Victory as kids’ park at Craigpark Crescent saved

Children celebrate after the park was saved. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Children celebrate after the park was saved. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A CHILDREN’S play park threatened with closure has been given an 11th-hour reprieve following a prolonged campaign from residents.

The Craigpark Crescent play area in Ratho faced the axe from council chiefs following concerns over its poor condition and antisocial behaviour.

But angry residents insisted the park should be revamped and given a new lease of life – and started a 600-signature petition to save it.

Now the council has revealed the play area will be retained and given a £30,000 funding boost to allow improvements to be carried out – including new fencing, seating and landscaping.

Work to “decommission” the site was halted in October last year on the strength of the community reaction, and locals have since banded together under The Friends of Craig Park banner to launch a fundraising drive to secure new play equipment.

Campaigner and father-of-three Jonathan Montgomery said the park’s last-minute reprieve was proof “the council has listened”.

The 42-year-old got involved in the park campaign after seeing fellow parent Christina Shaw out collecting signatures for the petition, and yesterday insisted it was now time to press ahead with the community’s plans for the site.

He said: “It’s good news that the council are doing something, absolutely.

“I think there’s times in your life when you have got to do something. You can’t sit back and do nothing. For me, it was personal because I’ve got kids and that’s what started it, but I see other people who are motivated too.

“There’s a lot of kids in the area. If this little park up here is rejuvenated it can serve two-thirds of the village. It’s about doing it for the community and doing as much as you can.”

Improvement works at the Craig Park play area are set to begin by October, with the new design allowing play items to be added as and when additional funding becomes available.

Councillor Bill Henderson backed the campaigners from the start, and said the funding boost was “a step in the right direction”.

He said: “There’s been a big change in Ratho’s population – there was a lot of young kids coming in. The Craig Park play area is close to existing housing and is close to schools, and there was a desire by the local community to save it.”

Cllr Lesley Hinds, environment leader, thanked the residents. She said: “I look forward to work progressing and the new park becoming a real asset to the area.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com