I am fortunate enough to have 4 large urban parks and several much loved playparks in my Ward. Key to my job as a Councillor is a duty to protect these spaces and ensure they are well used.
In recent months I played a small part in getting Fairmilehead Park its Green Flag Award, I helped Oxgangs Trinity FC be allocated Colinton Mains Park as their “home ground” and most recently I’ve been working with Pentland Community Centre to find the £100k needed to upgrade the neighbouring playpark.
One park, however, has taken up more of my energy in recent times than any other: Campbell Park. This is situated just off Woodhall Road and comprises a large sports field, a pavilion and a playpark for younger children. The area was orginally donated to the community by a local farmer and has been much loved since it was dedicated as a recreation area in 1936.
The challenge the community now faces is that Currie Star Football Club and Edinburgh Cricket Club, both fantastic organisations in their own right, hope to use new Scottish Government legislation to take over the long-term management of the site. They plan to invest tens of thousands of pounds improving the playing surface to make it one of the best natural sports surfaces in the city.
This, however, comes with a catch. Once the surface is improved it will be used more intensively by the clubs. I think all Colinton people welcome young people taking part in physical exercise, but the community around the park have voiced legitimate concerns about the impact of over a hundred people arriving at once on an already often unacceptable parking situation and ongoing problems with litter control.
The clubs concerned have been running a consultation on their proposals over the summer which they would agree has been botched. A frank discussion took place regarding the proposal at the September Colinton Community Council meeting (where other community groups were well represented) where is was agreed the clubs would start afresh with their consultation.
A full and proper consultation is important as I have been clear that the proposal can’t proceed unless the community’s questions are answered and they offer their support for the plans put forward by the clubs.