Bid for play park cash fails

L-r Sarah Petrie and Mags Powell at the site for the planned play park in Earlston at Mill Meadow.
L-r Sarah Petrie and Mags Powell at the site for the planned play park in Earlston at Mill Meadow.

Those behind a bid to create a play park in Earlston have said they are ‘extremely disappointed’ that their lottery bid has been rejected.

Mags Powell of Earlston Community Development Trust said: “The Big Lottery Fund Scotland has assessed our application and has stated that Earlston is weak in terms of community cohesion and that the project could not bring the community together.

“The Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s decision is final and there is no right of appeal.”

She added: “Although we are extremely disappointed in the Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s ill-informed opinion of our community, we will nevertheless continue to strive to deliver the play experiences that our children and families truly deserve.

“Our cohesive community has a strong track record of voluntary sector delivery and funding success.”

The trust had applied for £250,000 of lottery funding towards the £300,000 overall cost of the project.

A stumbling block to the scheme emerged last month when it was revealed that the council, from whom the trust intended to lease a small part of the ‘Cauldie’ area from, was not in fact the owners.

It had in fact reverted to the Crown as the title had never been passed from the previous owners, Simpson and Fairburn Ltd, to what was then West District Council.

The council had indicated it would attempt to purchase the land, having maintained it for decades and been widely used by the public, although it was understood that other parties were also interested in the land once its true ownership was uncovered.

Following the refusal of the lottery bid, an SBC spokesman said: “The council shares the trust’s disappointment with the outcome of the lottery application.

“In relation to the land, there has been no change. A closing date has been fixed by the Crown for Friday, May 16 for bids for the title.

“The council has yet to determine what step it wishes to take in relation to the acquisition to regularise its land use.”

The Crown is not obliged to accept any bid for the land at Mill Meadow.