Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Need for proper consultation over Victoria Park

As reported in tonight's "Evening Telegraph", (click on headline to view or go to http://tinyurl.com/victoriaparkdundee) I have called upon Dundee City Council to properly and urgently consult with park users over proposals to use Victoria Park for playing facilities for the new St Joseph’s and Park Place Primary Schools and Park Place Nursery School.

I have written to City Council Chief Executive David Dorward in the following terms :

“Although the detail of the schools’ project will now come forward as a planning application to Development Quality Committee in due course and this will allow for public consultation on the planning aspects, what consultation will take place with the local community, park users and other stakeholders (Friends of Balgay are an obvious stakeholder, for example) on the potential effect on public access to the park by the proposal?

Also, what steps will also be taken to consult parents and carers on the use of Victoria Park as playing facilities for the schools concerned, given that this was not explicitly part of the original consultation when the schools’ project was first consulted upon?”

The City Council’s confirmation that it wishes to make use of Victoria Park as playing field provision for the new schools had caused disquiet amongst the many park users.

Of course, we wish to see the best play facilities and opportunities for school pupils but it is vital that the City Council properly demonstrates that it has consulted the many users of Victoria Park, over what appear thus far to be sketchy proposals.

Many residents had been in contact with me about their concerns. One Blackness Road resident has written :

“I am a resident of the West End and I am writing to you regarding the recent news on the proposed use of Victoria Park for the new primary school on the former Harris Academy annexe site.

I find it unbelievable that a decision such as this appears to have been made with no public consultation.

The park has been in use as open public space for over 100 years and a change of use of even part of it would be seriously detrimental to its use and to the West End as a whole.

I would like to know why this is the only option being looked at and what other options are available.”