THE £800,000 project to replace the playpark at Lochore Meadows will be delayed by up to a year.

Fife Council had set a deadline for companies to tender for the contract but announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the price wasn't right.

A major overhaul of the play facilities was given the green light earlier this month with high hopes that it would open in the Spring.

That's now not going to happen, with the council admitting they "can't go ahead right now", although they insisted the upgrade will still go ahead.

Andy MacLellan, the community projects team manager, explained: “We asked interested companies to tender for the playpark replacement work at the end of 2021.

"Over the past few weeks, we’ve reviewed the bids received and sadly we’ve not been able to award the work to any of those companies.

The council agreed to invest £500,000 towards the play park replacement, with a further £250,000 for infrastructure works to support and complement existing facilities.

There were 900,000 visitors to the Meedies last year and plans approved for a "destination park" with play equipment for kids of all ages and abilities.

Mr MacLellan continued: "The market for play equipment is quite uncertain just now, which has driven up the costs of the more specialist pieces we wanted at Lochore.

"The construction sector is also feeling pressure and together with the variability of Covid-19 restrictions, bidding contractors have had to build in the financial risks that they have into their tenders.

"This has resulted in the tenders we’ve received being higher than expected and means we can't go ahead with the work right now.

“We share the disappointment that people will be feeling at this news, but we’re sure that they’ll understand that we need to make sure we spend wisely too and get the best value for money.

"We’re fully committed to the playpark replacement and will take a bit of time to review the project before putting it back out to tender, with a new target of early 2023 for completion.”

The new playpark is to have swings designed to be used by children with disabilities, as well as a sensory tunnel, and will be carefully planned to let all children play together in one place.

New fencing at key locations near the loch and through the wooded area, as well as CCTV, will also help keep visitors safe and a new pathway will connect the play area to the visitor centre, giving easy access to the café and toilet facilities.

After the plans were approved earlier this month, park manager Iain Laing had said: “Lochore Meadows will be a destination park, a place where families can spend the whole day without costing the earth, but with plenty to keep everyone occupied.

“It’s one of the jewels in our crown and we want people to keep coming back.

“The new playpark will be something special, there won’t be anything like it nearby."