Lighting report agreed for Ellon park

Aberdeenshire Council will look into installing new lights in Ellon’s Gordon Park in a bid to stop anti-social behaviour.

By Kirstie Topp, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:28 am
Youngsters hang around the Band Stand where it's very dark.
Youngsters hang around the Band Stand where it's very dark.

Ellon and District councillor Gillian Owen had said the lack of lighting in the park was a concern and asked for the local authority to consider ways to make the park more attractive to visitors.

The matter was discussed at last week’s Formartine Area Committee meeting.

Cllr Owen said: “Youngsters have a habit of congregating around the Band Stand and around there it’s very dark, anyone passing can be subject to abuse.

The new lights will hopefully put a stop to anti-social behaviour.

“Broken glass bottles are found on a regular basis in and around the grass, on the seats and down the slide. This is terrible because children and dogs could be walking in this and they could sustain nasty injuries if they came into contact with it.

“If the park has additional lighting it would encourage troublemaking youngsters in the evenings to move on but please don’t think I’m having a go at all the youngsters because it’s not all of them.

“I totally understand that over the last two years with the pandemic all young people have had a hard time and finding something to do has been an issue.”

However despite her calls for action the council’s Landscape Services team had said they did not support the move.

They estimated that installing lights along the park’s paths would cost nearly £100,000, money it doesn’t have in its budget.

Councillor Owen said she was disappointed with such a negative report: “Residents have clearly shown that they would like to see more lighting in Gordon Park and the local police have agreed with this.

“Ellon Tennis Club have suffered really badly with vandalism and the Fire and Rescue Service have spent more than enough time putting fires out at Gordon Park Play Group’s recycling bin and a number of benches in and around the park.

“This situation could easily be resolved with extra lighting. The park is a much used and loved area but spoilt by a few and I have provided a solution supported by police to open this area up.”

Councillor Owen had suggested installing new lights on the middle path of the park, around the play area and down by the two small bridges leading to the Meiklemill bridge.

Councillor Isobel Davidson said there was “merit” in looking at the issue further as it would help to “change the atmosphere” in the park and may encourage more people to use the park.

Councillor Louise McAllister backed the proposal for solar lighting but asked if there was more that could be done to address anti-social behaviour.

Prior to the meeting the Formartine Community Policing Team supported councillor Owen’s appeal and said that lighting has proved to be “very effective” at reducing crime.

Police officers suggested that an extra light could be installed at the Band Stand and play park that could be switched off at midnight as “reasonable and likely to improve the situation”.

The matter is expected to come back to the committee in three months time.