Local parents have joined forces to ensure a popular half million pound playpark facility is saved from being razed to make room for grazings.
And the group are looking to the community and local businesses to support the improvement venture and ensure the Newmarket playpark and nearby river walk no longer ‘fall by the wayside’.
Chair of a new board of directors at non-profit community company Newmarket Gateway Trust, Murray Macleod, said: “We started hearing murmurings a few months ago that all the equipment was going to be removed and the park flattened and converted to grazings.
“We’ve managed to put a stop to that now thankfully, but we need the community and hope that local businesses will also get behind us to help bring this area back to life.
“The playpark has fallen by the wayside over the past few years, but it could be a really cracking place for the whole family to enjoy.”
The Newmarket Playpark was established in 2004 by original members in the Newmarket Gateway Trust.
With initial set up costs coming in at around half a million pounds, the facility boasts a huge area of ground, comprising of a floodlight tarred basketball/football court, toddler area, BBQ/picnic area, zip slide and a variety of other playpark equipment. The popular Riverside Garden and walk was also developed, creating an amenity for healthy lifestyle to be enjoyed be people of all ages.
However, with little maintenance undertaken over the past few years, the park has fallen into disrepair – although it is hoped with community support improvements can be made to breathe new life into the facility.
Mr Macleod continued: “A lack of community support left remaining members of the original Trust deciding that the only way forward was to close the park. This de-construction has been stopped for the moment, but we need community support to ensure this isn’t temporary.
“We’re also hoping that local businesses will get involved and donate towards the project as we want to get the playpark back up to safe standards. Already CalMax, Specialist Welding, Woodys, Men Only, Mann Judds and the Stornoway Trust have pledged support, along with Councillors Roddie Mackay and Donald Crichton who have donated ward funds, and we are incredibly grateful to all of them.”
And highlighting the need, one parent involved said: “The playpark is an integral part of the local community and it’s very important it is maintained to a high standard and is safe for our children to play - especially with summer fast approaching.”
To start on improvements, the Newmarket Gateway Trust are holding a Community Clean-up Day on Saturday, March 1st from 1pm to 4pm.
“We’ll looking for volunteers for the clean up and hedge trimming, anyone who is able to help, and tradesmen willing to donate time for various jobs would be appreciated,” said Mr Macleod. He added: “This is the only facility of its kind in Newmarket, it’s a huge area and could be really popular again. We’re ready to make improvements but we need community support and help.”
Local businesses who wish to help can contact the new Trust on email@example.com and you can keep up to date with developments on the ‘Newmarket play area and walk’ Facebook page.