TWO REPORTS placed before Angus Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee on Thursday could spell the end of almost half the children’s playparks in Montrose, and confirm the closure of two public toilets.
The Montrose proposals mirror the situation throughout the county.
A saving of some £100,000 in running costs would be made if the proposals were implemented in full. There would, however, be one-off costs in removing redundant play equipment and reinstating land.
The eight parks in this area earmarked for closure in department director Ron Ashton’s report are: Adams Way, Dubton Village, Fettes Way, India Street, Market Park, Medicine Well, Provost Reid’s Road and The Curlie.
The two public toilets named for closure are the Mall and Town House – but both have been closed for some time.
After heated discussions, it was agreed that both of the reports on closures would go to a public consultation rather than be ratified immediately, a move welcomed by all members.
Montrose Councillor David May told the meeting: “At a time of increasing concerns about the health of our young people, their increasing average weight, the changes in lifestyles of so many, I must oppose this [playpark] report, as to suggest closure of half of the play areas in Angus will only make these problems worse. The government has reinforced these concerns ... and this report is contrary in my view, and will make the problem worse.”
He continued: “I certainly oppose the recommendations in some of the locations but I am willing to engage with local residents to see what their views are.”
Councillor Bill Duff made clear his view that super playparks such as Seafront Splash and West Links, Arbroath, are the way forward. He also said that with the exception of The Curlie, which “makes sense due to its location” and Dubton Village Park, as it has “new-looking equipment”, he is in favour of closing the other parks because of the financial restraints being placed upon the council.
Councillor May suggested that the issue should be devolved to community councils, as they can seek external funding without having to pay interest on any money they receive.
The Neighbourhood Services Committee made it clear that it is happy to speak to any community groups which want to take over the running of their local parks.
A spokeswoman for Angus Council confirmed that the public will be consulted on the proposed closure of 50 of the 100 play areas in Angus, and of a number of unsupervised toilets which are subject to vandalism and/or are of very basic standards.
* The Review wants to know what readers think. Is there a genuine case for closure of all or some of these facilities? Or do you believe they should all remain open? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org