Harestanes playpark will be best yet and more are on the way, meeting told

Harestanes' new £342,000 playpark promises to be the best in the Borders yet.

How the new playpark at Harestanes Country Park will look.
How the new playpark at Harestanes Country Park will look.

That’s according to Scottish Borders Council convener David Parker, and he updated Jedburgh Community Council on plans for the country park, near Ancrum, this week.

“It will be the largest we have done so far and one of the biggest in the south of Scotland,” the Leaderdale and Melrose councillor said.

“We want to install something that we don’t have in the Borders at the moment, something that caters for children of all ages and abilities.”

He said the park will include wheelchair-friendly swings, a trampoline, roundabout and a range of other facilities specifically aimed at youngsters with additional needs.

“Because Live Borders man the visitor centre, we can put in equipment that requires supervision that is not available at other parks,” Mr Parker added.

“Children who are excluded at the moment will have at least one park where they can go where we provide the best equipment for them and staff on hand to help.”

The upgrade will also see a disabled drop-off area created, adult changing areas built and the existing disabled toilets improved.

Work is expected to begin in January and be finished by the Easter school holidays.

In May, councillors agreed to spend £3.1m over the next four years on new playparks, skateparks and pump tracks and other outdoor facilities.

Galashiels and Oxton’s parks opened this year, and more revamps will follow in Kelso and Coldstream soon, Peebles and Hawick next year and Jedburgh in 2021.

Mr Parker announced that £400,000 will be spent on play facilities in Jedburgh in 2021-22.

That might include a £130,000 extension to the existing playpark, off Canongate and a new £270,000 play area aimed at older children elsewhere in the town.

“Before we do any of that, we will come back and speak to this community council,” Mr Parker added.

“We are very much driven by consultation and are already speaking to Hawick and Peebles about what they want for next year.

“I also know some of you will wonder why we have chosen Harestanes right now rather than Jedburgh, but we are at the stage where the equipment there is broken, parts are obsolete and a lot of the pieces of play equipment just cannot be used.

“Harestanes is in desperate need of a playpark. It’s not in a good place right now.”

Harestanes Country Park is operated by Live Borders trust on behalf of the local authority, which rents the centre long-term from Lothian Estates.

The new park is being designed by Northamptonshire firm Wicksteed Leisure.

It includes a 10.6m-high Jedburgh Abbey-inspired centrepiece, landscaped features and durable wet-pour safety surfacing, as well as a quiet zone and storytelling area, small amphitheatre, agility trail and a toddlers’ play garden.