Edinburgh play parks 'will take 48 years to renew at current rate' claim Lib Dems
An election promise to renew all Edinburgh's play parks will take 48 years to deliver at the current rate, Lib Dems have claimed.
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The party says there are play parks across the Capital which are run down and in desperate need of replacement, some where equipment has been removed because it was dangerous.
The SNP’s manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections in May included pledge to "renew every play park in Scotland so that all children have access to quality play in their own community, backed by £60 million".
And in answer to written questions tabled for the city council by Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Kevin Lang, the SNP-Labour administration said the Capital would receive an initial allocation of £414,000 in 2021/22 in order to start delivering the manifesto commitment.
But Councillor Lang said further information from council parks officials confirmed the money was only enough to upgrade three city play parks out of 145 council-maintained play parks across the city.
And he said that meant at the current rate of renewal it could take as long as 48 years for the SNP manifesto promise to be delivered in full.
Cllr Lang is now calling on the Scottish Government to increase its funding for Edinburgh’s play parks.
He said: “It’s disgraceful that current rates of funding mean it could take as long as 48 years for the SNP to deliver its flagship election promise to renew every play park.
“Across Edinburgh, we have play parks which are run down and in desperate need of replacing. In some places, whole blocks of play equipment have been removed because they were considered too dangerous for children to play on.
“The SNP promised to make this a priority. Yet the first year of funding for Edinburgh means just three out of 145 play parks will get the promised improvements. It is all the more frustrating because the Council’s parks team has well developed plans and could easily deliver many more upgrades if proper funding was provided.
“The SNP needs to stop short-changing our children and stump up the money it promised during the election campaign”.
Last week the Evening News reported how the Friends of Inverleith Park had launched a campaign to refurbish the children's play park because the tired-looking equipment was either broken or in bad condition.
The Scottish Government dismissed Cllr Lang’s claims. A spokesperson said: “This assertion is completely wrong. There is a planned investment of £60 million for play park renovation over this Parliamentary term, which will ensure that all children across Scotland have access to quality play in their own community. The first £5 million of that funding has already been agreed by the Scottish Government and Cosla.”
A council source said the play parks most in need of upgrading were being prioritised so those which came later in the programme would not cost as much as those included at the start.
It is understood an update of the council’s play park action plan is due to be considered by the culture and communities committee early next year, which will provide a more accurate picture of financial need.