Parks on children’s Christmas lists

CHILDREN in and around Montrose have put the retention of their local play parks at the top of their Christmas wish lists.

While other youngsters have been busy writing to Santa Claus, pupils from Lochside and Southesk Primary Schools have been writing letters to Angus Council expressing their thoughts about proposals to remove play equipment from eight of the area’s parks.

A petition, which has so far been signed by around 200 children, has also been circulating and will be sent to the council in the run-up to Christmas.

The pupils have been extremely forthright and unanimous in their views against the proposal which was put to members of the council’s neighbourhood services committee last month as a potential budget-cutting measure.

The report identified 51 play parks across the county with items of equipment that should be removed and 50 play parks which should be retained and developed. The council estimates that it would take around £700,000 to bring all 51 parks up to standard, money it says is not in its budget, while savings of £100,000 could be made to the department if out of date or little-used equipment is removed.

The parks in the Montrose area are Adams Way, Dubton Village, Fettes Way, India Street, Market Park, Medicine Well, Provost Reid’s Road and The Curlie

One pupil said: “I know that you have a lot of power but have a flash back for when you were a kid, think of how much fun you had.”

Others said the council would be “taking fun away from loads of children” or felt that they use the parks often enough for them to be retained.

Another said that if the equipment is removed “it won’t help kids to come out and play” while a senior pupil from Southesk said: “If you take away the parks you will practically be encouraging children to stay in the house and watch television all day, which is not good for anyone’s health. If you want to ruin loads of children’s childhoods you will demolish the local parks.

“I advise you to keep the local parks open right where they are and to let the kids that have never had a chance to go to the park, because they are too young, have use of them in the future.”

Although the council has conducted a consultation on the proposals, which ended on Friday, the idea to find out what the children themselves think was put forward by local parent Lynn Anderson after a county-wide protest group and petition were set up.

She said: “I approached the schools and put the petition around. There were a number of children who were too young to put their names to it but the head teachers were quite keen to let the children put their views across.

“They’ve come back with some great letters and there are around 200 signatures on the petition and the whole point of it is to let the council know what the kids’ concerns are.”

A council spokeswoman said the children’s contributions will be examined. She said: “Any petitions which we receive as part of the current playparks public consultation process would be considered and dealt with as appropriate, according to the contents.”