Stichill villagers say they feel ‘duped’ over playpark

Field in front of new houses at Stichel.
Field in front of new houses at Stichel.

Months after a new housing development opened in Stichill and with still no sign of a new playpark, local villagers say they now feel duped.

Earlier this summer, Scottish housing minister Margaret Burgess officially opened Eildon Housing’s new affordable eight-house development.

But while it has since gone on to win a prestigious Scottish Home Awards accolade, there is growing anger over the lack of new play equipment villagers feel is badly needed.

Eildon did not have to make a developer contribution towards play equipment since it was building affordable housing units.

This caused concern as the existing elderly play facility was no longer adequate for the children already in the village, never mind any extra youngsters in the new houses.

However, Eildon agreed to level a piece of ground for a kick-about area and The Southern reported that funding for a bigger playpark would be ‘looked at’.

But, seven months on since the houses were occupied, frustration is growing. Local councillor Tom Weatherston says various reasons, including budget constraints, are to blame.

“I accept this has been a long drawn-out process and many residents are frustrated with the delay, and the lack of facilities for their children compared to other areas, but I hope, after the community council election in September, we can hold talks and get this resolved,” he said.

However his assurances failed to mollify a number of local mothers, one of whom told us: “The real frustration is that we were led to believe at a meeting ages ago that there would be a new playpark and there’s just nothing.

“And there is general frustration, because what they said was being done is not what we’ve ended up with and we’ve now got more kids than ever before in the village and nowhere for them to play.”

And another mum commented: “The village has got nothing out of it. We’ve no shop and no buses – it’s crazy to put houses in a rural village where there’s no bus service.

“We now all feel the village has been duped over this.”