inclusive.  

“Our play area has always been first class and the current facility has been enjoyed by hundreds of children every day for many years, but this amount of use takes a heavy toll on the equipment.  

“The time has come to refresh the area for the benefit of the next generation of children with a greater emphasis on inclusive play allowing all children to play together as one.” 

A contractor is likely to be appointed by the end of the year if consent is granted, and work could start in January 2022 ahead of completion in April.