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Gretna’s ‘pathetic’ play park equipment

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By Ben Murray
Annan and Eskdale
Gretna’s ‘pathetic’ play park equipment
RETURN . . . Alex and Gillian Thomson, former members of the GRCC, are shocked at the state of the park they helped to redevelop

A FORMER member and chairman of the Gretna and Rigg Community Council (GRCC) says he was shocked at the state of the play park after returning to the town.

Alex Thomson was the former chairman of the GRCC and helped to redevelop the play park during his tenure.

Whilst there were announcements from the Dumfries and Galloway Council made during June that confirmed the planned replacement of equipment, the equipment in the play park remains in disarray.

INCONVENIENT . . . children only have access to a single metal toddler swing, and use the empty swings as handlebars

Mr Thomson said: “I returned to Gretna last week to visit some family members. That was when I saw the state of the play park.

“Of the three pairs of swingsets in the park, only one single swing remained.

“There was a queue of children waiting to use the swing, at least four children.

“Gretna is a hub of tourism, with many couples visiting to get married here, and many tourists bringing their children to the park to pass the time.

“The school holidays are nearly over and there is still only one swing in the playpark. With over 300 primary school children in Gretna, alongside toddlers and academy students, our facilities are pathetic.

“We complain about children roaming the streets but don’t provide an alternative. All we are asking for is the current equipment to be replaced and repaired. Not too much to ask.

“I think that it is disgusting that the park has been left in such a sorry state when there are other parks across the region that are being given aid.

“It is the duty of Dumfries and Galloway Council to look after the area, but the neglect has gotten so bad that normal people are beginning to volunteer to work instead, and they shouldn’t have to.

“I’m not affiliated with the GRCC anymore, and what they are doing is fantastic, I just feel like Gretna should have a bit of the cake.”

DANGEROUS WAIT . . . while Dumfries and Galloway Council repaired the zipline earlier this year, children have to queue up to use the last remaining swing

Dumfries and Galloway Council announced at the beginning of the month that they would be investing £1,250m to the Scottish Government’s Play Park Renewal Fund across the region during the next three years to create an additional ten inclusive play parks.

Previously redeveloped parks include Annan, Dumfries, Stranraer, Lockerbie and Newton Stewart.

While five locations have already been selected by the council, the remaining five will be agreed through engagement with members of the public and community groups.

A spokesperson from Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “We are aware of problems in Central Avenue play park in Gretna and are currently obtaining quotes to have some items replaced within the park.

“The issue with the swings is that the swing chains need replaced and these have been removed temporarily for safety reasons. Replacements are already ordered and these will be reinstalled as soon as they arrive.

“We understand how important this park is to local residents and will try to complete these works as soon as possible and apologise for the delays.”

A spokesperson from Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “We are aware of problems in Central Avenue play park in Gretna and are currently obtaining quotes to have some items replaced within the park.

“The issue with the swings is that the swing chains need replaced and these have been removed temporarily for safety reasons. Replacements are already ordered and these will be reinstalled as soon as they arrive.

“We understand how important this park is to local residents and will try to complete these works as soon as possible and apologise for the delays.”

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