LOCAL councillors have hit out at plans to sacrifice smaller playparks across Peeblesshire to fund new facilities.

Last week the Peeblesshire News revealed how 11 of the children's parks in Tweeddale are earmarked for removal by leaders at the local authority.

And the savings from no longer maintaining the facilities will be used towards the upkeep of a proposed playpark and skatepark in Peebles.

Tweeddale West councillor Heather Anderson told us: "Our mailboxes are overloaded with complaints about the proposal to cut local play parks.

“The proposals for Peebles are great and the new play area will hopefully be a genuine destination play park for all ages.

"But sometimes having some swings and a chute locally is pretty good too.

"We shouldn’t be closing very local playparks for small children if we can possibly avoid it.”

Scottish Borders Council is spending £5 million on play facilities across the region.

And part of the 10-year-year plan, which has been championed by council leader Shona Haslam, is £520,000 to go towards a playpark and skatepark for Peebles.

The proposals were discussed at last week's Tweeddale Area Partnership and raised again at Peebles Community Council.

But the detailed documents were drawn up without any public consultation.

Councillor Anderson added: "This administration is a shambles.

"For the last two years we have been saying that budget decisions are made before policies are agreed or thought through.

"iPads were introduced before there was any consultation with teachers.

"Day centre closures were announced before there was an explanation and meaningful consultation with the wider community.

"Now, we are informed that we have to agree to the closure of 11 existing playparks in Peebles, Innerleithen, Eddleston and Clovenfords in order to meet the costs of maintaining a new park in Peebles.”

The Conservative-Independent administration at Scottish Borders Council agreed its 10-year spending plan on parks back in February.

And over the next four years a total of six new playparks, three skateparks and four fitness shelters are to be built.

But no allowance for the upkeep of the new facilities has been added into the budgeting.

To meet the costs, the local authority bosses have decided to decommission 74 smaller play facilities.

If the administration at Scottish Borders Council gets its way, work will begin on the new Peebles facilities later this year in Victoria Park.

And the decommissioning of the smaller parks will commence a short time later.

Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell said: "Parents tell us that – particularly for small children – they value small local facilities where the kids don’t have to cross busy roads, and parents can keep an eye on them.

"These parents have a right to be consulted on any changes.

“If the SNP were in administration, we would make sure the community was provided with information on costs and given some genuine options.

"We would tell them how much we were spending on maintaining these 11 parks.

"We would understand the value of the equipment already sitting there and we would be asking the council and the communities to consider upgrading existing facilities as well as prioritising new facilities.”