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Council clash over car park costs

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By Euan Maxwell
Annan and Eskdale
Council clash over car park costs
REPAIR CALLS . . . the car park by the John Bell Playing Fields

COUNCILLORS sitting on a committee being footed with a £15,000 bill to repair a school car park in Annan are calling on education officers to help meet costs.

A report presented to this week’s Annan Common Good Fund Sub Committee stated the car park beside the John Bell Playing Fields, a common good asset owned by the council, is “showing signs of wear and tear”.

It noted that “large potholes” have formed in the parking area, painted parking spaces are fading and the red tarmac used to indicate safe walking areas is “becoming difficult to distinguish”.

The facility is used by parents dropping off and picking up children from Annan Academy and Hecklgirth Primary School during term times and is locked daily shortly after 4 pm.

Members of Hecklegirth Parent Council have called on the council to carry out repairs to the car park – which have been costed at £15,027 by the local authority.

The report confirmed the site is not part of the Dumfries and Galloway Car Park Order or on the Education Assets Register – with the responsibility for repairs consequently falling to Annan Common Good.

However, committee member Councillor Sean Marshall argued funds should be allocated from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education Department to help foot the bill.

He said: “It’s mainly used by not only Hecklegirth Primary predominantly but also by Annan Academy, so we do feel as though we would like to explore whether or not there’s any assistance that can be provided by the education department.

“We also think that we need to see the original agreement with John Bell Playing Fields as an Annan Common Good Asset and what responsibility – if any – the education department have.

“We’re disputing whether or not we’re fully responsible for the repairs based on the current usage of the car park, but also as well we felt that because of the cost we’ll want to competitively tender that if we were in a position to go out and do that.”

Councillor Marshall said members believe there is a “joint commitment” to meet the costs, adding that the committee has decided to arrange an onsite meeting at the car park with relevant parties including representatives from Annan Academy, Hecklegirth Primary and council’s the education department before coming to a final decision.

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