Village play park branded 'an embarrassment' set for £100,000 revamp

Councillors agreed to progress an £80,000 programme to restore the park, supplemented with £20,000 from the Scottish Government.

‘Eyesore’ play park in Tarbert, Argyll and Bute set for £100,000 renovation Councillor Redman via Facebook

A village play park described as “an eyesore” and “an embarrassment” by councillors is set for a £100,000 renovation.

Kintyre and the Islands SNP councillor Dougie McFadzean, and his ward colleague, independent councillor Alastair Redman, issued the withering comments about the state of the play park in Tarbert.

The facility is currently in the process of being upgraded, with equipment having been removed due to safety concerns.

Councillors agreed to progress an £80,000 programme to restore the park, and to supplement it with a further £20,000 from the Scottish Government Play Park Funding allocation.

The discussion took place at a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands area committee on Wednesday, September 6.

In a report, executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “Tarbert play park is currently in the process of being upgraded, the equipment was previously removed for safety concerns and whilst there is funding of approximately £80,000 within current resources, it was the opinion of officers that this could be supplemented by the Scottish Government Play Park funding.

“As such officers delayed the works until the play park engagement work was completed and the returns reviewed. In light of the feedback from the public in Tarbert, it is the view of officers’ that works to this park are taken forward, on the basis that there is £80,000 of budget available.

“The new play park will have a resin based surface and it is proposed to include a net swing and wheelchair accessible roundabout, however this is likely to increase costs beyond the £80,000 available by approximately £20,000.”

Councillor McFadzean said: “I have had lots of representation from people in Tarbert, saying that the park is currently an eyesore. They are so angry that they have formed a committee and action group, and it has gone to the local press.

“You mentioned that the playpark was deemed unsafe – when was that, and have there been any injuries recorded?”

Hugh O’Neill, the council’s network and standards manager, responded: “I can get that information and come back to you, but I am not aware of any injuries being recorded, although there were concerns from parents.”

Councillor McFadzean added: “The community feel very disenfranchised, because the equipment was removed such a long time ago. I would love to see some other consultation with the community, and a timeline put in place.

“I was a bit worried when you talked about April for surface materials to go down, because that looks like being into the summer before the park is ready.

“We really need to push on with this and cut out as much bureaucracy as possible.”

Mr O’Neill replied: “I will speak to the operational team, and am happy to speak to the community council personally.”

Councillor Redman then said: “There is a limit as to what I can say without breaching the councillors’ code of conduct, but it is an embarrassment for the council.

“The pictures circulating on social media look terrible. It looks as if the job has been started and never finished. That is the perception.

“With the greatest of respect, we are not painting the Sistine Chapel here. This has gone on a long time and I share constituents’ frustration.

“And I feel that as a councillor I am not delivering for them, when they come to me with justifiable complaints and I am not giving the best response.

“This needs to be a lesson going forward.”

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