Playpark clearance by council sparks a community protest

Protest was held over removal of play area
Protest was held over removal of play area

A Lossiemouth community has staged a mini-protest over the removal of their playpark which has been deemed as being unsafe by Moray Council.

Children living around the Red Park at the back of Cromarty Place in the town staged a protest just days after council workmen arrived to remove play equipment from the park.

Lossiemouth Community Council had been informed of the decision to withdraw equipment from the park in a letter delivered to them by local councillor John Cowe in February, with members expressing their concerns over the decision and pledging to hold further discussions with residents.

Deputy Chair of the community council, Carolle Ralph, joined other members at the Park on Monday to discuss the situation with parents and children. She said: “The playpark equipment has been removed by the council apparently as it is no longer deemed safe there are no plans to replace it.

“That is all well and good but the park should be reinstated as soon as possible – although it does seem likely that budget will be an issue.

“We have spoken to some of the parents and youngsters and while it might have been in a poor state it was a much-loved park in a safe area where the wee ones could play without crossing busy roads.

“They now have nowhere else to go to play in a scheme where there are several hundred houses, this was one of the few amenities in this area and Kids need playparks – a simple fact.

“We have assured parents campaigning that they have the 100% support of the community behind them.”

Last night Councillor Cowe told insideMoray that he was aware of the situation at Red Park and had visited the area with parks officials. He said: “The play facilities in the park were in a dangerous condition and there was a clear health and safety issue for anyone, in particular young children, who were using the park.

“The area itself was a quagmire and the play area in places was under water. The play equipment was rusty and there were certainly health and safety concerns to the children from the stagnant water and the muddy ground.

“It was felt that the equipment would need to be removed but it was also noted that there were drainage issues so some thought had to be given to that.  This was notified to the Community Council and I was notified recently that the equipment was to be removed and matters taken to address the constant localised flooding.

“I am sure all would agree that the health and safety of the children is paramount to all else.  I will be having discussion with Lands and Parks to see what now can be done.”