Protest against Glenrothes play park being removed
Fife Council has been told it is upgrading the wrong play park in the Newcastle area of Glenrothes.
In 2018 the Glenrothes Area Committee agreed to improve the play area in Barnton Place at a cost of £50,000 while the play area in Muirfield Drive would be removed.
Last month Hawthorn Heights Ltd started work on upgrading the Barnton Place facility – one of five they are developing for the council.
Then on Friday fencing was put up around part of the Muirfield Drive play area in preparation for its removal, prompting members of the local community to hold a protest.
Stevie MacEwan said: “Every day in the summer around 40/50 kids use the Muirfield Drive play area so it is well used and while it could perhaps do with a bit of a clean the equipment itself is in decent shape so there seems no reason to remove it.
“Muirfield is the better site for a play area being next to the school and overlooked by lots of houses so people feel safe with their children being over there.
“Barnton Place is a good walk away and is right on the main road so parents aren’t going to be happy to send their kids up there and unlike at Muirfield there is no room for expansion in the future, we’ll be stuck with it as it is.
“It seems like the council just tossed a coin to decide which park to improve and which to remove without considering the full picture and the fact so many people braved the storm to protest on Sunday shows the strength of feeling.”
Debbie Spratley added: “The council are ripping down our play park and have dismissed all our concerns.
“They are building a new one in Barnton Place which the majority of our kids will not use as they need to cross a road.
“Inspectors came out and said the park is fine and just needs a lick of paint, however now they have cordoned it all off with plans to rip it out.
“Hundreds of kids will be left with nowhere to play and are so upset.”
The Muirfield Drive site is set to be transformed into a ‘Greenspace for play’ once the Play Spaces Strategy proposal is approved by the council.
This will see the equipment replaced with more natural play features such as slopes for sliding and logs for climbing on.
Greenspace officer Kevin O’Kane said: “Muirfield Drive play equipment is fenced off to allow for the safe removal of a timber multi-unit as it has come to the end of its lifespan. The rest of the equipment will remain whilst it’s still usable.
“Following a consultation last year, there are proposals to change this area to a natural play space, and proposals will be submitted to the Housing & Communities Committee before the summer of 2020 for approval.
“Barnton Place play park has been upgraded, but it’s still fenced off giving the turf time to knit together.”
The strategy and maps showing proposals for each town and village can be downloaded from Fife Council’s play parks webpage at https://www.fife.gov.uk/playparks.