Stichill set to gain new kids’ play area thanks to deal with developer

Stichill affordable housing playpark issue.
Stichill affordable housing playpark issue.

Stichill looks set to get a new children’s play area as a result of new homes being constructed by Eildon Housing, even though the developer is under no requirement to provide anything.

The village already has a tiny play area adjacent to the village hall, but it only comprises of two elderly swings and a small slide.

Stichill affordable housing playpark issue.

Stichill affordable housing playpark issue.

And, unfortunately, much of the small adjoining grassed area has had to be cordoned off recently, after becoming water-logged due to heavy rainfalls and nearby drainage problems.

Eildon is currently building eight three-bedroom six-person affordable homes on a site near the centre of Stichill, to the rear of the village hall.

As an affordable homes development, Eildon does not have to make a developer contribution for play equipment – something that has caused concern among some local residents who say existing play equipment is no longer adequate for the children already living in the village, never mind any additional youngsters who may occupy the new homes.

Local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston told TheSouthern: “Anyone providing affordable housing does not have to make a developer contribution for play equipment, however Eildon has agreed to level off a piece of ground for a larger play park and we will then look at funding for equipment.”

And, as far as the flooding problems affecting the existing play area are concerned, Mr Weatherston added: “The council has agreed to solve the flooding issue but it can’t get to the problem with the field presently a building site.

“There is going to be another meeting with residents in August to discuss all these issues and Ronnie Dumma [from Eildon Housing] is going to confirm a date. I am confident after the houses are built, Stichill will have a much better play area and a piece of open ground that residents can use for many different things for the community.”

A spokesperson for Eildon Housing confirmed that its new homes would be ready for occupation by January.

“Association staff continue to work constructively with local residents and the community council on matters relating to the new development.

“There is no requirement for Eildon to provide play facilities or a financial contribution to allow provision by others as the development is fewer than nine houses.

“Eildon has agreed to level and seed part of the SBC-owned area adjacent to our site to provide a relatively level area approximately 30 metres x 20 metres for kick about.

“This was agreed at a previous meeting with the community council and Scottish Borders Council.”

Local community councillor Colin Shaughnessy believes the village will “get something good” out of the new play area proposals. He told TheSouthern: “An improved play area is something that’s been on the cards for a long time.

“Eildon have had to level a bit of the ground for their accommodation works. This area still belongs to the council and this is what will be used.

“The situation regarding new play equipment is being looked into at the moment.

“The community council itself has been acquiring some funds towards that as well, so hopefully there should be a good outcome for all.”