Labour call for halt to playpark closure plan

Children, parents and councillors at the Westfield playpark on Friday morning protesting about its possible closeure.
Children, parents and councillors at the Westfield playpark on Friday morning protesting about its possible closeure.

THE ANGUS Labour party is urging Angus Council to halt plans to close the 51 playparks across the area that are facing the axe.

If the proposal were to go ahead, 13 play areas in Arbroath alone could see equipment removed, while a further four in Carnoustie and three in Monifieth are also under threat.

The council have already launched a consultation on the issue and local people have until Friday (December 14) to let their views be known on the proposed closures.

It is said that Angus Council would save over £30,000 a year in maintenance and repairs if equipment was to be removed.

And John Ruddy, chair of the Angus Labour party says having playparks is vital for children’s development.

He explained: “We believe that having easily accessible play areas right across Angus is vital for the future of our children. Every child deserves to have a play area within safe walking distance of their home.

“The savings to be made – roughly a tenth of one per cent of the budget of the neighbourhood services department – are so small that other ways of achieving them could and should be found.

“There are parks proposed for closure that are in good condition and do not require expenditure on replacement equipment – so why close them?

“Many of the suggested alternatives would require young children to cross busy main roads in order to reach them and this is simply unacceptable. Some of the play areas are also needed as part of the general park provision that makes Angus a great place to live, and these closures will greatly reduce the amenity of many local areas across the county.

While Labour councillor for Monifieth and Sidlaw, Margaret Thomson added: “I’ve been contacted by a lot of parents, and this is a very concerning issue. We must all work together to raise awareness of these closures, and ensure that the SNP administration takes note of people’s views.”

Already peaceful protests have taken place across Angus with events being held in Carnoustie and Monifieth last week.

Mr Ruddy added: “This SNP administration took action as soon as they came into office to halt the closure of two Arbroath primary schools due to the strength of public opinion.

“They should do the same now to lift the threats to these play areas. It’s wrong of them to blame the last administration who quite rightly rejected this proposal from council officers. This is now their opportunity to show they care about the future of our children.”