Councillors urged to approve £1.6m park upgrade plan

Jaiha McQueenie in Roseburn, which will see its upgrade brought forward
Jaiha McQueenie in Roseburn, which will see its upgrade brought forward
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DOZENS of children’s playgrounds across the Capital are set to be improved after councillors were urged to give a £1.6 million upgrade package the green light.

Under the plans some parks will be branded “destination” playgrounds, with work taking place on around 30 public facilities over the next five years.

Council leaders say that by the end of the project, 80 per cent of city residents will live within 800 metres of a good-quality children’s play park.

Leith Links will undergo a major overhaul, with better equipment, tennis courts and more allotments part of an ongoing £400,000 project due to be completed by late 2013.

The move has also seen several play parks earmarked for closure after inspectors found them to be in poor condition.

The cost of the upgrades will range from £40,000 to the £180,000 being spent on Saughton Park.

During a public consultation, residents urged environment chiefs to ensure dog dirt and broken glass were removed more often, which the council said would be made a priority.

Mark Turley, director of the council’s services for communities department, said that play parks and investment in them was important to communities.

He wrote in his report: “Attractive, well-maintained play areas enhance the spaces they occupy and may provide the stimulus for children, young people and carers to enjoy public spaces around them.

“Poorly maintained equipment can have a detrimental effect on the appearance of neighbourhoods.”

As part of the action plan, every Capital resident will live within 1200 metres of a “very good” play park and 2000 metres of an “excellent” one.

A new park at Dean Village will be completed next year, with an old school play yard being equipped with traditional equipment and games.

The new Gracemount and Leith Fort housing developments will also see play parks built, while the Roseburn Park play area redevelopment is to be brought forward from 2014. A new play area at nearby St Margaret’s Park will be completed this year.

The parks to be shut down include Forth Terrace, Brown Street, Baillie Place, Craigpark Crescent and Dolphins Gardens West.

Officials have recommended that members of the council policy and strategy committee approve the plans when they meet next week.

Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport and environment leader, said: “It is crucially important that every child in the city has access to good outdoor play areas which help development and keep them fit and healthy.

“We believe that play is a fundamental and is a way for young people to acquire skills, make friends and gain an understanding of the world.”

Funny money

• Saughton Park – £180,000

• Fairmilehead Park – £97,697

• West Pilton Park – £90,000

• Glenvarloch Crescent – £80,000

• Morningside Park – £70,000

• Northfield Community Centre – £70,000

• Roseburn Park – £70,000

• St Margaret’s Park – £70,000

• Dean Village Play – £60,000

• Marytree House – £60,000

• Muirhouse View – £60,000

• Niddrie House Square – £60,000

• Spylaw Park – £60,000

• Piershill Squares – £57,000

• Craigievar Square – £50,000

• Fauldburn Park – £50,000

• Loganlea Avenue – £50,000

• Ratho Station Park – £50,000

• Victoria Park – £50,000

• West Pilton Senior Park – £50,000

• Union Park – £50,000

• Admiralty Street – £45,000

• Saughton Mains Terrace – £40,000

• Straiton Place – £40,000

• Moredun Maze – £28,000

• Davidson’s Mains Park – £5000

• Dean Park Place – £5000

• Pilrig Park – £3000

• King George V Park – £2500