Council adds two evening dates

CRITICISM has been levelled at Angus Council over its timing for a meeting to discuss the future of eight of Montrose and district’s play parks.

Montrose Community Council chairman Tommy Stewart branded as “stupid” the arrangements for the Montrose forum, which was called as part of the authority’s four-week public consultation about the possible removal of play equipment.

The Montrose meeting has been set for between 2 and 4pm on Thursday, November 29, which Mr Stewart said would mean that many parents would be unable to attend.

And Angus councillor David May thought the proposal for the timing of the meeting so illogical that he lobbied neighbourhood services officials until two extra evening meetings are to take place in early to mid-December. The dates will be announced as soon as possible.

Contentious proposals put forward at the council’s neighbourhood services committee last month suggest that play equipment could be removed from around half of the county’s playparks as a cost-cutting measure. As part of the consultation, focus groups are being set up in each of the affected burghs. These involve representatives from community councils and local parent councils who will be invited to take part.

Mr Stewart said: “The community council has been contacted by Angus Council who have asked us to help set up the consultation for them and come along to the meeting but it’s at a stupid time when the majority of people won’t be able to attend.

“It will be difficult for the community council to attend, certainly. I’ve already canvassed members and it will be difficult for us to send anyone as everyone works. We’ve been asked to pass the word around but it’s going to be very difficult.

“It makes you wonder whether the council has deliberately come up with this.”

An Angus Council spokeswoman said the authority is encouraging all member of the public to comment through a number of channels.

She said: “We appreciate that not everyone is free to attend during the day but expect that some representatives of each group will be able to attend and give the group’s views, which will be added to the comments we receive.

“Anyone who wishes to comment on playparks can do so by filling in a form obtainable from libraries and council offices, or through the council’s ‘Have Your Say’ site at www.angus.gov.uk/playparks.”

Mr May pointed out that the ‘Have Your Say’ consultation still has a deadline of the end of November, but that reports of the evening meetings will be submitted as part of the report to the next neighbourhood services meeting.

At these evening meetings, neighbourhood services officials will make a presentation to the “representatives of key stakeholders interests at the meeting, which will be followed by a question and answer session.