AN on-line petition to prevent newly installed play equipment at a Golspie play park being removed on the orders of a local councillor, has attracted over 200 signatures (as we went to press).
The petition was launched last Saturday as part of a campaign by Golspie Tower Playgroup Association, the group behind the erection three weeks ago of the £20,000 new Jumbolander play unit at Ross Street Play Park.
The association has locked horns with Councillor Graham Phillips, one of three representatives in the East Sutherland and Edderton ward.
He wants the play unit to be dismantled and set up elsewhere after receiving complaints from three nearby householders that it is causing a noise nuisance and their privacy is being invaded.
The play park is owned by Highland Council but has been leased to the play park association for the past 15 years.
Councillor Phillips is understood to have talked of offering to meet the £6500 costs of re-siting the equipment, which has to be done under warranty by manufacturers Timberline, from the ward discretionary budget.
Catriona McQueen, association secretary, said she was delighted at the response to the petition on the website (www.gopetition.co.uk) or through the Golspie Village facebook page.
The wording on the petition says it is to: "Stop Councillor Phillips from removing/resiting the Jumbolander in Ross Street Play park."
It has attracted support from residents not just in Golspie but across Scotland and even overseas, with one signatory from Sydney, Australia.
Catriona said it would remain on line for another week or so and then it was intended to place printed copies in shops and public premises throughout the area.
It will eventually be presented to Highland Council.
Mrs McQueen said the association had taken steps to block the view of neighbouring homes from the top of the play unit by erecting a wooden board.
She reiterated that Councillor Phillips had acted hastily in demanding the Jumbolander be re-located and said he had only succeeded in turning local people against each other.
"Everyone on the play park committee know the people who have been complaining and we could have worked something out together," she said.
She also maintained that it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to pay for the relocation costs from ward funding.
Councillor Phillips was on holiday this week and not available for comment.
The Highland Council was asked to comment but had not responded by the time
The Northern Times went to Press.
Some of those who have signed the on-line petition are also leaving comments. Here are what three of them have to say.
Isla Macphail, Brora: Living next to a playpark is noisy and the kids do use bad language and are mean to each other and they invade your privacy, (I should know my garden backs on to one) BUT they are kids in a NEW park away from the road having fun, getting exercise, fresh air, socialising, taking risks, the list of positives is endless and the novelty will soon wear off. Golspie Tower Play Park association you did a fantastic job of getting the new park up and running you deserve a pat on the back.
Mary Marshall, Helmsdale: If the council have money to throw away in moving a piece of play equipment, how about throwing it Helmsdale’s way. The kids here are long overdue an update to their playpark, which overlooks the front of houses.
Mandy Macrae, Newmachar: Children need a safe environment to play. The new equipment is perfectly situated in an area where lots of children live it would make no sense at all to relocate it. You can’t live in a residential area and not expect some level of noise!
Meanwhile, Hazel and Tommy Sutherland of Tower Street, Golspie, have written to the NT, suggesting that "if this is the starting point for our newly elected councillor (Graham Phillips), we think it should also be the finishing point and he should tender his resignation."