Parks and toilets under threat

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LOCAL playparks and public toilets could be under threat of closure in a bid to save cash.

At Angus Council’s neighbourhood services committee on Thursday, it was recommended that 50 out of the county’s 100 play areas should be axed to save the £31,500 needed for annual maintenance costs.

In addition it was also suggested that 15 public toilets should also close for good, saving the local authority £62,000 per year.

However, at the meeting councillors decided to send the plans out to public consultation first before making any firm decisions at the request of neighbourhood services convener, Councillor Donald Morrison.

In Arbroath it is recommended that a total of 13 play parks are removed.

These include sites in the west of the town such as Annfield Drive, Arbirlot Place, Cairnie Crescent, Gallowden Road, McDonald Park, Newbigging Drive, Newton Avenue and Provost Chapel Road.

Parks under threat in the east of the burgh are Abbey Green, Drostan Terrace, Grampian Gardens, Grimsby Place and Ness Drive.

And there are also plans to close toilets at Hamilton Green, Springfield, Old Shore Head and the West Links.

Arbroath SNP councillor Ewan Smith is hoping as many parks as possible can be saved.

He said: “It is important that this goes out to consultation because as many as 50 parks could have been closed.

“There are a lot of children in my ward area but some might not have access to the fantastic facility at the West Links.

“I do believe community groups could come forward to help take on these parks and I have been given assurances by the council that they would be supported.

“And if anybody has any other ideas on this I would gladly listen.

“But before the consultation I will be asking questions about the savings and conditions of these parks and will be visiting all of them.”

In Carnoustie, parks that are under threat are Ballister Park, Ravensby Road, Winter Place and Woodlands Park.

While toilets in Barry Road, Ferrier Street and Norries Road face the axe.

And Carnoustie independent councillor Brian Boyd believes the town has been given the thin edge of the wedge yet again.

He explained: “The proposals are for 75 per cent of Carnoustie’s play parks to go yet we have the smallest number of parks for a burgh of our size.

“It is like a double whammy for us.

“There are inequalities within the different burghs and it is what I have been chipping away at.

“I have already spoken to a lady on the ‘phone who is starting a petition to see the park at Winter Place retained.

“And if other people want to start this for parks in their areas I will be happy to help.

“I also live near one of the toilets that is proposed to close and I have seen countless people still using it.

“It is right on the newly constructed cycle path so people will want to use it.”

In Monifieth, parks on the planned closure list are at Ashludie Park West, Brooke Street and Broomhill Drive.

A toilet closure is also planned on the High Street.

In his report director of neighbourhood services Ron Ashton explained that in these times of economic hardship, not all facilities could remain open.

He said: “In the current financial climate facing the council, the future maintenance and safety costs associated with all of the current play areas in Angus is no longer sustainable given the combination of the equipment’s age, condition, location and play value.

“Future development of play areas should continue to focus on fewer but higher quality play areas which are complemented by other facilities with ease of access to main centres of population.”