Mark calls on council to protect leisure facilities

Hamilton West & Earnock’s councillor Mark McGeever and his Liberal Democrat group argue repairs need to be carried out so football pitches, golf courses and bowling greens can be used after lockdown.

URGENT action is needed to prevent lockdown damaging people’s health and destroying local facilities, argue South Lanarkshire’s Liberal Democrat councillors.

They warned the refusal to allow maintenance of public amenities like golf courses, football pitches and bowling greens threatens to cause permanent damage. The re-opening of outdoor leisure facilities for public use should also be considered.

Failing to do the essential work now risks forcing crucial community facilities to stay closed long after the lockdown ends.

That would not only deny people access to local resources needed for health and wellbeing – it could also endanger their future and the jobs of those who work at them.

Hamilton West and Earnock’s councillor Mark McGeever, the deputy leader of South Lanarkshire’s Liberal Democrat Group, said: “There is absolutely no sense in stopping council workers carrying out essential maintenance they can do while adhering to physical distancing.

“It is widely accepted we will soon begin gradually coming out of lockdown. 

“As restrictions are carefully eased people need more access to safe outdoor spaces where they can exercise, stay healthy and enjoy some very basic freedoms.

“There are legitimate concerns that unless the council and Scottish government now allow our workers to carry out essential maintenance vital facilities could be unavailable for a very long time.

“We want sensible steps taken to protect our facilities, the people who use them and the jobs that depend on them.”

The Liberal Democrat Group has called for common sense to be used to prevent lasting damage.

Councillor Robert Brown represents Rutherglen South and is the South Lanarkshire Liberal Democrat Group’s leader. He said: “Opposition parties are giving genuine support to both the Scottish and British governments because we know they face difficult decisions to balance different risks.

“We want them to succeed, but we have a duty to raise issues and speak up when they fail to address them.

“The lockdown has been vital to bring down the spread of Covid-19. However we all know it also harms people’s health and it threatens the survival of things we absolutely need when normal life resumes.

“It is time to make sensible changes that will support people’s health and wellbeing and look after public assets.

“It is also time to consider allowing outdoor leisure facilities like tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens to re-open – providing sensible social distancing arrangements are in place.”

East Kilbride South councillor Fiona Dryburgh, the Liberal Democrat Group’s business manager, added: “There can be no doubt ‘essential work’ includes preventing catastrophic long term damage to leisure facilities.

“People will rightly question why workers are banned from tasks like cutting grass to stop local golf courses being ruined.

“We all understand the need for safety measures and the importance of physical distancing.

“Our teams can do this essential work while always being two metres apart, so they should be allowed to finally fix this needless damage before it gets too bad to repair.”