Committee to discuss results of recent play park consultation

THE RESULTS of the recent public consultation into the condition of equipment in play parks throughout Angus will be discussed by Neighbourhood Services Committee at their meeting (tomorrow) Thursday.

More than 1,000 people filled in all or part of both the online and paper surveys which related to the condition of play equipment in their local parks.

The consultation follows a report which identified that a number of play parks had issues with obsolete, difficult to repair equipment or did not meet current health and safety standards. The report identified 51 play parks with 173 items of equipment that could be removed and 50 play parks which should be retained and developed.

Convener of neighbourhood services, Councillor Donald Morrison said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to fill in the survey forms and emphasise again that we do not propose to close any play areas: proposals relate only to the removal of certain items of play equipment.

“There were a variety of comments made in the surveys and I hope we will have a full discussion on these points at committee on Thursday. As well as asking for the opinions of the local community, we also arranged a meeting with Play Scotland, to discuss all aspects of how we manage our play areas whilst achieving maximum benefits in times of financial constraints. These comments and opinions will all help us to inform our thinking and decision-making as to the next steps, and for the future.”

He added: “These are tough times and we are facing difficult decisions. Although the council has invested heavily in recent years to redevelop play areas, 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 of equipment would require further funding of around £705,000 in addition to the £1.21 million, giving a total funding requirement of £1.91 million.”

There are currently 654 items of play equipment available to families but this would drop to 483, even though the facilities at most of the parks which were noted for closure have been rated either good or fair.

Most of the parks affected are situated in local housing areas or minor park locations. Most rural locations and major parks will be unaffected.

It currently costs £119,600 per year to look after all 100 play parks. This would drop to £88,100 if the cuts go ahead.

The following parks in Kirriemuir and Forfar are under threat; Hillhead Terrace, Knowehead, Martin Park, Marywell Gardens, all Kirriemuir; Easterbank, Gallowshade, Grampian Park, Ivy Road, Lilybank Crescent, Market Muir, Lyninghills, Thornton Park, all Forfar.