OUR READERS continue to bombard us with comments about the possible closure of eight children’s playparks in and around Montrose.
The common theme is disagreement with the Angus Council report which states that children need only state-of-the-art facilities such as those at the Seafront Splash, and that is the way forward.
Mothers are telling us that the small playparks which are proposed for the axe are precisely those which are most useful when there is a limited time for play, such as a half-hour before teatime.
Bradley Walker wrote: “Surely it’s going to cost more to demolish than to regenerate the existing parks with something as simple as a lick of paint. Also what would they think of doing to those pieces of land?
“I had great memories with many parks in question and I’m sure parents of today will want to be able to take their kids to very local nearby parks to their home than to have their kids going to parks out of sight. Kids don’t really have many places to go as it is. Leave the parks be and just make them better.”
Lynn Beedie said: “In response to today’s article [about the Medicine Well Park], yes, fair enough, the park does get flooded but it soon drains away. If the drains were cleared of debris regularly it would not flood so much.It’s Like everyone’s back gardens in this weather, and who lets their child out to play in such muddy wet conditions anyway, in a park or a back garden?”
And Ian Spence wondered: “Did two folk in yellow vests and clipboards sit in the council motor and count how long between kids playing on the equipment? There’s more kids on video games and smart phones now, but removing the equipment is removing more of their childhood.”
Chris Hebenton emphasised: “My girls are too young for ‘phones and love going to the playparks.”
Councillor David May made his views known at the Angus Council meeting where this was first discussed.
He 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 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 about the health and fitness of our young people and this council report in my view will make the problems worse.
“I do not support the suggestion that we should concentrate our resources on some of the state of the art play areas and close some of the smaller play areas.
“Not every parent has a car to transport their children to the play areas. Small, very local play areas may not be the most modern but are well used, and for many parents they are close to their home and, therefore, ideal.
“We should not expecting youngsters to walk what might be for them considerable distances to play areas. We should not be closing the small local play areas down but seeking funding from any source we can to upgrade them. Furthemore, I am not convinced about the saving which is being suggested.
“I cannot speak for other Angus Councillors about their own wards but on the general principle of wholesale closure of play areas in Montrose this is an appalling idea and opposite to what we should be doing to assist in getting our young people fitter. Instead of recommending closure I believe the best way forward is to seek the views of people in our burghs on how to improve the play areas and seek their help to perhaps gain sponsorship and other sources of funding which they might be able to access which the council cannot.”