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Public poll reveals playpark preferences

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West

A GROUP aiming to create an inclusive playpark facility in Dumfries are hoping they remain in the running for a share of £500,000 in funding.

Dock Park has topped a public poll of where money for an inclusive facility should be created in the town — but the team behind the second placed Catherine Street bid say they are well-placed to move forward.

Fiona Murray from that project’s working group said: “I have a husband in a wheelchair and autistic twins, so I can see it from all avenues.

“I won’t take my boys to Dock Park — it’s not secure, the river’s there, and my husband’s actually never been to a park with my boys — whereas Catherine Street to me is ideal to convert.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council allocated £500,000 during budget setting earlier this year to be split three ways on establishing inclusive playparks in Dumfries, Annan and Stranraer.

Over 900 people took part in the survey, with a further 93 taking part in six focus group sessions.

From the 543 respondents in Dumfries asked to rank options out of five, a weighted average of 4.91 went to Dock Park, 3.99 to Catherine Street play area, 3.47 to Calside, 3.42 to both Mill Green and Noblehill, and 2.86 to Glentrool Park.

The team behind the Catherine Street project note their plan to share existing specialised changing facilities with hoists and changing tables at the adjacent Usual Place, ‘rather than being on the ground of a toilet floor.”

With the communities committee set to decide how money is awarded in September, Catherine Street working group member Owen Fielding said: “I tend to think that elected members tend to be very well informed, and our working group led by Libby Welsh submitted a very robust report to be put forward to the elected members.”

Communities committee chairman Councillor Andy Ferguson has welcomed the response to the survey.
He said: “The initial results indicate where general public opinion lies, but comments submitted to the focus groups give further detail and refinement, especially with respect to the ancillary facilities which are needed for a truly inclusive play experience.”


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