IT'S SWINGS and roundabouts in Cowdenbeath as Fife Council have confirmed they're going to build two new playparks at Drylie Street and Farm Road.

But they'll be removing equipment from other sites across the area as part of a new strategy to help secure investment for the 39 sites the local authority maintains.

Cowdenbeath councillor Darren Watt wants the new playparks built as soon as possible and stated: "I think it's a shame it's got to the stage we're essentially dealing with the catastrophic neglect of playparks over the previous years and decades and now we're trying to get them up to standard in as short a space of time as we can.

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"We cannot forget that Hill of Beath playpark took seven years."

He added: "It's absolutely paramount we focus on these playparks as quickly as possible because we cannot have young people excited about a new playpark, getting plans in place, giving them opportunities to have their say, for them to get to an age and stage where quite frankly it'll probably be their children that are the ones using it and not themselves."

In a report to the committee, greenspace officer Kevin O'Kane said there was no standard approach to play spaces and categorisation was an important first step.

Central Fife Times: Swing when you're winning. Cowdenbeath is to get two new playparks but other sites across the area will have their equipment removed. Swing when you're winning. Cowdenbeath is to get two new playparks but other sites across the area will have their equipment removed. (Image: Newsquest)

He said: "Many sites have less than three pieces of equipment and can’t really be called play parks.

"Many cater for pre-school children, with no equipment for primary school children or less able bodied children."

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He added: "Much of the equipment will be at the end of its safe use in the next 10 years so there is a need to plan for replacement and refurbishment of sites to secure funds."

Mr O'Kane admitted it will take a lot of money to the playparks up to scratch and said partnerships with local groups were a good way to tap into funding that may not be available to councils.

He said: "There is a good example at Crossgates where council staff worked with the community on improvements and they've got a really good playpark now.

"We also have a colleague working with a group in Cardenden to refurbish their local playpark.

"The whole purpose of this is to have better, modern playparks for families and children."

Work on a new strategy has been going on for six years.

In September 2021 and faced with a £30 million bill to maintain and improve the sites they had, the council agreed that 146 out of their 446 play parks would not be refurbished or repaired.

Those sites will have their play equipment removed, if it hasn't been taken away already, and become natural "non-equipped" play spaces with features such as logs, mounds and plants.

In the Cowdenbeath area that includes six playparks at Keir Street and Southfield Park in Cowdenbeath; Curling Knowe in Crossgates; Blairadam Park in Kelty; Derran Drive in Cardenden; and Russell Street in Lochgelly.

Of the remaining sites, 22 will be 'improved', nine will be 'maintained' and there will be two new playparks.

As well as the natural play spaces, there will be another three categories in the Cowdenbeath area.

They are described as: local playparks within five minutes' walk of most homes and with a range of play equipment for primary school and younger children; town playparks, which will potentially take longer to walk to and will contain more equipment, including for kids in the early years of high school; and destination playparks, where most people will have to travel to get to but with the widest range of equipment and facilities like toilets and cafes.

There will be local playparks at Drylie Street, Farm Road, Cullaloe View, Westburn Avenue, Church Street and Perth Road, all in Cowdenbeath; Drover Hall Avenue, Manse Road and Public Park, in Crossgates; Keirs Beath Park in Hill of Beath; Central Park and Netherton Gardens in Kelty; Hope Street in Lumphinnans; New Flockhouse and Martin Crescent in Ballingry; Woodend, Balgreggie, Carden Avenue, Keirs Brae, Dundonald, Denfield Avenue and Wallsgreen Park, in Cardenden; Crosshill Park, Crosshill; and Brucefield Park, Grays Road, Paxton Crescent, Timmons Park and West End Park, all in Lochgelly.

Town playparks will be situated at Cowdenbeath Public Park, Keltyhill Avenue in Kelty, Lochore Park in Benarty and Lochgelly Public Park.

Lochore Meadows Country Park, which is set for a huge investment in a new playpark that's scheduled to open by next Spring, is the sole destination park in the area.