Playpark consultation time extended

ANGUS Council has made it clear that its proposals about playparks are about not replacing worn out equipment at certain locations, rather than selling the land for housing or other uses.

The council has stated that parks from which redundant equipment has been removed will be grassed over where possible, and will still be available for children to play on.

The council is undertaking a consultation about the playparks, and has announced that the deadline for this has been extended by two weeks.

A spokeswoman said: “To allow as many people as possible to take part in the online consultation at www.angus.gov.uk/playparks, or by collecting a paper survey from council ACCESS offices or libraries, the deadline has been extended to December 14.

The council’s convener of Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Donald Morrison added: “We’ve recognised that this is a very busy time of year for people, and have now extended the deadline to ensure that all those who wish to make a comment have ample time to do so.

“I hope that, by extending the deadline, more people will take the opportunity to give us their views on the playparks we’ve identified where the age and standard of equipment is an issue, and how often they use their local or other parks.”

The council is seeking views on its assessment of each individual play park. However, members of the public can make comment on as many of the assessments as they wish.

As well as the public consultation, local community planning teams have organised focus groups and forums in each multi-member ward to which all community councils and parent councils have been invited to send representatives. Comments noted at these meetings will feed into the consultation process.

The report on play park provision identified 51 play parks with 173 items of equipment that should be removed and 50 play parks 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 require funding of around £705,000 for replacement to equipment and to bring them up to standard, giving a total funding requirement of £1.91 million.

Meanwhile, the Angus Labour Party has stated its belief that saving money on playparks may be counter-productive in years to come.

Jenny Marra, Labour MSP for North East Scotland said: “Playparks are probably the most shortsighted thing that any Council could close to make savings. Children need parks to keep them out in the fresh air, to keep fit, and to see other children. The projected savings published by the Council do not justify closure of playparks at all.”

The MSP continued: “The SNP talk about “preventative spend” which is supposed to invest in children’s health and wellbeing to save money on the health, social work and criminal justice budget in years to come. Closing play parks would fail every preventative spend test that John Swinney has set. The proposals are ridiculous.

“The only circumstances under which a playpark could be considered for closure is where a brand new one has been built right next to it. But that is not the case with these 50 playparks in Angus. This is a ridiculous proposal. The Council should think again, very quickly.”