SAVE OUR PARK

1511030 SSHC craigtoun park 'swan rising at Craigtoun Park, St Andrews
1511030 SSHC craigtoun park 'swan rising at Craigtoun Park, St Andrews
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Community leaders fear for the long term future of Craigtoun Park after they were forced to abandon one of their plans to take over the running of the popular family attraction.

The community councils of St Andrews and Cameron had been exploring the possibility of setting up a charitable trust to operate the park in the future.

It had been hoped a trust may have been able to access the sort of funds needed to upgrade and re-open popular attractions such as the miniature train ride and the boating pond.

But with one estimate putting the repair bill at £3.7 million, both groups have now ruled out being able to run the park as a charitable trust.

Fife Council has pledged to continue running the park but admits it does not have the funding needed to restore some of the facilities that require substantial capital funding.

Despite the recent set back, both St Andrews and Cameron community councils have pledged to continue looking for new funding options.

“Basically, it’s a loss making business,” Kyffin Roberts, chair of St Andrews community council, told the Citizen this week.

“A lot of time was spent looking into everything

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involved but to find the sort of money required to bring it up to scratch and then produce a business plan - but we just think it’s too much for a group of volunteers to take on.

“I reported that back to the community council in St Andrews but Craigtoun Park is so dear to peoples’ hearts, we just feel we have to try and do something.

“We will keep working together to try and find a solution.

“We looked at Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy which is of a similar size and seems to be a success. That has the advantage of being near the town centre where people can just drop in and obviously that’s not the case with Craigtoun Park.”

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

Area service manager Kate Hughes told the Citizen there was no money available to repair and upgrade the train and its track.

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

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

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

But several features that have proved extremely popular with children will not be available this year.

The roof of the Dutch village needs replacement tiles and the boats are no longer allowed in the water on health and safety grounds. And one of the parks most popular and unique attractions, a miniature train ride, will no longer operate due to the prohibitive cost of upgrades and repairs.

Four members of staff will be employed at the park this year after one retired recently and another was redployed.

St Andrews and Cameron community councils have now set up a sub committee to look at other ways of running the park.