Further information on future of play parks

Climbing frame in children's play park area

Published: Wednesday, 03rd July 2019

Members of the public and community groups are being invited to provide further feedback on our strategy for the future of play-park provision in the area.

Feedback can be provided via the Neighbourhood Services contact form until Monday 19 August.

 

Play parks update

The strategy was discussed at a local level at each of the Scottish Borders’ five Area Partnerships throughout June.

Area Partnership play park reports

Area Partnerships were advised that the Council previously agreed to invest over £5million in new play parks, skate parks, pump tracks, all age outdoor spaces and fitness/youth shelters last year.

The meetings were also informed that we currently manage 243 play parks, of variable size and quality. According to benchmarking data, this figure is almost three times the national average for every 1,000 schoolchildren.

The proposals to remove play equipment from 74 play parks which are in the poorest condition would still see the majority of facilities retained.

The Scottish Borders would still remain well above the national average for play park provision when compared to similar sized Scottish councils.

The proposals would only see play equipment removed once the investment is made into the local area, and if a community only has one play park, it would remain.

We are open to communities to taking over maintenance of any play areas which are being proposed for closure and would encourage these groups to contact the local authority by 19 August if interested.

£5million investment programme full details

The £5m play parks and outdoor community spaces programme was agreed in May 2018 by the Council.

Alongside the proposed investments, the report detailed the plans to decommission and remove play parks deemed low value, obsolete or largely surplus to community requirements to ensure we are using its resources in the best way to maximise benefits to young people and families.

The programme aims to ensure young people of all abilities and ages have access to modern, quality play equipment in order to get active in a fun environment, as well as encourage visitors to come to the Scottish Borders through creating new facilities.

It has already proved successful, with new facilities at Galashiels, Oxton, Stow and Harestanes Visitor Centre near Ancrum all being opened within the last 12 months. In particular, Harestanes has proved hugely popular, with the visitor centre reporting one of its busiest ever days immediately after the play park opened.

The Wilton Lodge Play Park in Hawick also remains popular, with a further £200,000 set aside to create a new pump track for cyclists in the park next year, following the recent £3.64m regeneration scheme project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and ourselves.

The full list of new investments are:

Facility

Opening

 

Cost

Play parks

Rowan Boland Play Park, Galashiels

May 2018

£290,000

Stow

June 2018

£30,000

Oxton

July 2018

£60,000

Harestanes Visitor Centre

April 2018

£315,000

Coldstream

July 2019

£250,000

Kelso

September 2019

£248,000

Peebles

2019/2020

£225,000

Earlston

2020/2021

£225,000

Duns

2020/2021

£135,000

Eyemouth

2020/2021

£180,000

Jedburgh

2021/2022

£135,000

Pump tracks/skate parks

Peebles skate park

2019/2020

£270,000

Wilton Lodge pump track, Hawick

2020/2021

£200,000

Jedburgh skate park

2021/2022

£270,000

Galashiels skate park

2022/2023

£270,000

Fitness/youth shelters

Harestanes Visitor Centre

2018/2019

£27,000

Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick

2019/2020

£27,000

Galashiels

2020/2021

£27,000

Peebles

2021/2022

£27,000

Duns

201/2022

£27,000

Kelso

2022/2023

£27,000

The investment in new facilities across the Scottish Borders can only be made by removing the poor quality equipment from the identified play parks.

Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader

“There has been a lot of discussions and comments in local communities since we announced our play park strategy.

“Our new Fit for 2024 programme aims to make sure the Scottish Borders meets future challenges, takes advantages of new opportunities and delivers the best possible outcomes for our communities.

“This investment ticks each of these boxes by providing modern, inclusive and fantastic play parks and outdoor spaces for our communities which will help a generation of children to get outside and active. By reducing our overall number of play parks, but still retaining significantly more than the national average, we can make sure our remaining facilities are maintained to the highest standard.”

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, our Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Locality Services

“Thank you to all the individuals and community groups who attended the Area Partnerships to have their say on this important matter.

“We would encourage anyone who could not attend or have not provided their views yet to do so by 19 August so they can be fully considered.

“That would include any groups who maybe keen to take on a play park site.

“We believe we are investing in improving the right facilities in the right places but welcome further feedback on the proposals before a final decision is taken.”

Images

Images of some of the new playparks in place are available to download on our Flickr page.