South Scotland

Rethink on Scottish Borders play parks removal plan

Borders playpark Image copyright Scottish Borders Council

A programme of play park closures across the Borders could be revised after concerns were raised by hundreds of residents.

Scottish Borders Council unveiled plans earlier this year to invest £5m in its larger and better-used parks.

However, it would also see the removal of equipment from 74 sites across the area.

A petition calling for a rethink has attracted more than 1,000 signatures from residents in Hawick and Kelso.

And now the local authority's audit and scrutiny committee has sent the issue back to the next full council meeting for further consideration.

'Food for thought'

Scottish Borders Council said the number of parks it managed was three times the national average for every 1,000 schoolchildren and that the majority of parks would still be retained even after the equipment was removed.

Kirsty Wichary, who is leading the petition in Kelso, said: "I'm very happy that it's going to have to go back to the council to be reconsidered.

"I'm assuming, hopefully, that our petitions in both Kelso and Hawick have given them a lot of food for thought and that we won't see the closure of all the parks that were mentioned.

"It's very clear that there are cost implications, but I'm quite confident that there will be some sort of compromise made."

Hawick and Hermitage independent councillor Watson McAteer said: "I am hoping that elected councillors will put aside their political differences and respect the wishes of the Hawick and Borders public to make sure our children and young people have safe and secure play areas near their homes."

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