Elgin park users welcome grass cutting pledge
CHILDREN will once again be able to play freely in two Elgin parks after a decision was taken to reinstate grass cutting.
Common Good money will fund the work at Doocot Park in New Elgin and Seafield Park on Brodie Drive in Bishopmill.
In addition, the area surrounding the Wolf of Badenoch statue at the west end of the High Street will now enjoy regular cutting.
Elgin's councillors took the decision this week in the midst of public outcry over the issue which is the result of February's local authority budget cuts.
The move was welcomed by mother-of-four Samantha Lyons, whose children Kelsey (10), Taylor (7), Hallie (2) and Mason (18 months) regularly play at Seafield.
While the area immediately around the play equipment has been cut, the huge grassy expanse has been left and is now completely overgrown.
That has stopped a disappointed Taylor from being able to cycle to the swings as the grass is too long for her to pedal through.
Samantha said: "We used to come a lot more often because we just live around the corner. We've been avoiding it lately because it has been like this.
"This is a good park and my friends' kids hang about here as well so the kids love it.
"But today I had to tell them to put their wellies on to come to the park because the grass is still wet and so long they would get soaked. I'm relieved to hear it will be cut again."
Council leader Graham Leadbitter said the decision was taken following talks with fellow Elgin City South members John Divers and Ray McLean along with Elgin City North councillors Frank Brown, Paula Coy and Maria McLean.
Cllr Leadbitter said: "The money will come from the Elgin Common Good fund, which means that the council's general budget is not affected by it.
"I am aware that councillors in other parts of Moray are also looking at alternative funding sources such as Common Good, Trust funds, etc."
The authority is also recruiting an income generation officer to bring in money and to look at co-ordinating sponsorship of public assets such as parks and leisure centres in the longer term.
The leader added: "There remain other areas of ground that we can't cover with this funding and I am very grateful for the community efforts that have seen many areas of open space cut by community groups and public-spirited individuals."
Last month, locals and businesses joined forces to deal with the grass at New Elgin's Doocot Park after children came home covered in ticks and dog dirt.