Anger over dangerous and neglected Bo'ness playpark

A play park in a private housing estate is so neglected it has become dangerous, residents say – with rotting decking and some equipment almost completely hidden by bushes.

By Kirsty Paterson, LDR
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 5:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 5:49 pm
Councillor Lynn Munro at the Bo'ness park.
Councillor Lynn Munro at the Bo'ness park.

But when one local mum tried to get someone to take action, she drew a blank trying to find out who should be looking after it.

Janet Graham, who lives in the Drum in Bo’ness, asked her factor, Greenbelt Group, to do something about the state of the play park – but she was told that it is not their responsibility.

Ms Graham said: “The play park actually had a sign up saying if there were any problems to contact Greenbelt – but after I complained they came and took the sign away.”

Damage at the Bo'ness play park.

While residents can pay more than £20 a month to the company for maintaining the area, Greenbelt says the play park has never been its responsibility.

The Drum estate has been built over the years by various different developers, who are often required to contribute play equipment and green space.

However, they then hand the maintenance over to a factor.

Recently, a new trim trail was installed in the park – but none of the old play equipment was taken away, leaving it dangerous for young children, says Mrs Graham.

In addition to the rope bridge that is almost invisible underneath the bushes, there is also a metal roundabout with no handles and a piece of decking that is literally rotting away, beside a group of large boulders.

At one time, the play park also had a tyre swing, which was taken away, leaving just a lump of wood.

Mrs Graham said: “At one time it was a nice wee play park but no-one has taken responsibility for it – apart from cutting the grass – for about 20 years.

“Every house pays a factor’s fee, so how they can say it’s not their responsibility I really don’t know.”

Mrs Graham also believes that Falkirk Council should have some powers to enforce health and safety issues like this.

“Children use that park – and it’s dangerous,” she says.

She spoke to her local councillor Lynn Munro who believes this is a much wider issue that needs addressed.

Cllr Munro said: “This cannot be allowed to continue, but it seems that the council have no powers to compel the Factor to make the play park safe.

“There are going to be new parks in the future, and we don’t want to see this sort of neglect being repeated elsewhere.

“However, it seems that at present there is no means by which the council can assist in ensuring this play space is made safe for its young residents.

“On this basis, why are councils still including these types of spaces within new housing developments?”

A spokesperson for Greenbelt Group said: “Local homeowners don’t contribute to the upkeep of the play area, as it’s actually part of the neighbouring development.

“However it had been subject to supervision, maintenance and management prior to the new development being built.

“This area was inaccessible for some years, having been closed off due to the construction works.

“It remained closed until new equipment was installed, a path was extended and houses built around it.

“As far as we were aware, the area should not have been accessible until the handover process to Greenbelt was completed and the new apparatus made subject to a post-installation inspection, along with existing areas to be either removed or refurbished.

“This handover has not yet happened, however we will continue to engage with the developer Stewart Milne on how best to proceed.”

Falkirk Council and Stewart Milne have been contacted for comment.