Four children’s playparks in the Montrose and district area which were earmarked for closure by Angus Council have been saved.
After a public outcry with 1,053 people responding to a consultation and a 2,273-signature petition submitted to the local authority following its plans to close 50 of the 101 play areas in the county, councillors decided to keep an extra 25 parks at a neighbourhood services committee meeting on Thursday (November 14).
However, this still means that six parks in Angus will be removed, including one in Montrose, and 20 will have no further investment put into them by the council.
Out of the 18 parks in the Montrose and district area, 10 will remain open, including the Curlie, Dubton Village, Medicine Well and Provost Reid’s Road, which had been marked for closure last year, but the equipment from the park at Caledonian Place will be removed.
Montrose Liberal Democrat councillor David May said: “Last year at the committee I opposed the plan and one of the reasons was that childhood obesity in Angus is getting worse and it was nonsense to reduce the opportunities for our young people to have access to play equipment.”
He added: “I was not surprised that public reaction was so hostile to this and I welcome the fact that there is a new basis for play provision which means a reprieve for many playparks.
“As far as many parents and their children are concerned, this is much better news and, given budget pressures, is much more acceptable.”
Councillor Donald Morrison, convener of neighbourhood services, said: “These are tough times and we are facing difficult decisions. While I am pleased to announce that 75 playparks will be retained, instead of the initial proposal of 50, the investment will take place over a five-year period, which the council will have to review annually regarding how they will fund the shortfall.
“I’d like to once again thank everyone who filled in the survey forms and emphasise again that we do not propose to close any play areas; proposals relate only to the removal of certain items of play equipment.”
Angus Council has also indicated that there will be no further investment in the playparks at Adams Way, Fettes Way, India Street and Market Park.
Mr May said: “This means if the condition of the equipment in future does not meet health and safety requirements the equipment will be removed.
“I was given an assurance that if a group was established that wished to fund raise or apply for external funding for playpark equipment the council officers would assist them in this. I call on local residents who wish to do this to contact me so that I can help.
“Funding possibilities from external sources which are not available for the council could be accessed if a group in this area could be set up.”
To get in touch with Mr May, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01674 830673.