A JOHNSTONE underpass has been given a major makeover – transforming it into a woodland-themed pathway for the community.

The site, near Hallhill Road, had become littered with broken glass and graffiti, making it a ‘no-go zone’ for many local residents.

Complaints were also made about the underpass becoming a drinking den and a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.

However, it has now been transformed, thanks to Renfrewshire Council community warden Gail Scoular.

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She organised a major clean-up operation which has made the underpass a bright, welcoming place for young and old alike.

Gail said: “Working as a senior warden, I saw we were having numerous complaints about the area through fires being set and it being used as a drinking den.

“I knew residents were avoiding the area and having to cross a busy road instead of using the underpass, so I decided to do something about it to make my community better.

“In my own time, I contacted the council, local businesses and my Local Area Committee to request help and I was delighted to be supported to carry out this project.”

The Gazette:

The underpass was in a sorry state before getting a makeover

The Community Payback Team painted the underpass into a woodland theme, as a nod to Spateston’s past before houses were built in the area.

New lighting has also been installed by the council’s street lighting team to improve visibility and ensure the safety of residents.

A total of £1,000 was donated for the project by Persimmons Homes, while the Johnstone and the Villages Local Area Committee awarded £600 and local company Finco donated three waste bins to be used in the area.

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Gail added: “The funding allowed a lot of work to take place to bring the underpass back as a clean, safe place for people to use.

“I have to thank everyone who helped out in different ways to make this a reality, including different departments within the council and local businesses.

“I’m so proud of the transformation and it just shows what can be achieved with a little determination and a desire to make the area where you live a better place.”

The Gazette:

Ria Fitzgerald led the team who painted the underpass

Since the underpass was transformed, there has been no further graffiti or reports of anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, convener of Renfrewshire’s infrastructure, land and environment policy board, said: “Gail’s desire to make a difference to her community is inspiring and she has managed to bring an area which locals had been uneasy to use back to the community.

“My thanks go to Gail and all the volunteers and partners who made this positive change possible.”