Earlston’s new play park gets the green light

Objections to a new £300,000 play park in Earlston were overruled this week when it was given the go-ahead by council planners.

The news has been welcomed by Earlston Community Development Trust, who hope that the all-inclusive park at Mill Meadow could be open by September if funding is granted.

“We’re very pleased our planning application got through as we’ve been working on this since 2011 and there is a real need for it in Earlston,” said trust chair Maggi Wimberley. Two new conditions – that no equipment designed to create noise and no lighting is installed without council permission – were imposed by Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday.

Objectors at the meeting raised concerns over flooding, road safety, parking, access, site maintenance and the effect on nearby housing.

But planning officers recommended approval of the application provided steps are taken to prevent any issues arising from the creation of a play park.

Ms Wimberley pointed out that the play park would only take up around 12 per cent of the existing green space which is currently mostly used by dog walkers.

“We’re building up a bank of volunteers to maintain the equipment and keep the area tidy because it is the community who will be running it rather than the council,” she said.

“Parents are already coming forward and we are trying to get young people to take responsibility for it too.”

As well as a zipwire, pendulum swing, mobility trampoline, mobility roundabout, mobility see-saw, swings, infinity bowl and equipment for toddlers, there will be a barbecue and picnic tables.

“We also want to put in a multipurpose shelter that could be used as an outdoor classroom for the nursery, for example,” said Ms Wimberley.

A plan to install an off-road cycle track beside the park was refused due to flooding risks.