A comprehensive community engagement plan is to be carried out to help heal the rift over the proposed lottery-funded Earlston play park.
Earlston Community Development Trust (ECDT), which has secured £250,000 from the Big Lottery Fund towards the costs of the play park proposed for a site at Mill Meadow, is to carry out the exercise over the next few weeks.
ECDT says the plan is in response to community discussions and requests for more information about the scheme, including the controversial choice of location.
It also comes after an angry public meeting and a warning from the Big Lottery Fund it would not sanction the grant if there were not sufficient levels of public support.
ECDT wants to highlight the potential benefits the Mill Meadow site – known as The Cauldie – has to offer and put right what it calls a few misconceptions.
As part of the engagement plan an information leaflet will be delivered to every household in April, followed by a newsletter in May and a series of presentations to key community groups and a number of community engagement events for residents to review the current plans, meet ECDT members and landscape architects.
The plan also includes the creation of an engagement group, with representation from a range of key stakeholders.
ECDT chair Mags Powell told us: “Our understanding is that strong support remains to progress this project, to retain the significant funding already raised and to ensure it is invested in Earlston to continue to improve the quality of life for its residents.
“We fully understand, however, there are continuing concerns with regards to the location of the project.
“Through the delivery of our community engagement plan we hope to reaffirm the great benefits of this location and our aim of encouraging more people to access the wonderful paths and nature resources that can provide many more opportunities than a residential-based play park.
“The engagement plan includes revisiting the work we have done regarding alternative sites and getting the up-to-date position on each site.
“We hope this further consultation will provide everyone with the information they need, how the project has developed to this point and how they can influence its future development.”