Concerns raised over cuts in parks budget across Fife

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Concerns have been raised by Fife councillors over the cuts to the parks budget.

Cllr Tim Brett, Liberal Democrat leader, said that the service budget had been cut by nearly 30 per cent over the last five years.

Cllr Brett added: “All residents of Fife will notice that the service is not coping as well as it used to.  We have a very high regard for the service but they have been asked to absorb massive cuts.

“The administration need to let communities know that what is happening now is the result of the funding cuts that they have been forced to make by  Scottish Government  and ring-fencing of protected areas.

“I have already received concerns from a number of communities in my own ward about the lack of service that the parks service were previously able to provide.”

Lib Dem Cllr Jonny Tepp added: “We cannot expect the service to continue to provide the gold standard service we have been used to with these level of cuts.

“Areas of land where the ownership is ‘complicated’ will be abandoned to nature in future.  Many Fifers will experience this as a reduction in service. If local groups cannot plug the gap our communities will look increasingly unkempt in future.”

This comes as Fife Council announced a review on parks and green spaces across Fife.

Fife Council currently manages 446 sites with play equipment. However, 82 per cent of these will reach the end of their life in the next ten years and 151 of them are of limited value with three or fewer pieces of play equipment each. 

The consultation will run until December and is aimed at addressing the long term challenges the council faces over budget restraints.

Greenspace officer Kevin O’Kane said: “Much of Fife’s play equipment will be at the end of its life in the next ten years and many of the play parks are currently designed to only have equipment that’s suitable for toddlers.

“It’s important that we have good green spaces for children to play in. We want to reshape play parks to make sure that we can offer high quality and varied outdoor play opportunities for children of all ages. And we need to ensure that we have suitable resources and budget to sustain this longer term.”

He added: “Instead of replacing manufactured equipment when it gets to the end of its life, we could look to redesign the area with features such as timber logs, balancing beams, landform, picnic tables and boulders instead.

“We’re looking forward to working with local communities to finalise the plans for their areas and encourage as many people as possible to share their ideas and opinions.”