Parks put forward for British charity

Two parks in the Kincardine and Mearns area have been agreed by the council to be put forward as part of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.

The National Playing Fields Association, rebranded as Fields in Trust in 2007, was founded in 1925 and granted a Royal Charter in 1933. It is a British Charity which aims to protect and promote open spaces for sports and recreation in British villages, towns and cities.

For this area, two parks have been selected for consideration of the Fields in Trust with agreement of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee. Stonehaven’s Mineralwell Park and Portlethen’s Nicol Park have both been suggested.

Several members of the area committee raised concerns over the security of Stonehaven’s Baird Park, but were reassured that this will also be included as part of Mineralwell Park.

If the two parks are agreed on by the Fields in Trust, they will be protected under a branded network of national parks and therefore cannot be lost for any type of housing or business development and will be protected and maintained as recreational areas.

The Queen Elizabeth Fields Challenge plans to create a permanent, tangible and relevant legacy from three landmark events taking place between 2012-2014. These are Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, Alison Moore-Gwynn, says when speaking about the events “Together they offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to raise the profile of sport and physical activity in people’s minds. At Fields in Trust we feel that we have always safeguarded the ‘where’ of physical activity to other people’s

‘what’ and this is certainly a fantastic opportunity to safeguard active spaces.

“Without protection playing fields remain a sitting duck for developers, whether now or in ten years time, and the sale (of open space) is often too tempting for local authorities feeling the effects of cuts.”

The project plans to create a network of 2,012 permanently protected outdoor spaces for sport and recreation across the UK. They plan to encourage people to become more active and engage in physical activity. Fields in Trust have set a target to get 214 of these protected spaces in Scotland - two of which could potentially be in Kincardine and Mearns. Fields in Trust estimate that almost ten thousand playing fields were lost to developers in the UK between 1992 and 2009, Questions were raised by councillors regarding the two parks, which are currently owned by Aberdeenshire Council, as to whether they will be renamed to include the title Queen Elizabeth 2 and concerns were raised over the clarity of the report. Despite this, Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee agreed they were happy to put forward the two suggested parks as nominations to the Field In Trust.