DCSIMG

SBC criticised but cleared of blame in play park fiasco

Councillor Rory Stewart at Ancrum playpark near Dukes Field which is being refurbished with money from building contractors in the area.

Councillor Rory Stewart at Ancrum playpark near Dukes Field which is being refurbished with money from building contractors in the area.

Scottish Borders Council has been criticised for failing to record why enforcement action was not taken over a non-existent Ancrum play park.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Jim Martin said SBC should have shown evidence it had considered taking action against Roxburghe Homes, which was initially behind the 45-home Duke’s Field ­development.

The now liquidated company never built the new park, despite a planning condition back in 2005 stating the facility should be ready before the tenth home was occupied.

The firm that took over the development – Wolsey Residential Finance – has been allowed to contribute £18,000 towards improving existing play facilities in Ancrum, instead of building a new park.

But Mr Martin refused to uphold complaints over the council’s handling of the case.

Rory Stewart, Jedburgh and District councillor, said: “There are people in Duke’s Field who are not happy about the situation but this is the best outcome that could have been expected for the whole village.

“I hope the council looks long and hard at the report and the issues the ombudsman identified that could have been controlled better.

“The good thing is the money has been ring-fenced and there are plans for Ancrum Community Council to set up a sub-group to oversee the improvements to the existing play park.”

An SBC spokesman said: “Such [enforcement] action would have required to be taken against not only the developer but also those parties who had already purchased properties and had an interest in the land.

“The council decided that an alternative solution was preferable in this instance.”

 

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