Cooper Park ‘amphitheatre’ cleared – but could be ripped down in months

Councillors give go ahead to ‘amphitheatre’ mound in Cooper Park

AN ELGIN PARK will soon take on the characteristics of an amphitheatre thanks to creative plans for the use of excess soil from the town’s flood alleviation scheme.

Councillors attending the policy and resources committee on Tuesday agreed to plans for a raised grass platform in Cooper Park – ignoring warnings that it could well be torn down again in the very near future.

The committee were warned that the outcome of recent talks over the redesign of Elgin town centre could lead to the new park layout being ripped out again at a cost of £18,000 – and were warned that if that came to pass the council could face severe criticism from the public.

Elgin Community Council have been behind a campaign to install the raised grass platform in the park close to Grant Lodge, creating a grassy mound “roughly the height of a car” that they insist would also help flooding problems in the park.

However, Council Leader Stewart Cree expressed his concerns over the idea, saying: “My concern is potentially trying to explain to the people of Moray why we may have to spend money removing this in some months’ time.

“I’m not against this being implemented – but £18,000 could possibly be saved in the long run if we were to decide against building it.”

Fears were expressed by councillors that the mound would conflict with ideas for developing Grant Lodge that had emerged during the recent ‘charrette’, a public consultation over ideas for future development in the area.

Backing the plan was Elgin North councillor Patsy Gowans, who said: “The mound could be used in the future to help create an amphitheatre in the park and that is something that has been talked about since I was elected.”

Her SNP colleague from Elgin South, Graham Leadbitter, also backed the plan, insisting that if at some time in the future its removal would be required that would not present any problems. He said: “We own the ground at Cooper Park so if there is an issue with the landform being there in the future then we can quite easily take it away.

“We are not talking about anything mountainous – and we won’t see any final plans from the charrette in the next few months.”