Consultation turns spotlight on playparks’ future

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LOCAL parents are being urged to make sure they have their say on the future of eight playparks which have been earmarked for removal under council budget cuts.

Consultation on the local authority’s proposals began on Monday and follows a report which identified that half of the playparks in the county are causing issues such as obsolete or difficult to repair equipment and/or do not meet current health and safety standards.

While it is proposed that play equipment may be removed from specific playparks, the surrounding park areas will remain be kept open to the public. Those affected in the Montrose area are Adams Way, Dubton Village, Fettes Way, India Street, Market Park, Medicine Well, Provost Reid’s Road and The Curlie.

The four-week public consultation will be ask the public to answer a number of questions, including if they agree with the assessments of playparks set for closure, and how often they use their local or other parks. Focus groups and forums are also being formed in each council ward to which all community councils and parent councils will be invited to send representatives. Comments noted at these meetings will feed into the consultation process.

The proposals have sparked off a fierce debate in this area and local councillor Bill Duff urged everyone with a strong opinion to get involved and make sure their voices are heard.

He said: “There are indications of a huge upswell of concern and, if so, come along to the forum which will be confirmed soon. We probably won’t be able to keep everything but if there are strong feelings about keeping particular playparks, they will be listened to.”

The suggestion was made after Angus Council highlighted a potential £45 million shortfall in the capital programme funding. The report identified 51 play parks with 173 items of equipment that should be removed and 50 playparks which should be retained and developed. Of the 50 play parks proposed for retention, 28 sites are in need of upgrading ideally within the next one to three years, at an estimated cost of £1.21 million. The 51 sites identified for removal would require further funding of around £705,000 in addition to the £1.21 million, giving a total funding requirement of £1.91 million. This would be in addition to the £45 million shortfall.

Councillor Donald Morrison, neighbourhood services convener, said: “During the last past few years, the council has invested heavily in the redevelopment of play parks in Montrose, Monifieth, Carnoustie, and Kirriemuir, and most recently at West Links in Arbroath, with Forfar Lochside being scheduled for improvement this financial year. This is over and above numerous other smaller developments across Angus.

“Unfortunately, there are older play areas where equipment is causing issues and we need to look at where provision is best placed for the future, hence the reason for going out to consultation.”

To take part in the survey visit: http://www.angus.gov.uk/bestvalue/consultation/ResearchCurrent.cfm or collect a paper survey form from the council ACCESS office or library.