Calls for more time to consult

Angus Labour have called upon Angus Council to extend its consultation into the removal of 50 play areas across the county after it discovered that some libraries in Angus did not receive copies of the consultation documents for the public until this week.

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 SNP talk about “preventative spend” which is supposed to invest in children’s health and well-being 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.

Margaret Thomson, Labour councillor for Monifieth and Sidlaw said: “The administration needs to listen on this issue. I am working along with parents in my ward to get the Council to extend the consultation period. Closing parks in our communities is not what people want.”

John Ruddy, chair of Angus Labour Party, added: “This consultation is already being held over a very short period of time, with less than a month for people to make their views known. However, the delays in the information reaching libraries mean that there is just over two weeks until the consultation closes.

“The consultation itself is also flawed, in only allowing a response on a single specific play area, rather than a question about the policy. It also asks members of the public to score their local facility, instead of asking if there will be a loss of amenity, or how easy it will be to travel to the suggested replacement. It seems to be pre-disposed towards closing at least some play areas rather than finding out the views of the local community, especially as the online survey prevents people from responding about more than one play area.

“That’s why we’re asking the council to at the very least extend the consultation period, and preferably consider a wider consultation on the policy itself.

l For details on the campaign in Forfar to save the playparks

see page 29.