The opening of a new £275,000 splash zone at Montrose seafront has been met with a lukewarm response after it emerged the paddling pool beside it is to be bulldozed.
Youngsters are enjoying the splashpad water feature at the Seafront Splash play area – one of the most popular kids’ attractions in Angus.
It was switched on this week and features water jets and colourful surfacing, in an attraction aimed at offering inclusive play.
The new play area sits opposite the main park, which has been a favourite with families for decades.
But council chiefs have dropped original plans to keep the paddling pool there and say it will be removed.
A call has now been made for a community consultation on whether the popular feature should stay.
Montrose filmmaker Anthony Baxter said he was shocked to learn the original paddling pool is to be cleared.
“I have a morning run around Traill Drive so I’ve seen the work progressing and learned the new area was opening this week,” he said.
“But I was told they would be bulldozing the original splash paddling pool and that just seems such a shame.
“The new area is nice but it’s a tiny thing and there’s nowhere kids can really get their feet into the water.
“As an addition, it’s great but not as a replacement.”
“The design of the other one was really well thought out and it’s been so popular over so many years,” he said.
“I thought the new feature was to be an additional element, and I’m sure many others did too,” said Mr Baxter, the creator of highly acclaimed films around figures including Donald Trump and Montrose artist James Morrison.
“I just think it is such a missed opportunity just to take a decision to knock it down.
“It is a nice piece of design that was also educational for children.
“I’m not sure people know that’s what is going to be happening to it.
“It’s so important for the council to engage with the people of the town about their facilities rather than just making a decision like this.
“If they don’t have the money to refurbish it then I’m pretty sure there could be a community effort to get it up and running again rather than just putting a bulldozer through it.
“It was working last year so I don’t see why they would just want to get rid of it.”
One family visiting the area said they’d be disappointed if the paddling area was to go.
“We love coming here and if it’s good weather the children play for hours in the curved paddling pools,” the said.
“The new water area is nice but it would be a shame if the original paddling pools were to go.”
Long-awaited replacement toilets at the seafront attraction are also due to open shortly.
Portable toilets are currently in place.
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “The new toilet block is nearing completion and expected to open in the next few weeks.
“The old paddling pool is now obsolete and will be removed as resources allow.”
The original Seafront Splash opened in 1998.
Plans for the new splash zone were lodged in January 2020.
However, they prompted a “pet projects” row after an external funding knockback saw councillors agreed to dip into contingency funds to add £127,000 to the £150,000 already set aside for the upgrade scheme.