THE heart of one of Glasgow’s “crown jewels” could become a pedestrian-friendly zone as part of a new £5.4 million sustainable transport improvement plan for the park.

With more than 70 per cent of trips to Pollok Country Park made by car, the park can become congested with traffic and widespread, uncontrolled parking.

But Glasgow City Council said it has carried out extensive consultation with local communities and interested parties and found most people want to cut car use in the park to boost the environment.

Now plans - which include a new shuttle bus - have been designed to try to encourage more people to take public transport to the park.

Under the proposals, Pollok Avenue, which runs between the two major fields that are home to Glasgow’s famous fold of Highland Cattle, will cease to be a through road to private vehicles.

It is hoped this will free it up for easier use by pedestrians and cyclists.

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Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, has backed the plan as a key element in wider work to improve and rejuvenate Pollok Country Park.

He said: “Pollok Country Park is undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s crown jewels.

“It is home to a superb range of attractions but is also a place of great beauty and calm.

“With the completion of the renovations at the Burrell still over a year away, there is a huge amount of work on-going to transform the park as a whole into a top class visitor destination that appeals to both local citizens and tourists.

“But sadly, while parts of this fantastic public space are often under used, other parts are overrun by cars.

“Time and time again the issue of the impact of traffic and car parking has come up in our consultations as an issue people want to see addressed.

“How people get to Pollok Country Park is therefore critical to the future of the park.

“These plans will make it easier and more attractive to people to use more sustainable forms of transport to travel to the park.

“But the plans will also allow for far more effective management of vehicles within the park.

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“By prioritising walking and cycling at the very heart of the park, a visit to Pollok Country Park will become a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

“These plans are good for the environment and great for people who come to Pollok Country Park.”

Plans for Scotland’s largest urban country park include a new car park being built on a disused blaes pitch on the eastern edge of the park.

They also show reconfigured entry and exit routes for vehicles, the introduction of a zero-emissions shuttle bus, an improved network of paths that will help keep pedestrians and cyclists separate from other vehicles and the introduction of electric vehicle charging points.

With the reopening of The Burrell Collection in Spring 2021 expected to attract up to 800,000 visitors each year, it is intended the proposed arrangements will encourage greater use of public transport by those coming to the park.

Under the plan, revenue from the new car park will be used to pay-off a £3m loan borrowed upfront by the council to invest in the proposed infrastructure. Any excess revenue will be reinvested back into the park as a whole. Public consultation indicated a significant majority of people supported car parking charges in the park.

The car park’s flexible design will also allow it to have alternative uses, such as an event space, and overall, Pollok Country Park’s car parking spaces will reduce by 35 per cent.

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The sustainable transport plan will be presented at the council’s City Administration Committee on January 23 for approval.

It is part of a wider project named Transforming Pollok Country Park, which includes refurbishment of Pollok House, extending South West City Way along St Andrew’s Drive to the park, upgrading the children’s play area, creating opportunities for outdoor learning and enhancing the service to the adjoining railway station at Pollokshaws West.

A report will now go in front of Glasgow City Council's City Administration Committee on Thursday, February 23.

Pollok Country Park is the largest park in Glasgow and was voted the best Europe in 2008.

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It houses two of Scotland's most important museums - the Burrell Collection and Pollok House - both of which are A listed buildings.