YOUNGSTERS looking for something to do in Kelso can now enjoy improved play facilities at the town’s Shedden Park, writes Mark Entwistle.
Scottish Borders Council staff have redesigned and upgraded the existing skate park in addition to the play area to the west of the park. This follows on from work to the Keeper’s Lodge which was completed in March last year.
The improvements to the skate park included resurfacing, new equipment and reorganising the area to improve the ride. The designs and suggestions of young Kelsonians were central to the outcome of these upgrades.
The play area now includes a large galleon named the Nancy Dawson.
Limited-mobility users can access the bow using the simple steps or play with the floor-mounted activity panels. The top deck and stern are 1.7 metres high and provide a great vantage point over the rest of the playground. A stainless steel slide provides the fun descent from the deck and there are several climbing activities, including the tube net in the middle of the deck.
Adjoining the play area is the Keeper’s Lodge. This category B listed building is used by local sports groups for changing and storage of equipment, and also doubles up as a public toilet.
These achievements are the result of partnership working between Scottish Borders Council, local property developers, Future Kelso, Sport Kelso and other community groups. This reflects current SBC policy in relation to housing developments where the improvement and expansion of existing play facilities is preferred over the creation of smaller, less-valued play areas.
Local builders M & J Ballantyne made significant contributions to the funding for the Shedden Park developments in lieu of play facility provision at their Broomlands, East Broomlands and East Bowmont Street developments. Eildon Housing Association also made financial support in relation to its Broomlands development. It is also intended to create a toddlers’ play facility within the Broomlands estate by the spring of this year.
Meanwhile, local housing developer J S Crawford has concluded the delivery of play facilities within the Wallaceneuk Estate to cater for demand which arose from the creation of new housing.
SBC depute leader Alec Nicol said: “The public and the developers can clearly see how the funding has been spent. The Kelso councillors feel it is important to deliver for a wide range of young age groups and we talked to many at the planning stage.”
SB Local neighbourhood manager Jason Hedley added: “It is fantastic to see the improvement to facilities within the town of Kelso. The idea for naming the galleon the Nancy Dawson really captures the heritage of the park and, of course, adds a certain amount of appeal to visitors to the town who may want to explore how the ocean-going schooner is relevant to Kelso and, in particular, Shedden Park.”