Strong Community Support for the Campaign to Save Parkhead

More than sixty people attended a public meeting on Friday 23rd June to discuss the sale of Parkhead – a large area of green space, parkland and playing fields in the Noblehill area of Dumfries – to Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership by Dumfries and Galloway Council.


The meeting was organised by a new community organisation, Noblehill Community Development Association, who also run the Facebook campaign page Save Parkhead.  The group was formally constituted at the meeting with widespread community support.


The Save Parkhead campaign was launched in response to concern that the local community was neither being informed nor appropriately consulted about the proposed development of the land at Parkhead.  The land is widely used by a range of community and sports groups, as well as families, dog walkers and individuals for social and recreation purposes.


Within 24 hours of launch the facebook page had gathered support from hundreds of people, many of whom expressed outrage and dismay at the potential loss of valuable green space which has been used by the community for decades.


The public meeting was led by members of the community who informed attendees about a freedom of information request recently submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council, much of which focused around queries in relation to Section 104 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 regarding “Disposal and use of common good property: consultation”.


A spokesperson for the Association said:

“We were delighted to see such a strong turnout for this public meeting which was organised at relatively short notice.  The strength of feeling locally about the potential loss of Parkhead as a community greenspace was evident, as was the determination of members of the local community to make their voice heard.
“There was unanimous support for setting up a community association, and there was unanimous support for opening up dialogue with relevant organisations and individuals, including elected representatives, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership and the Scottish Government.
”There was obvious concern at the recent neglect of the ground at Parkhead and the resulting reduction in accessibility and use of the playing fields.  The length of the grass in particular was noted as already having resulted in some minor injuries. 
“We look forward to progressing with enquiries on behalf of our local community and we hope that Noblehill Community Development Association will give local people a voice and a channel through which we can begin to address many of the questions that have arisen in relation to the sale and potential development of this much loved area of greenspace.”  

A Statement from Dumfries and Galloway Council Said – 

We are aware of coverage in the press and concerns from local residents about the sale of land at Parkhead, Dumfries.

We would like to take this opportunity to clarify some key points regarding the sale and, hopefully, put resident’s minds at rest.

The land was sold to Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) on 31st March 2017. The sale was concluded before the end of the 2016-17 Financial Year in order to allow DGHP to secure funding for the acquisition of the site from the Scottish Government, as this had to be committed to by the end of the Financial Year. Prior to the sale Elected Local Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council were informed on a monthly basis that the site was part of ongoing negotiations with DGHP. 

This was not a sudden decision, before the sale to DGHP the site had previously been under offer to another developer, Remixland, as far back as April 2008, in fact the site had been identified as an area for development as far back as 1993. The sale of the land was agreed in 2009; however our Council withdrew from this sale in 2012 as the prospective purchasers failed to meet the pre-conditions and deadlines which had been agreed as part of the contract. At this time DGHP had already expressed an interest in acquiring the land.

A report was presented to Nithsdale Area Committee on 4th Sept 2013 stating that the land was surplus to council requirements and asked for any suggestions for community use, subject to approval by the Committee. No suggestions were made, therefore the way was clear to dispose of the land.

We entered into negotiations with DGHP in July 2014, which included a consultation with our Leisure and Sport department on the requirement for sports facilities. Following this, supplementary [planning guidance in the form of a Masterplan Brief was developed: http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=18566&p=0 

During these consultations it became clear that part of the land was in fact Common Good and therefore a portion of the money received for the land will be returned to the Common Good Fund. The sale of the Common Good portion of the land was agreed by the Dumfries Common Good Fund Sub-committee on 27th March 2017. The total extent of the land was 13.97 acres. The amount of this land considered to be common good is approx. 8.21 acres. Therefore the percentage of Common Good land is around 58.77%

The sale is subject to a ‘buy back’ clause, as DGHP have yet to apply for, and therefore obtain, planning permission within the next three years. If planning permission is not granted within this period, the land will be reconveyed back to the Council and the purchase price repaid to DGHP. Any development would have to take into account a number of essential requirements as set out in the Masterplan Brief, including provision of one sports pitch, appropriate parking and the inclusion of open space. Once DGHP have applied for a planning application residents will be able to make comments or raise objections to proposals as part of the normal planning process.

Maintenance and upkeep of the ground is now the responsibility of the owners, DGHP. A meeting between the Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray and a representative from DGHP is to take place in the near future to discuss maintenance arrangements for the area.


All information shared at the public meeting is now being posted to the campaign facebook page to ensure widespread access of the information to the local community.  This includes the Freedom of Information request and the proposed draft constitution of the new community association. The Save Parkhead facebook page can be found HERE

Section 104 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 can be read HERE



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