Local playparks threatened with closure

COUNCILLORS agreed to delay any decision involving the closure of Angus parks until a full public consultation has taken place, writes Hannah Messer.

Out of 100 playparks in Angus, half are in line to be removed if Angus Council’s neighbourhood services committee approves a report which recommends them to be scrapped to save money.

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “The public are to be consulted on the proposed closure of 50 of the 100 play areas in Angus, following a decision at today’s neighbourhood services committee. Convene, Councillor Donald Morrison said that before decisions were taken on a report earmarking parks to be removed, the proposals should go out to public consultation.”

The local authority will save around £31,500 per year, if the move takes place. It would however cost roughly £140,000 to remove equipment and reinstate the sites.

The project will save no more than £630 for each park each year. This means it would be more than four years before the cost of the changes was paid back to the council budget.

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 noted for closure have been rated either good or fair.

Most of the parks facing closure 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.

There will also be parks closing in Montrose, Arbroath, Carnoustie, Glamis and Brechin.

An overall review of the children’s play area provision categorised the play parks that are under threat as either uneconomic to repair, obsolete or failing to meet current set standards.

In his report to the neighbourhood services committee, director Ron Ashton said: “Due to the ongoing budget reductions facing Angus Council, there is the ever increasing need to reduce costs, including those associated with the maintenance and replacement of the overall physical assets held by the council.

“Play parks, in particular, require daily and weekly safety inspection of each individual item of play equipment and associated surfacing to ensure the safety of users.”

He added: “In addition, many of the older play areas are now causing issues, in particular, at play areas that no longer offer today’s expectations of play value.”