CONCERNS have been expressed over low levels of public engagement levels in a council consultation about play parks in Helensburgh and Lomond.

Argyll and Bute Council chiefs are considering how to spend £368,500 of funding on 11 playparks in the administrative area.

But only nine responses were received from Arrochar residents – despite the village’s play park being deemed a high priority by officers.

And a councillor has voiced worries about the condition of another village play park and how recently it was assessed.

The discussion took place at a meeting of the council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee on Tuesday, September 12.

Councillor Mark Irvine (Independent, Lomond North) said: “I do have some concerns about the very low level of engagement in Arrochar, and yet Arrochar is one of the priority parks.

"Was there any reason why there were only nine respondents?”

Hugh O’Neill, the authority’s network and standards manager, responded: “There is no reason as far as I can see. I engaged with colleagues in education, and went through all our social media channels and community councils.

“Responses overall were very good; unfortunately Arrochar and Tarbet were extremely low, and I do not have a reason for it.”

Councillor Irvine then asked: “Would you consider, when we have the seminar to agree where budgets may be allocated, to have further engagement to draw people out from the community and have more involvement?”

Mr O’Neill said: “I propose to go back out to the community councils to make them aware of the low or high levels of responses, and ask if there is any further engagement.

“We have already gone out to tender in 2021 and 2022, and had no responses. We tried a direct award and also had no responses.

“I would like to push back to community councils and the area committee to see if any organisations can assist.

“We will do one more tender process, but my view is that if we do it again and get no responses, we do not want to delay things any longer.”

Councillor Math Campbell-Sturgess (SNP, Helensburgh and Lomond South), who lives in the Lomond North ward, then said: “How were the priorities actually established in terms of timescales?

"Looking at the report from last December, it says 2021/22 – has this been updated?

“I walk through Howie Park [in Rosneath] regularly and they have had to cordon bits of it off, but it is rated as a low priority.

"That probably was a year or two ago, but I am worried that things needing replaced will not be.”

Mr O’Neill said: “We have recently received the inspection reports and will send them out to members.”