EK residents to have their say on plans for ‘new and improved’ play park

Residents in East Kilbride will be asked their views on proposals to reinstate a play park.

Hazelhead play park in St Leonards was removed last May causing a backlash from the local community due to a lack of wider consultation.

A petition was launched as part of the ‘Space to Play’ campaign, which garnered more than 800 signatures.

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It called on South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) to recognize the importance of play in children’s health and wellbeing.

The local authority say the equipment in the play park was badly damaged due to persistent vandalism and had to be removed for safety reasons – with the approval of the ward’s three councillors.

Now councilors – the SNPs Galdys Miller, independent Jim Wardhaugh and Labour’s Graham Scott – say there are exciting proposals to redevelop it.

The proposals include accessible play equipment with landscaping and new fencing.

Councilor Gladys Miller told Lanarkshire Live: “SLC have conducted an authority-wide survey on its 235 playparks and it will take some time and a considerable budget to bring those parks up to the standard that is proposed for Hazelhead.

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A petition was launched after the removal of Hazelhead play park

“I do hope residents vote to reinstate the playpark as SLC plans for the site look fantastic and I am sure residents will be impressed with the proposed designs.”

Councilor Graham Scott called the next stage in the process a “fabulous opportunity” to start again at Hazelhead.

He added: “The new state of the art equipment will be both inclusive and accessible, and a huge asset for the area. This shows the commitment have to play areas.”

Councilor Wardhaugh also welcomed the upcoming proposals and said he hoped the collaboration and work demonstrated that elected members ‘do care about playparks’.

Plans are also in place to refurbish lock-ups in the area and councilors say if residents vote to reinstate the park, there is a proposal for a mural on the back of the lock-ups in consultation with local primary schools.

MSP Collette Stevenson with Space to Play campaigners

The Council’s Community Wardens have also agreed to increase patrols in the area.

But the Space to Play campaign say while they welcome the latest announcement, it’s not a “done deal”.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “An SLC email confirms that only two pieces of equipment out of the five were actually vandalized.

“But children have been left without a decent local park for nearly a year, at a really difficult time for families.

“The strength of local opinion on play parks, the campaign’s hard work and the support of some MSPs, has helped keep up the pressure to get this change of approach.

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“We welcome this change and look forward to a community dialogue on the park and surrounding area.”

East Kilbride MSP Collette Stevenson, who raised concerns about the removal of the play park, says she has been in “regular contact” with council over the matter and said she was “glad to see these proposals” for the park’s future.

SLC are currently drafting a survey for the local residents in the area, to ascertain whether they agree with the plans to reinstate Hazelhead play park or not.

The survey will be coming through the letterbox of the local residents at Hazelhead, with a post-paid return envelope.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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