Anger over 'lack of clarity' as children's play park closes to public

The play area in Queen's Park in Glasgow was closed last month over 'safety concerns'.

Residents voice anger over decision to close Queen’s Park play area before school summer holidays iStockWebsite

A lack of clarity over the decision to shut a popular children’s play area in Queen’s Park has sparked anger from community representatives.

The Balvicar Street play park was shut last month, with Glasgow City Council claiming the decision had been made due to “safety concerns”.

Frustrated parents have been protesting against the closure and over 1,200 people have signed a petition calling for the equipment to be upgraded.

Bailie Norman MacLeod, who represents the Pollokshields ward, which borders Queen’s Park, has now criticised council officials for not providing information over the required repairs.

Speaking at a Pollokshields area partnership meeting, the SNP councillor said: “Nobody has answered the question why did you shut that play area? What exactly was wrong with it? What needs to be repaired and when are you going to get it repaired and reopened? I’ve asked that question twice by email. 

“No one in the department is answering my question, frankly that is insulting to me. I am an elected representative, there are lots and lots of my constituents who live on the west side of Pollokshaws Road who use the park as their garden and I want an answer. Why was it shut? What is bust or dangerous?

“I’m not against overall investment and getting money from the Scottish Government and so forth but I want that reopened this summer. I am really angry that it has not reopened yet.”

The partnership considered how to spend Pollokshields’ share of a £1.5m parks and open spaces budget, with £49,800 allocated to the area. One of the options is to contribute £20,000 towards a wider package of funding for a “full refurbishment” of the Balvicar Street play area. 

Langside and Southside Central wards have also been asked to consider providing £20,000 from their budgets. The combined £60,000 could be added to by the Scottish Government and contributions from developers. 

Members decided to continue the decision to allow officials to carry out more consultation with the community as some proposals had not been included in the recommendations. They will write to the four community councils in the ward to ask for ideas.

The other two options put forward for Pollokshields were to use £18,000 on new play equipment in the Bellahouston Park play area next to Glasgow Club Bellahouston and £11,800 for three items of outdoor gym equipment at Maxwell Square play area.

Councillor Jon Molyneux, Greens, said continuing the decision on how to use the funding should not impact on the reopening of the Balvicar Street play area.

“The reopening of that play park should happen as timeously as can be achieved,” he said. The future investment plan for that play park is absolutely something that we can look at at a later point. The two things aren’t directly correlated.”

Councillor Zen Ghani, SNP, agreed, saying: “I think it’s essential that it be reopened as soon as it’s feasible to do so, especially with the school holidays starting later this week.”

When the decision to shut the play park was made, a council spokesman said the play area had “closed temporarily due to safety concerns following a recent inspection”.

He added: “We will be undertaking necessary repairs to ensure the play area can reopen as soon as possible. The play area is very well used and has been earmarked for future investment, which will allow a significant refurbishment to go ahead.”

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