Business as usual at Craigtoun Park

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FIFE Council has denied it has plans to close Craigtoun Country Park and insists it will be open to the public this summer.

Questions have been asked about the park’s future after it was revealed last year that visitor numbers have been tailing off dramatically, and some of the park’s most popular attractions were in urgent need of repair.

With no funding available to carry out the upgrading work, features such as the boating lake and train ride will no longer operate although admission to the remaining features will now be free.

But the council insists that, despite the current budget cutbacks, it is not going to pull the plug on the park and are hoping for a busy summer at the popular family destination.

Dismissing rumours of closure, area service manager Kate Hughes told the Citizen: “The park will be open this summer.

“Unfortunately the train is past its sell-by date, as is the track.

‘‘It would cost a few hundred thousand pounds to get a new one and we simply don’t have the capital available to do that.

“It has been very well used and much enjoyed down the years but we just don’t have the money to replace it.

“There are a number of health and safety issues with the boats. Tiles have come off the roof and into the Dutch village and it’s simply too dangerous to allow the boats into the water.

“We are saving £50,000 in salaries, and have one long-standing member of staff retiring and another being redeployed.

“On the positive side we still have four members of staff working to ensure the park is maintained to a high standard.

‘‘We are also working with St Andrews and Cameron Community Councils on a way forward. We have held a couple of meetings and set a small group to look at possible alternative ways of managing the park.”

Just two miles outside St Andrews, the 16.5-hectacre park is home to putting greens, crazy golf, childrens play area and a picturesque Dutch village.

Visitor numbers have declined over the past 10 years but the park is still able to stage large scale events such as last year’s charity Teddy Bear picnic event.

Discussions about the future of the park are ongoing between St Andrews and Cameron community councils. One option being considered is the establishment of a trust to run the facility.