Protest held to save Brechin’s playparks

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Parents protesting over the proposed closure of playparks across Angus, including the removal of seven in Brechin, turned up to Brechin’s Drumachlie Park in their droves on Friday, as part of an Angus wide day of protest organised by Angus group ‘Protect our Parks and Save Our Swings’.

Those present were shocked by Angus Council’s proposals to close playparks in Brechin, leaving them concerned that their children could be left with nowhere close to play.

Brechin resident, and member of the City of Brechin and District Community Council, Eric Gray, who helped organise the Brechin protest, explained his anger towards the proposals.

He stated: “I think it is ridiculous. The Government is saying all the time that we need to get kids away from computers and they are taking away the very facilities that will let them do that.

“The number of people who have turned up shows the depth of feeling about the situation.

“Parents need parks that are as close as they can get. One of the things you do with a child as it grows up is you give it a bit of freedom and coming to parks like this is one of those freedoms.

“You don’t have to cross any busy roads and are not close to the river.

“If the cuts go ahead Brechin will be left with two parks, one of which will probably close for up to two years while they do the flood prevention scheme.”

He went on: “Every Angus town except Brechin has had a playpark that has been done up and I think that is why Brechin is taking the brunt of this.

“Brechin has seen under-investment in the past and we have been left with the oldest equipment.”

Lynsey Mclean, whose four year old and eight year old children play in the park regularly, said: “Apart from this park there is nowhere else that they can go. They would not be allowed to go to the Public Park or the Inch Park on their own.

“You see lots of people who come to this park. It is a shame. A lot of people would be very sorry to see this park go.”

All of Brechin’s local councillors attended the protest.

Councillor Bob Myles, who previously stated his disapproval of the proposals, commented: “I’m pleased to see that the community are out supporting this because it is a use it or lose it scenario and they have been well used and I don’t think it is right to close them.

“Hence the reason that when it was given to us as a proposal by officers before that we didn’t go ahead with it.

“I still feel that there is a definite space for these small parks and they don’t take a huge amount of upkeep.

“The problem with the parks in Edzell, especially the Duriehill one, is that they are very well used by kids there.

“It is a park in the right place and should stay in the right place.”

Emphasizing the importance of people responding to the council’s consultation was Councillor Mairi Evans, who stated: “I can’t believe we are in this situation and it is obviously not a situation anybody wants to be in.

“The only reason we are here is that we wanted to try and be as open and honest with people as we could.

“If we hadn’t of done it this way just now, what would have happened was they would have waited until the equipment was too poor to use and the parks would have been closed because they would have been declared too unsafe to use.

“If you haven’t already commented on the consultation or filled out a form yet then you should do it. We got that extended so as many people as possible could take part.”

Councillor Jim Houston added: “It is great to see so many folk here because that means this is a popular and a well used park.

“We now have an idea of how the public feel. We can now go back and speak our case.

“We are not looking for reasons to close the parks we are looking for reasons to keep them open. So if you want to keep a park open you have to tell us.”

A petition, fighting the proposals to close 51 parks across Angus, was signed by those present and can be found in Brechin’s newsagents and the Brechin Advertiser office.

To allow as many people as possible to take part in the online consultation at www.angus.gov.uk/playparks, or by collecting a paper survey from council ACCESS offices or libraries, the deadline has been extended to December 14.

A meeting regarding the closure of playparks in the area will take place at 7 p.m. on December 13 at the Damacre Centre.