Scores of Fife play parks are set to disappear over the next decade as part of a proposed new strategy, it has emerged.
Members of the region’s community and housing services committee will be asked to agree a draft play park strategy as a basis for public consultation before a final strategy being presented for approval at a later date.
However, council officials have pinpointed a total of 172 sites throughout the region which are unlikely to be replaced when equipment reaches the end of its life.
Fife Council currently has 449 sites with play equipment in parks and greenspace, although a report to Thursday’s committee will note most of the existing play equipment will need to be removed as it reaches the end of its life over the next 10 years unless provision is “reshaped”.
With the cost of refurbishing all the existing equipment estimated at around £34 million, councillors will hear spending such a sum is “not feasible”, sparking a probe into provision throughout the Kingdom.
The report has revealed a new “play park hierarchy” consisting of three types will be adopted — neighbourhood play parks, which will be located within five minutes’ walk of most homes; town play parks, which will take longer to reach and contain more equipment; and destination play parks, which most people will need to travel by public transport to but will have the widest range of equipment.
Paul Vaughan, head of the communities and neighbourhood service, said 280 sites fit with the hierarchy but confirmed the intention is not to replace the 172 sites that do not comply.
“This will happen when equipment is at the end of its life,” he stressed.
“These spaces would still be public greenspace and be improved for non-equipped play, and this can be achieved by including logs, picnic tables, shrub and tree planting, and wildflower meadows.”
Mr Vaughan also pointed out that Fife residents will be consulted on the draft play park strategy, which will include public meetings and surveys, and the strategy is expected to be approved in June 2019.
Public consultation will then take place on provision for each town and village, with a map and a report likely to be produced for each area.
The amount of equipment varies wildly across Fife, with 151 sites said to have fewer than three items within them.
For example, Kirkcaldy’s Beveridge Park, Dunfermline’s Pittencrieff Park and St Andrews’ Craigtoun Country Park has a wide range of equipment catering for all ages of children, while White’s Quay in Dalgety Bay merely has one swing, suitable only for babies.