CONCERNED parents from across Angus came out on Friday to protest Angus Council proposals to shut playparks in the region.
A Forfar-based parent group have launched the ‘Protect Our Playparks, Save Our Swings’ campaign in an effort to save the 51 playparks and 171 pieces of play equipment earmarked for removal in Angus Council cost-cutting measures.
Taking advantage of the school inservice day parents brought their children to one of the threatened parks in each Angus town to demonstrate against the closures.
A spokesperson for the campaign said: “Braving sub-zero temperatures, the group showed how determined they are to have their voice heard, with the one united message, to save all Angus playparks.
“The children of Arbroath created a banner which they shared on our Facebook page in the lead up to the day of action, and joined the two dozen strong group at Carnoustie.
“There they were able to meet Santa, taking time out of his busy festive calendar in order to see if he could grant the protesters wishes and save their play areas from the axe.”
At the Carnoustie protest in the Westfield Place playpark protestor George Murphy said: “We use the playparks as a meeting point for new people coming into the town and who bring in their kids to play.
“Childminders use this, kids come here before and after school to use it.
“This is a generational thing. I have five grandkids who play at the Ravensby Road park, their dad played at that park too.”
Joining the protestors were Independent town councillors Bill Bowles and Brian Boyd. Councillor Bowles said: “We are taking play opportunities away from children.
“For what little saving it finds there are far better opportunities to save money elsewhere. It’s criminilising the young ones.”
Councillor Boyd added: “The local councillors will be fighting their corner to save our parks. After all we have the least amount in Angus and even if we managed to retain them all we’ll still have the worst ratio of children to playparks in Angus.
“I have spoken with the convener, Donald Morrison and they are taking the consultation seriously and will be taking them on board.
“I can only urge you all to fill in the consultation forms.”
In Monifieth’s Broomhill Park around 40 children and adults met to make their point. Organiser of the Monifieth protest and mother Susan Brown said: “We’ve tried to gather as many people as we can and the people it matters most to, the children.”
Fellow mums Jill Grossett and Johanna Horsburgh were also keen to get the point across to Angus Council.
Jill said: “I grew up here, I played here as a child. I think it’s the first bit of freedom a child gets, going to a park by themselves for the first time.
“For this whole housing estate it’s really important, kids can walk here without having to cross the road.”
Johanna added: “We call it the Park Cruise, you can do three parks in an hour and you don’t spend any money. You’re just meandering along and meeting your friends.
“The irony is it will probably cost more money to rip out the equipment than to maintain it for the next 20 years.”
The consultation was last week extended by Angus Council until December 14 and can be found at www.angus.gov.uk.
In all 51 playparks are under threat, with 13 in Arbroath, four in Carnoustie and three in Monifieth facing the chop.