New park is jewel in Lauder's crown

Published: 11 Jun 2012 09:300 comments

LAUDER'S new play park has been described as the best in the Borders following its official opening.

Local authority leader David Parker, who represents the Royal Burgh on the council, made the statement following the completion of the £182,000 building project, which has been named the Diamond Jubilee Play Park to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

He was joined by Lauder Primary School Citizen of the Year Jake Mirley for the unveiling of the state-of-the-art adventure playground on Monday.

Councillor Parker told the Border Telegraph: "It's been long awaited in Lauder, we've been talking about it for five years so it's great that we have finally got it opened."

And he added: "It's a great way to mark the Queen's Jubilee; the biggest, safest and best play park in the Borders here in Lauder."

The new park was built to replace the old play area which is being dismantled to make way for the new health centre in Lauder, with work scheduled to start next month - despite some controversy over the Crofts Road site.

It is part of a £500,000 investment in the area which also includes the development of a new sports pavilion and floodlit training area suitable for seven-a-side football.

Councillor Parker said: "It's a fantastic development for the area, and I think that when everybody sees all these facilities they will forget about the controversy that happened as we led up to building them."

The plans for the new park were approved after Scottish Borders Council agreed to sell land owned by the town's common good fund to NHS Borders to accommodate the new health centre - despite opposition from local lobby group POGS (Protect Our Greenfield Site).

Alistair Smith, chairman of Lauderdale Community Council, said: "It took a lot of work and energy to get here but the reaction of the kids makes it all worthwhile.

"I think it's in the right place next to the school and the park."

Local school children were involved in choosing the play equipment for the new park. And they admitted they were excited to see their plans become a reality.

Jake said: "I think it's a really nice play park and I think everyone will enjoy it. The old play park was a bit boring after a while but, with this one, there is more to do."

And four-year-old Anna Batchelor agreed. She said: "My favourite bit is the big tower because it has a slide to go down."

Borders Sport and Leisure Trust organised a sports day to celebrate the opening of the new play park, which also includes monkey bars, a tunnel, shuffle bar, swings, inclusive orbit and a trampoline.

Among the first visitors to the park were Ian Ritchie, a father from Lauder, along with his daughters Lois, aged four, and Iona, aged just 17 months. He said: "The kids are loving it. It's a lot better than the old park, it is a lot bigger, and there is much more stuff to keep them entertained. I think it is a really good facility and I hope it is maintained."

Local childminder Wilma Brennan, manager of Brookfield Childcare in Earlston, said the park was ideal for children of all ages. She said: "It is absolutely fantastic.

"The roundabout is disabled friendly and there are also good challenges for older children so they don't get fed up and it's got a safe surface so if anybody falls they are not going to hurt themselves."

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