Thousands unite to fight off public park ‘takeover’

Campaign launched against community groups developing sections of much-loved park.

Thousands unite to fight off public park ‘takeover’ STV News
Fairmuir Park: A petition has been launched to prevent development.

Takeover plans for sections of a Dundee park are facing strong opposition from local residents.

A petition to prevent areas of Fairmuir Park being transferred to two community groups has so far been signed by 2000 people.

Alexander Community Development wants to transform the rundown former bowling green and clubhouse into a new training facility to teach people new trades.

They also want to construct a new training hub and café, which would be open to the public.

Dundee United Community Trust, meanwhile, has plans to upgrade the park’s pavilion and make use of one of the football pitches.

The trust had also planned to create an all-weather, floodlit, 3G pitch but abandoned that proposal following community concerns about noise and light pollution.

Both organisations would require a community asset transfer to develop the areas of the park they are interested in.

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However, worried local residents fear this could set a precedent and they could lose their beloved park forever.

Friends of Fairmuir have formed and set up a petition objecting to the plans.

Elaine Kerr, from Fairmuir Friends, said, “The park was gifted to the public way back in the 1800s, so we do not understand why somebody can obtain part of the park to build whatever they want to build.

“Our concern is that once someone has a small part of the park, they will be gifted other areas of it and we will end up losing it.

“We do not object to anything that Dundee United or Alexander Decorators are doing, the ethos of what they are trying to do is absolutely fantastic.

“What we’re saying is if we start to lose parts of our park to them, then we will lose it to other people. We don’t believe this is for the benefit of the community.

“It’s for the benefit of a very small few in a training facility and it is for Dundee United who have lots of sites across the city.”

Outwith the bowling green, there are currently no plans to build on the wider park.

Dundee United Community Trust said its plans were in their infancy and they were keen to hear any concerns from the community.

“We have already listened to local people who had concerns about the all-weather pitch and floodlights so we have removed that from our plans and we would want to use the one pitch as it currently is,” said Jamie Kirk of DUCT.

Fairmuir Park football pitchesSTV News
Fairmuir Park football pitches

“The pavilion has been here for a long time and is need of some TLC, so we think we can improve it and add value to the benefit of the community.”

Fairmuir is one of a number of locations in the city that Alexander Community Development is looking at to expand its training provision.

“This is the preferred site due to geography, it’s in a central area, easy for people to access on bus or walking,” said John Alexander, the founder of Alexander Community Development.

“We want to make it clear that we have no interest in building on the wider park, just the bowling green, which has been closed for some time and falling into disrepair.

“A new building would allow us to offer more training to people to give them the skills to help them into work.”