Lord Provost anger at rundown play park

Laura Baird with Lord Provost Donald Wilson, her daughter Lucy and neighbour Vania Cater and her son Mathew. Picture: Greg Macvean

Laura Baird with Lord Provost Donald Wilson, her daughter Lucy and neighbour Vania Cater and her son Mathew. Picture: Greg Macvean

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THE Capital’s Lord Provost is petitioning the city council over rusty play equipment and the problem of dog fouling in a city park.

Donald Wilson, who is councillor for Sighthill/Gorgie as well as being Edinburgh’s civic head, has joined up with Lothian Labour MSP Sarah Boyack to back residents who are demanding improvements at Westfield Court play park in Gorgie.

And he plans to appear with the group when they take their case to the council’s petitions committee.

Councillor Wilson said the play park could be an asset for the area but had been allowed to deteriorate.

He said: “It’s tucked away off the main road, kind of out of sight, and because of that it has been quite neglected.

“Play equipment has been removed and not replaced, there’s a lot of dog fouling in the park and graffiti on the walls of the bowling club alongside. And because it’s run down it attracts a bit of 
antisocial behaviour.

“It’s all stuff that can be fixed. It doesn’t need major works, just a bit of TLC.”

He said if it was made more attractive as a play area it would be a real bonus for the area.

“It’s very much needed because there is a lack of play areas anywhere round about,” he said.

Mother-of-three Laura Baird, who lives in Westfield Road, said she did not allow her five-year-old daughter Lucy to play in the park because of its condition.

She said: “The park has been neglected. It’s run down, there is dog dirt everywhere and the play equipment is just unacceptable.

“There’s a slide which I think was put in in 1985 and there are swings and a crocodile thing to bounce back and forward on, but it’s that rusty it won’t move. It’s just a joke.”

Ms Baird, 39, who has lived in the area for 14 years, said the play park used to be a popular spot, but was no longer well used because of its condition.

“Maybe passers-by will let their children play for a minute, but they soon move on,” she said. “It’s really sad, it could be a beautiful park.”

Several local shops have copies of the petition, which calls for improved facilities and increased inspections to deal with dog fouling. A minimum of 500 signatures are needed for it to be considered by the council’s petitions committee.

Ms Boyack said several constituents had contacted her about the park over the last few months.

She said: “There’s a real problem with dog dirt. The children’s play equipment is also in a poor state of repair and the grass needs to be properly maintained. It’s hardly surprising we’re at the stage where many parents who won’t allow their kids to play there.”

A council spokeswoman said: “All play parks maintained by the council are subject to regular, rigorous safety inspections and immediate action is taken if there are safety concerns about any equipment. The Westfield Court play park has been fully checked to ensure its safety and weeds will be removed from the area in the next few days as part of our usual maintenance activity.”