Playground 'like Chernobyl' as councillor calls for investment

City officials are set to carry out an assessment to determine whether it should be prioritised for a refurbishment.

Edinburgh playground ‘like Chernobyl’ as councillor calls for investment LDRS

An Edinburgh playpark in a “sorry state” has been compared to scenes from Chernobyl by a local councillor calling for urgent investment.

Christopher Cowdy likened the play area at Stateford’s Moat Drive to eerie footage of “rusted, overgrown” playparks filmed following the 1986 nuclear disaster, saying the offering for children was a “real shame”.

Now city officials are set to carry out an assessment to determine whether it should be prioritised for a refurbishment.

The Scottish Government provides local authorities with funding to support the upkeep of playparks, with £419,000 allocated to Edinburgh in 2023/24, £1.216m for the next year and £2.027m planned for 2025/26.

Councillor Christopher Cowdy at the play area in Stateford’s Moat Drive.LDRS

Cllr Cowdy addressed the culture and communities committee on Thursday, February 29, as members discussed sites set to benefit from investment in the current programme.

“On the whole, the residents in this area feel they have been slightly forgotten about, or at least they’ve stopped being anyone’s focus,” the Conservative Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart councillor said.

“I’ve been down there numerous times and the sight of the playpark is always a real concern.”

He added: “I don’t know if any of you have seen any of the documentaries or the streaming programmes about Chernobyl, but there is some iconic footage of abandoned playparks – rusted, overgrown – and they give a really eerie feeling because they represent how the town was vibrant with children families but is now left abandoned and desolate – and that is exactly what springs to my mind when I go down to Moat Drive, and it’s a real shame for local children.”

Among the issues deterring youngsters, he said, were rusting frameworks, paintwork “completely faded or peeling away” and “moss everywhere”.

Describing the play area as being “on its knees,” he told fellow councillors: “This is not a suitable place for children to play in.

“The only reason a child would go there is because their parents have taken them down there and said ‘you will go in there and you will play on this’. It really is not a very attractive looking place.”

Acknowledging recent improvements including the replacement of “rotten and broken wooden footboards,” he said it appeared these were carried out “on safety grounds,” adding: “The park as a whole remains in a really sorry state.”

The committee passed an amendment noting the “particularly poor condition of the Moat Drive Playpark” which agreed it would be assessed as part of considerations for the 2025/26 investment programme.

Meanwhile, the playparks set to get an upgrade over the next year are: Burdiehouse Valley Park, Princes Street Gardens, Allison Park, George V Park (Farquhar Terrace), Clermiston Park, Granton Gas Holder (new park), Inverleith Park, King George V Park (Eyre Place), Tolbooth Wynd, Keddie Gardens, Taylor Gardens, and Dumbiedykes.

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