Playpark beset by delays

The climbing wall at Gauldry playpark was not due to be finished in time for the officical opening  on Monday as the mats underneath it were to be removed and new wet pur put down. According to parents the dug-up area, however, was not properly secured and the fence was at a height where a child could have easily crawled underneath.
The climbing wall at Gauldry playpark was not due to be finished in time for the officical opening on Monday as the mats underneath it were to be removed and new wet pur put down. According to parents the dug-up area, however, was not properly secured and the fence was at a height where a child could have easily crawled underneath.

CHILDREN in north Fife have been left disappointed after yet another set-back affecting the opening of their new playpark.

After months of delays the new playpark in Gauldry was supposed to open on Monday but an official ceremony had to be put off when is was discovered that the park still wasn’t complete.

Local mum Lesley-Anne Harrison said children and a group of mums who had raised £7000 towards the cost of new play facilties, were deeply disappointed.

She said: “A group of about ten local mums, led by myself and Silke Morris, started fundraising in Spring 2011 to try to raise enough money to have new equipment put into the playpark in Gauldry. Within eight months the group had raised almost £7000 through events including a family ceilidh, easter egg hunt, sponsored walk and a Christmas craft fair. We also had great support from Balmerino Primary School and nursery, who arranged sponsored events to raise money for our cause.

“Plans were drawn up by Fife Council’s parks development officer, and the overall estimated cost was around £40,000.

“By Spring 2012, the £40,000 target had been reached, thanks to the fundraising and funding from the Fife Environmental Trust and Fife Council and the contract was put out to tender and the contract was awarded to Hunts Contractors from Lincolnshire.”

Mrs Harrison continued: “When we met with the contractors at the beginning of May, they told us that they would be starting the work on the park on Wednesday, June 20, and it would take three weeks to complete.

“Here we are eleven weeks on and the park is still not finished. Obviously the bad weather has been a factor with the delays, but there have been many dry weeks when there has been nothing going on on-site.

“We met the contractors again on August 16, and they assured us that there was only a couple of days’ work needed to finish the park. Therefore, we agreed that if we arranged the ‘Grand Opening’ for Monday, September 3, that would give them plenty time. However, when we arrived at the park to set up for the opening on Monday, we were very upset and disappointed to find the site un-finished and un-safe. The contractors had removed the security fencing on Friday night without having the site signed back over to Fife Council.

She added: “We are all very disappointed about the situation. The park has been out of action for the whole of the summer holidays. The local children have been looking forward to having a nice new park to play in, and we keep having to tell them ‘maybe next week’. Although it is the contractors who have not completed the work, we feel that Fife Council should have been doing more to make sure that the contractors were on-site when they were meant to have been.

“After all the hard work that has gone into raising the money to pay for the new equipment, we feel very despondent about the whole situation.”

Service Manager Peter Howden commented: “Our staff have been supporting a local community group to take this project forward which will be a great facility when it’s completed. However unfortunately there have been problems with the contractor which have resulted in delays beyond our control. There were changes required to the specification of the work but this should have had no impact on the work. A meeting is taking place with the contractor as a matter of urgency to resolve these matters and we hope to see the park open for the enjoyment of local children as soon as possible.”

Fife Council’s service manager Peter Howden said: “Our staff have been supporting a local community group to take this project forward which will be a great facility when it’s completed.

“However unfortunately there have been problems with the contractor which have resulted in delays beyond our control. There were changes required to the specification of the work but this should have had no impact on the work.

“A meeting is taking place with the contractor as a matter of urgency to resolve these matters and we hope to see the park open for the enjoyment of local children as soon as possible.”