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Cuthill Park's 4th Consultation to be held at Prestongrange Bowling Club

New East Lothian Councillors and Community Councillors .. All are Invited!

There never was a time when the Action Group did not want to work alongside both the Community and East Lothian Councils to get Cuthill Park back in shape. As was reported last week in the East Lothian Courier, their ambition has been to give the Councils a wee bit of encouragement to put the park near the top of their agenda.

The April 24th '3rd Consultation' agreeed to meet again in early June at The Prestongrange Bowling Club which has every intention of participating fully in the plans as they go forward. By that meeting Tom Ewing and his team of artists at the Three Harbours Festival's Mural Fest in the Park will have created some impressions of how it might well look in future - as well as remembering how it once was.

click on press cuttings from East Lothian News and East Lothian Courier to enlarge

The Outcomes Thus Far

The Action Group has summarised the results of the Consultation thus far as set out here below, but makes no claims to be 'right' in the matter. [Indeed, it confidently expects the East Lothian Landscape and Countryside Service led locally by Maree Johnston and Stuart Pryde to be able to suggest and implement most considerable improvements on the basis of their accumulated experience.]

1. That there is an immediate need for straightforward improvements in the park itself through regular cutting of the meadow grass, the tidying through of the bordering thickets and the installation of several additional bins for litter and dog fouling. Notices should also be formally placed naming Cuthill Park with pride and indicating that Golf is not permitted in the park so close to properties and the Bowling Club. The gates should continue to be closed of an evening - even locked.

2. That there is a need for safe road crossing arrangements at the northern end of Prestongrange Road, particularly for children but for all pedestrians. The road is already busy and will become more so with the new housing developments at the southern end. The SE entrance could be closed off permanently.

3. That East Lothian Council's 'anticipatory' proposal for a Core Path through the park en route to the Heritage Museum, [as an alternate for the John Muir Way at that point] with sign posting and interpretation boards, was greatly welcomed and would be supported 100% by local residents.

4. That the southern heights of the park along the fence with the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club should become a rockery/ wild flower/ low wooded area that will be visually attractive for those using the park at meadow level, as well as being a good vantage point for the view across the Forth to Edinburgh, Leith and Fife. [This is indeed as already envisaged at the 2003/ 2004 Park Consultation and attested to as Best Biodiversity Practice on the Scottish Executive's website since that time.]

5. That a dedicated enclosed play area for children should be provided near to the NE gates, and swings etc. for youngsters to the western end.

6. That the damaged tarmacadam should be removed and grassed / pathed, and the present grass amphitheatre edged at east and west with permanent mural frames/ boards for the Arts Festival's annual Mural Fest, Cow Painting and Themed Exhibition whilst leaving line of vision for Outdoor Theatre and Gala activities as occured there in the last century right across the meadow area.

7. That bench seating should be provided around the park for parents and walkers.

8. That the earlier 'volunteer Parkie' system be re-introduced to supervise the park and ensure its continuing maintenance on report to a Prestonpans Community Council's 'Friends of Cuthill Park' sub-committee.

9. That 'good neighbour relations' be created and nurtured with both the Prestongrange Bowling and the Royal Musselburgh Golf Clubs so that their youth programmes can provide for those with exuberance beyond the normal scope of the park to accommodate - through the 'Friends of Cuthill Park' sub-Committee of the Community Council.

10. That although the high wall running along the whole of the eastern edge of the park has stood for more than two centuries, and edged the park itself for over 75 years, it would be beneficial if it could be lowered at its northernmost end to allow visibilty and better parental supervision of children at play in the park as envisaged at 5 above.

Action Lines - June/ September 2007

It is anticipated that after the 4th Consultation the ideas collected together can be passed formally to Prestonpans Community Council and to East Lothian Council via the good offices of the Councillors elected to represent the Ward - and to this end both East Lothian Councillor Willie Innes and new Councillor Peter MacKenzie have indicated their support for action, as of course has the Community Council throughout.

The Action Group is optimistic that at this juncture, after suitable improvements have been added by the two Councils, short term actions within existing budgets can be implemented as swiftly as possible. However, it is clear that several of the proposals are more ambitious and will call for additional funding and possibly an application to the [HLF] Heritage Lottery Fund's Parks for All scheme.

The Action Group anticipates that in advancing such a case the Landscape and Countryside Team of East Lothian Council can themselves readily create the necessary drawings and move the whole project forward. In doing so, however, the Arts Festival Team also has professional expertise available to offer if such additional assistance might be useful.

The HLF has two deadlines each year - end March and end September, for its Parks for All Scheme, and it is to be hoped that the 2007 September deadline can be met.

Published Date: May 8th 2007

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