St Andrews children’s play area a haven for vermin?

The area is long overdue a tidy up.
The area is long overdue a tidy up.

FIFE Council is investigating complaints from residents on a St Andrews housing estate about the overgrown condition of a play area, amid fears that it is a haven for vermin.

The row centres on a parcel of land close to Younger Gardens on the edges of the town, which is used by local youngsters for football and other activities. The area is owned by housing developers Barratt Homes, the parent company of David Wilson Homes, who built the houses on the estate.

However, such is the state of the play park through lack of maintenance that the youngsters have been unable to use it for weeks and they have now raised their concern with Fife Provost Frances Melville and presented a petition to her.

Local teenagers Liam Small and Nathan Foster told the Citizen:”We used to play football there and, more recently, members of the East Fife detached youth work team organised street football to be played there.

“This has been really good for the local community and there have been up to 50 people there each month.

”However, Barratt’s have now stopped cutting the grass, which means we are unable to play any football sessions at all.”

The youngsters have been assisted in their efforts to have the matter resolved by local authority detached youth worker Elise Methven, who said she had great sympathy with the plight of the young people.

Ms Methven co-ordinates the detached youth work team for the area and regularly works in partnership with community constables organising the monthly street sports sessions.

She said: ”We are unable to plan any community events for the area due to its overgrown state. This is unacceptable as it is the main play area for the youngsters.

‘‘I understand some weeds have been cut back this week but the Younger Gardens area has still not been touched.”

Fife Council officials have been in dialogue for some weeks with Barratt representatives in a bid to resolve the issue.

Councillor Melville said they had finally managed to get Barratts to agree to cut the grass.

She added,”The petition speaks volumes about how strongly the youngsters and their parents feel about the lack of maintenance at this grass area, which is an eyesore.

“The council has the maps which show that Barratt Homes are the owners of the land and our officials have been trying to resolve this situation. It must be frustrating for the residents and the Young People’s Services team.

“It really is annoying that despite all the work by council officers and the petition from parents and children, that Barratt’s, who own this land, cannot cut the grass even if they still have to decide what to do with the area.”

The Citizen made several requests to Barratt Homes at their offices in Glasgow for a response. However, no-one from the company returned our calls.