MSP Accuses Council Of “Utter Neglect” Over Flagship Dock Park

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has accused Dumfries and Galloway Council of “utter neglect” of the flagship Dock Park in Dumfries.


The local MSP says a lack of basic maintenance by the council is leaving the park “falling apart”, with play equipment and the bandstand currently out of use – just weeks before the school summer holidays.


The bandstand has been left unpainted for years and is now fenced off for safety reasons with parts of the flooring broken.


In the children’s playpark, the ship has been fenced off for months due to rotten boards, the broken seesaw has been removed, the disabled roundabout is now fenced off as it no longer turns, gates to the park are closed off with barriers around them and parts of the rubber flooring in the park is crumbling.


The maze, which dates back to the 1970s, is overgrown with weeds and piles of gravel have been used to fill the potholed covered car park, rather than permanent repairs.


As a local Councillor for the area at the time, Colin Smyth successfully fought for the major refurbishment of the park. He chaired the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee during the revamp and carried out the official re-opening of the park with the Earl and Countess of Wessex in 2014. Following the re-opening, the park was voted number one in Scotland in October 2014 in a public poll held by Keep Scotland Beautiful. The park has also secured a coveted Green Flag form the charity every year since the refurbishment.


£2m of investment was made to the park with funding from the council, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Landfill Communities Fund and included the refurbishment of the 19th century bandstand by the company who originally built it, along with a new modern children’s play park.


Colin Smyth said: “Just weeks before the school holidays and the summer tourism season, it is shocking to see the utter neglect of the Dock Park by the council.
“I know local councils have had to deal with huge Government cuts but failing to carry out even basic maintenance is a false economy. It will just mean a huge amount of investment is needed in the future to bring the park back into a decent state.
“I successfully fought for the £2 million refurbishment of what was an award-winning park. We transformed it into a real jewel in the crown for Dumfries and it is something I am very proud of. The council should hang their head in shame over the state of the park today.
“Every year since the revamp, the council has secured a coveted Green Flag for the park but there is little chance of that this year in its current state. More importantly, the park has been hugely popular since the investment was made but that won’t last if the equipment continues to be removed and closed off.
“It really breaks my heart to see the way it has been left to fall apart. The council needs to carry out the repairs urgently and put in place a proper maintenance regime, which is what they promised funders like the Heritage Lottery fund when they secured grants from them a decade ago.
“If they fail to do so it will only be a matter of time before the park falls into a complete state of disrepair and we are back having to fight for another revamp and that’s totally unacceptable.”