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Dundee play park owner says site’s future ‘held hostage by vandals’

The park has been locked up for nearly three years.

The owner of a Dundee playpark children are pleading to have reopened says its future is being “held hostage by vandals”.

The park at Panmurefield has been shut for the last three years after suffering repeated damage.

Owner Greenbelt Energy Ltd (GEL) claims not enough is being done by the authorities to prevent anti-social behaviour in the area.

It has released a statement after a seven-year-old girl wrote a letter appealing for the park to be reopened.

Olivia Wilkie wrote to Broughty Ferry councillor Craig Duncan asking for help to reinstate the play facilities.

vandalism at Broughty Ferry play park - litter
The park owners say they have spent thousands cleaning up and repairing the play park.

GEL claims it has already spent thousands of pounds repairing the Lawers Drive park after “regular attacks by vandals” and problems with litter and dog fouling – a situation it says became “unsustainable”.

A spokesperson for the company told The Courier: “We very much welcome and agree with the wishes of Olivia Wilkie to see this area of land open once again for youngsters and families to enjoy.

“The area has now been closed for three years – as a very last resort, as the repair costs were understandably unsustainable – yet there are still no assurances the vandalism will not be repeated.

“Essentially, the play park’s future is being held hostage by vandals.”

GEL says it met with Mr Duncan and police to discuss removing shrubs, which may have helped to hide vandals in the past, with work now scheduled between November and March.

vandals at Broughty Ferry play park - torn up park flooring
The park flooring was ripped up by vandals.

The spokesperson continued: “Also discussed– and agreed by all parties present – was that the best long-term option would be to replace the equipment with a fully natural play area, incorporating contoured grass and minimal features.

“This would offer a safe space for play but reduce any future potential for vandalism.

“Mr Duncan confirmed at the meeting he would lend his personal support in gaining permission from the planning department for this course of action.”

The statement added: “Sadly, vandalism is a terrible scourge in this part of Broughty Ferry.

The GEL facility at Sandypark has also been regularly targeted. This is a serious crime and must be tackled by the council and police.

“GEL believe the council and police should be working with GEL and residents in our battle to combat a pattern of irresponsible behaviour that affects everyone’s enjoyment of green, open spaces in Dundee and Broughty Ferry.

“Thanks to inspirational children such as Olivia, let’s hope we can work together to make this happen.”

‘Engage with local kids’

Mr Duncan said it is not the council’s responsibility to provide security at the park.

“I think they should act upon police advice for security,” he added.

“Other local parks in Panmurefield have not been targeted by vandals — such as the park at Cairnwell Gardens — because they’re not screened.

broughty ferry park
Olivia Wilkie and her letter as well with councillor Craig Duncan.

Mr Duncan also says  GEL has his support to construct a nature park facility, but he has not yet seen any proposals for one.

He added: “The local kids have had to put up with the park being shut for years.

“I think the owners just need to act upon the police advice, decide the format for the park and engage with the local kids.

“Because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who will use it.”

Anti-social behaviour

Chief Inspector Ross Fitzgerald, Dundee area commander, said: “We are acutely aware of the disruptive effect anti-social behaviour has on communities and we are aware of ongoing issues in the Broughty Ferry area.

“Local officers are working closely with partners to address these issues and find meaningful solutions to direct our young people away from this mindless activity.

“Dedicated patrols are carried out in the area, with officers providing reassurance to the community as well as engaging with young people and discouraging antisocial behaviour.”

He added: “It is worth stressing that the vast majority of young people do not come to the attention of police but we know that a small minority do sometimes become involved in anti-social behaviour and their actions can have a negative impact on the lives of local residents.”

The chief inspector also urged parents and guardians to ensure they are aware of their children’s whereabouts when they are unsupervised.

MAP: Top 5 play parks in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perthshire

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